I love old stuff. Old stuff is interesting, old stuff tells a story. Sometimes you have to imagine the stories, but that is part of the fascination of old stuff.
I did not always love old stuff. Growing up we had a lot of old stuff, and my grandparents had really old stuff. I was jealous of my friend’s homes which had modern furniture and plush wall-to-wall carpeting. We had old furniture and hard wood floors partially covered with old rugs.
As I got older, I learned that some old stuff was called antiques, hard wood floors were nicer than plush wall-to-wall carpet and old rugs made in Persia were called Oriental carpets. Now one of my favorite TV shows is the “Antiques Roadshow.” I like seeing other family’s heirlooms and hearing the stories behind those heirlooms.
When my mom passed, her old stuff and some of my grandparent’s old stuff was divided among three brothers, and some of that has since been divided among the children of said brothers. When I visit my children, my brother or my sister-in-law it is always fun and nostalgic to see some of the old stuff I grew up with.
Of the items I inherited, my favorite is an old desk. I’m not sure when it was made, probably Civil Warrish, or earlier. The desk is solid, it has ornate carving, it is interesting. It is hard to imagine that it was built piece by piece by hand. No power tools, just patience and skill.
Here is the desk.
It is large and substantial. Behind the drop down cover are several drawers and cubby holes
With the top down.
The decorative columns pull out for secret hiding spaces.
Hidden compartments in the columns
The ornate door has my great-grand parent’s family crest carved into it. Behind the door are two more drawers and cubby holes.
Drawers behind the ornate door.
The ornate column hiding places are fairly common in older furniture, but if you pull out the right-hand column completely, it allows the two drawers and cubbies to be pulled out and reveal a hiding place not so common.
Surprise behind the drawers
Three more drawers
I suppose the days before fancy hidden safes, convenient banks with checking and safe deposit boxes, and distrust for what banks were in town; people had to be creative. Instead of safes and safety deposit boxes, it was furniture that hid valuables and important papers.
That is about all I know of this desk, but in my mind, I can make up plenty of stories about where this desk has been and what it’s secret places held.