Mary Eastman’s Old Warehouse Antiques, A Sterling Landmark

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By Jon DeStefano

 

Mary Eastman was a cattle buyer at one time and she liked auctions. About thirty years ago when she could no longer buy cattle she walked into an auction and it was an antique auction. “That was it,”she said, “It bit me.” She tried a number of different things including running a mall but discovered it was too much for her “too much paper work and too much people-handling and decided it was just as easy to do it myself.” So in 1994 she opened Old Warehouse Antiques, a literal landmark in Sterling, Colorado.

 

The Warehouse was her father’s building and distributorship which he began in 1933 and she wound up running both the warehouse and distributorship until she determined in 2010 to focus solely on her antique warehouse. “Antiques were my passion so it was an easy decision.”

 

The sheer volume of antiques and collectibles in the warehouse is astounding. Mary got many of them from buying trips throughout the Midwest although today she admits most of it comes through her front door. “We’ve been here long enough people know us and know we’re fair. I like the people and they like what I do,”she adds.

 

“If I had to retire and just go sit home, I’d go nuts. We have friends coming here from all over the world. The shop is about 5,000 square feet with another storage building attached in back with an additional 4,000 square feet of goods.

 

When you walk into the warehouse you feel like you are stepping back in time. There is a nice pot belly stove warming the place at the entrance with a few rustic old antique chairs around it. Just past it there is an old wooden counter, a good 25 to 30 feet long, something you would expect to find in a general store in an old western town a hundred years ago.

 

All the furniture is set up in specific settings, like separate rooms or vignettes. Mary did this because “it just looks better if you can see it in a way where you can capture the past and a feeling for it. There are dozens and dozens of different room settings, kitchens, living rooms, bedrooms, you name it.

 

“It is a lot of work,” Mary admits, “Six days a week and sometimes we do seven.”

 

Mary’s favorite parts are the setup and doing the restoration, which they do a lot of. She explains, “The restoration brings things back to life. Charles  (her husband) does beautiful work when it comes to fixing things and doing the finishing. We’re a good team.” They have been together 38 years and she calls him her partner and admits he’s her better half. She has two daughters who live in Denver.

 

They have huge collections of many items, for example Aladdin lamps, which Charles focuses on and for which they have all the replacement parts.  Mary likes Victorian “stuff” like the glassware which is “so pretty and formal. We’re not like that anymore.”

 

A lot of her kitchen vig-nettes are from the 40′s and 50′s. Collectibles abound including a huge clock collections 40 plus, cookie jars, elegant glassware, Cambridge and the like, more common like Desert Rose, even rural collectibles like tractor and farming items. “If it’s old, I like it and we collect it.”

 

They have a huge amount of oak furniture and quite a bit of walnut and even mahogany. Their big seller is oak furniture. “If there is something somebody wants there is a good chance we’ve got it,” Mary adds. “We have about 5,000 items,”she finishes. We chat a while longer about children and I get to meet her greeter ‘Sparky.’ On the drive back to Denver, I mull over one of the finest collections of antiques I have seen in one place and a time and hospitality long gone but not forgotten.

 

When you get a chance, stop by Old Warehouse Antiques. I promise you’ll be glad you did.

 

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