Those 1830’s and 40’s were a busy time in Texas, full of attacks and massacres and woundings and marches and escapes and something awful called the Black Bean Death Lottery. I didn’t pay much attention to all that back in middle school Texas History class, but I’ve grown to appreciate that history is the mother lode of juicy stories and great names like”Black Bean Death Lottery.”
After a recent meeting at the sweet Latte on the Square, I took a lovely turn around La Grange’s downtown, reading all the markers and snapping sunny photos as I went. Back home, I continued my journey, stumbling along the endless Google Trail until I landed upon a creative gold mine: The 1843 Treaty of Bird’s Fort. You were probably paying attention and remember it from 7th Grade, but if not, just know it’s the peace treaty where several Native American tribes agreed to stop teaming up with the Mexican Government against Texas. Its list of Articles is quite fascinating, but even more intriguing are the names of the tribe “chiefs, headmen and warriors” who signed on to the Treaty. I know, I’ve already given you lists of great names here before, but I’m hoping you have another restaurant or band or baby ferret or ski house to label, because check these out:
Cherokee: Devereaux Jarret “Chicken Trotter” Bell
Delaware: Roasting Ear; McCulloch; James St. Lewis
Waco: Aca Quash; Chetickkaka
Caddo: Red Bear, Bichah, Haddahbah
Anadarko: Jose Maria
Biloxi: Hoyo Tubby
Plus my favorite name of all the Interpreters: Pierce Sobby.
Just off the Square is Victorian Gothic Old Jail. It has, in its day, housed members of the Bonnie and Clyde gang, a lady who would have been the first woman sent to the electric chair had she not starved herself to death while incarcerated there, a few random ghosts and many a jailer and his family. Today it houses the City of La Grange Visitors’ Bureau and yes, I’ll call you if it ever goes condo.
If you’re looking to Round Top for sublime and sophisticated, this is what you’ll see.
I’ve talked before about the weary show blindness that can develop after looking at days and days and fields and fields and booths and booths and tables and tables and walls and walls of heart-stirring treasures and insignificant junk. When I get to that state, I just let myself wander around in an out-of-focus-kind-of-way while I wait for the Magic Eye 3-D poster phenomenon to take over. I hope you remember Magic Eye. It’s that optical illusion fad from about twenty years ago where if you diverge your focus on a random field of colorful dots in just the right way the image of a pouncing panther or a pirate ship will leap right out at you.
At the blurry end of the most recent Marburger Preview Day, it was Great Estate Goods that jumped out and into focus for me. It’s Amelia Tarbet’s cool, dark corner booth, and it’s filled with carefully chosen and carefully placed objects. Frankly, the space really deserves a photography shoot with a proper camera and a nice annotated catalogue. But until then, here’s my The Crush List Style look at Amelia Tarbet’s curatorial sorcery from wide shot to extreme close up.
If it’s January, that means the Show is just weeks away. Or still weeks away, depending upon your glass/full persuasions. As for me, I’m beyond ready to go so I thought I’d make a little visit to my photo library and pull together a quick potpourri of Show Fabulousness to tide us over. And what better theme than MEN?
You can pretty much find whichever kind of man you need at the show. Plenty of busty classics, of course.
Famous guys and otherwise.
Cowboys upon cowboys.
The swarthy and the less so.
Here’s to days and days of happy hunting coming soon!
You are surrounded by infinite possibilities of choice. Yikes!
Antiquing is such a thrilling feast of possibilities. What makes things even more interesting is that “possibility” is a completely relative concept. Your possible might be beyond my wildest dreams. My possible might be your so-not-worth-it. When you really think about it, that isn’t just a booth full of old treasures and castoffs, it’s an entire possibility multiverse.
As they are paid to do, interior designers, decorators, furnishers, stylists and their ilk look around the fields and tents and see even deeper layers of possibility. And here’s where Mel and El finally enter the picture. Next to their Old Depot tent full of super-stylish frenchy chairs, settees and benches that they’ve recovered in great hair-on hides, old Army bags and worn in vintage feed sacks, Mel and El also set up a complete upholstery workshop. The pros (and anyone else with the nerve) can order a pair of throw pillows for a new settee. Or they can bring some metallic leather from Arbor and an old stool from North Gate and have the whole thing redone on the spot. Or they can choose a custom fabric scheme for one of Mel and El’s own yet-to-be-done chair frames and it’ll be whipped up in a couple of days. What a handy and empowering and mind-opening resource to have in your pocket as you shop the show. Possibilties x 10!
Speaking of possibilities, let’s quickly review what I call the Sure You Can Do It, But Will You Really? possibility principle that must be kept in mind during all antiquing trips. As you find yourself slipping into the seductive “oh that burlap wreath plate charger with ombre dip-dye accents is so darling but I don’t need to buy it because I can make it myself” possibility trap, stop yourself and remember: What is possible when we get home from the show has its limits because we are involved, and we are busier and lazier than we think.
These are the beauties waiting for their turn!
And lastly, you’ll remember that my Grandmadean used to say a house or a shack or a town had “possibilities.” That’s what I thought when I saw this fabulous hide chair. The second photo shows how perfectly she fits into her new home!
In this random list of my very favorite things about my very favorite place I’ve tried to capture the area’s special pieces and parts. Some are big deal, some are small gestures, some are legendary and some are just tiny pip and squeak.
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