Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Antiquing with my husband in Kenyon and Lake City July 17, 2012

A sweet little gallery and antique shop, The Kenyon Gallery in Kenyon.

I AM ONE OF THOSE ANTIQUE SHOPPERS, emphasis on the word those.

Allow me to explain. I enjoy browsing through antique stores, but I seldom buy. Why? I am cheap and prefer to find my collectibles and antiques at thrift stores and rummage sales.

Perhaps that word cheap isn’t quite right. Let’s change that to budget conscious. Yes, that’s better.

It’s not that I haven’t ever made an antique store purchase. I have. Just not that often. I am sorry, antique dealers. I do appreciate you and all the effort you put into finding, displaying and selling your merchandise.

Loved this unassuming casual country style table setting inside The Kenyon Gallery.

I’ve always wondered, though, how can you bear to part with your treasures? If I had to give up one of my two dozen or so vintage tablecloths, I would struggle. Oh, yes, I’ve done that, loaning several to my eldest daughter. The emphasis here would be on the word loan.

Recently my husband and I took a day trip to Lake City, which is on Lake Pepin (aka a wide spot in the Mississippi River). But before we reached that southeastern Minnesota town, we stopped in Kenyon at The Kenyon Gallery, a shop that markets a mixture of merchandise including $5 frames, framed prints, antiques and collectibles.

Here are three particularly interesting items I eyed up with my camera until my husband said, “We’ve gotta keep moving along here.” He was right and out the door we went, still aiming for Lake City.

The design on these chair backs intrigues me; I’ve never seen anything like these chairs. Readers, do you know anything about these chairs or their value?

I call it art although both pieces really have to do with something involving the making of furniture. I think.

I grew up on a dairy farm. What can I say?

Before we got there, though, we had to stop in Bellechester and check out a cornfield.

And then we were back on the road to Lake City. The husband might have repeated, “We’ve gotta keep moving along here.”

The Lake Pepin Pearl Button Co, a must-stop antique store in Lake City.

If you’re into antiquing, you’ll like the shopping in this riverside town. The Lake Pepin Pearl Button Co., located in a former button factory and dry goods store and with around 40 antique dealers, will easily occupy you for hours, if your spouse is patient. Not that I window-shopped for hours. But I could have.

A nickel for your fortune and a nickel for the foodshelf at the Button Co.

Pop art style graphics and my childhood fondness for 7-UP made this sign a tempting purchase at the Button Co.

So onward we traipsed in the heat and humidity.

A 1957 pen and ink drawing print by M.M. Swanston.

In the basement of Mississippi Mercantile (don’t you love the names of these antique stores?), I spotted this unusual portrait of Abraham Lincoln.

On to the Antique Shopper, I found plenty of appealing merchandise on the main level and in the basement of this multi-dealer venue.

My mom used snack sets to serve company when I was growing up, the reason I am typically drawn to these fancy dishes.

I had a tough time passing up these vintage bowls in the Antique Shopper. I have this thing for bowls, as my husband and kids will tell you. And these are beauties, unlike any I’ve seen.

Simply a graceful display highlighted by that Greta Garble photo.

Just as we were heading for the door, my spouse spotted an antique Grain Belt beer cooler under a table and paused to admire it.

My husband lingered at this Grain Belt cooler in Antique Shopper.

The oppressively hot, humid and smothering weather coupled with a strong desire to swig a cold one compelled both of us to just stand there for a few seconds and stare.

But then I snapped out of my heat-induced stupor. “We’ve gotta be moving along,” I muttered and out the door we went.

CLICK HERE TO LINK to a previous post about Lake City, specifically its pearl button-making history.

© Copyright 2012 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


12 Responses to “Antiquing with my husband in Kenyon and Lake City”

  1. hotlyspiced Says:

    So it’s still really hot? I love days like you’ve just had where you have all the time to just take it slowly and browse and not rush and just enjoy discovering all the little treasures these stores have on display. It’s a great way to spend a day xx

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      Yes, it’s still really hot. My husband took two vacation days right before the Fourth and that’s when we did the day trip to Lake City. We have so many wonderful towns and places to visit near us that I’ve never seen/been to.

  2. treadlemusic Says:

    And the heat continues. I am noticing some cumulus clouds building off in the West. They look a bit “heavy” with dark ‘undersides’……possibly rain-filled????? The corn, here, is in desperate peril! There is already a 20% loss in some areas. Will be much more if there is no rain this week.
    Did I read some mention of a cornfield!???! LOL!
    I am with ya on purchasing at antique shops. Give me a rural yard sale any time!!!!!! Loved “blow by blow” of your trek!! And, yes, we are so blessed by the fact that there are so many little towns/settlements around us, too! Hugs, D

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      We received some good rain last Friday and that really perked up the crops. But I know your region of the state desperately needs moisture as do so many other regions. With all this heat and humidity, we’ll need additional rainfall soon, too.

      Ahem, cornfields, yes, they were mentioned somewhere recently.

  3. Jackie Says:

    Loved seeing the antiques, I’m not a collector but appreciate the unique pieces. My mom and I just passed through Kenyon on mother’s day weekend, to visit her aunt in the nursing home there. I think we need to spend more time going down the main street of these little towns! Lots of fun things to look at.

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      Main Street absolutely deserves a close-up look. All too often we just pass through and fail to see the treasures.

  4. Vintage bowls and platters are my downfall – ha!

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      Vintage bowls are most definitely my downfall along with vintage drinking glasses, tablecloths and art. I also like old mirrors and chests of drawers. Now if only I had the old craftsman style house I long for and/or a house with a big front porch and lots of old woodwork and wood floors.

  5. Julie Fakler Says:

    I understand I have a thing for bowls and antique embroidered dish towels.

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      So…, if I ever see you shopping at a yard/rummage/garage sale and eyeing a bowl, I better grab it. Do you use your vintage bowls? I do. Every collectible I purchase or am given gets used. No sitting on a shelf and looking pretty for me.

  6. […] located in the historic Lake Pepin Pearl Button Co. building.I first read about this in the blog Minnesota Prairie Roots, where you can find more interior pictures. From there, we went across the street to here:This […]

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