Last weekend, we went south for granddaughter Karlie's confirmation, then stayed the night on the road so we could antique-shop on the way home.
That took us to Alton, where there used to be antique shops on both sides of the street, block after block.
Those shops were in five-story buildings down at the river with the entrance on the street above, actually the fifth floor. And now, they're all empty.
Monday always finds a lot of shops closed, but Alton just does not have many antique stops now. We spotted a crude hand-painted sign on a chain-link fence that took us up the hill to the basement loading dock of an old ice cream dairy.
"ANTIQUES" in red paint on a white sign took us into Marshall's Records and Antiques at 213 Langdon St. (phone: 618-550-7303). It is a small shop, rough space, has not been in business long and does not have a lot of inventory, but we did find a couple of things to purchase.
The owner steered us next door to Tinner's Anvil American Handwork. This is a complete antique store, well-stocked with real American antiques, lots of quality furniture, cupboards, beds, tables, chairs, tools, folk art and primitives, crocks and jugs, kitchenware and boxes of all sizes.
Tinner's is only open three days a week: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday and noon to 5 Sunday. You can find out more about this unexpected stop by searching for Tinners Anvil American Handwork on Facebook. The shop is at 211 Langdon St., and the phone numbers are 618-433-1718 and 618-570-3519.
It is one of those finds that I would make a special trip to. I bought a 15-drawer cabinet that was missing a drawer; it had a tin body, oak front and wooden end. He gave me a nice discount because of the missing drawer, which is now on its way to being reproduced.
Down the way at 401 E. Broadway, we found a nice shop named Country Meadows owned by Pam and Gary Voyles.
Note to Eddie Chin: Pam Voyles has a pair of 8-foot pocket doors that are 49 inches wide, have cream-colored paint, two vertical panels and are $300.
Country Meadows is open 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 4:30 Sunday. The phone there is 618-465-1965, or you can visit http://www.countrymeadowsantiques.blogspot.com.
Bob Swisher has been a collector since he was a child. Questions or comments can be sent to Swisher by writing to The News-Gazette, P.O. Box 677, Champaign, IL 61824-677 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.