Sunday, September 13, 2009

Antebellum Estate Sale!

This weekend, I went to an estate sale in Bolivar, Tennessee. The sale was held in a circa 1848 home that sits on a 9.5 acre lot. For decades, the home was owned by a local doctor (several medical bags were among the items for sale). I had been in the home once before, when it was part of a tour of Civil War era private homes and public buildings.

It's time for another Outdoor Wednesday at A Southern Daydreamer. I hope you'll stop by, say hello to Susan, and check out all the other participants. Thank you, Susan, for making this event possible.

I didn't buy much, and didn't expect to. I wanted to go primarily to tour the house again and have the always-interesting experience of visiting Bolivar, Tennessee. It's about 30 miles Southwest of Jackson. In the early to mid-1800s, Bolivar was forecast to become the second largest city in West Tennessee (after Memphis).

The Hardeman County town is located on the then-busy waterway of the Hatchie River, which brought it fortune and commerce. That prosperity was fleeting, and the current population (2000 census) is 5,802. More than 100 of its buildings are on the National Register of Historic Places. Most of those reflect the town’s pre-Civil War prosperity. That time lives on today in the way the citizens have preserved the past. The town is a still-living time capsule that makes for a memorable day or weekend visit.

I did purchase these wine glasses for $1 each. They're in perfect condition, appear vintage, and I really like the classic columnar shape of the stems. They also have Libbey's patented Safedge rims, so I'd feel comfortable putting them in the dishwasher.

I bought this Heisey "Lariat" (1942-1957) cookie plate just down the street at an "antiques yard sale." I paid $1 for it and $1 for the made-in-Italy silverplated salad servers.

The Syracuse China creamer and covered sugar also cost $1. I picked them up at my favorite junk store on the way to the estate sale. The pattern is "Sherwood," and it was manufactured from 1949-1967. I already had quite a few dishes in this pattern, so I recognized it immediately. The tops of the pieces were covered in grease and grime, so I knew there was a chance they could be stained and brown from years of use and neglect.

As the sign below indicates, the house is in the North Main Historic District.

It was early afternoon, and there was a steady stream of shoppers and curiosity seekers. One lady mentioned that she had driven in from Jackson, Mississippi for the sale.

Some were relaxing on the porch while their families shopped.

Looking upward, the grandeur of the place is obvious. Other than beginning to need a coat of paint, the house appears to have have been exceedingly well-cared for through the years.

The view across the front lawn from an upstairs bedroom.

The grounds are extensive and well-tended. There are also several outbuildings.

I thought this little barn was charming.

The interior shots turned out badly. I don't do well not using a flash and with no tripod! I included a few anyway ... to give you an idea of what I saw inside. Below, lots of crystal and silver ... I didn't see anything THAT different from things I already have (plus ... I prefer to pay much less than the asking prices were on the first day of this sale!).

One of the upstairs bedrooms. In these old homes, there are few closets, so the large wardrobes/armoires were very much needed. The bed in the picture was what the lady from Jackson, Mississippi, came to see (pictures from the sale had been posted on

Estate sales like this one always have stacks of old books and magazines. I'd never seen such a complete matched set of "bedroom ceramics." The pitcher and bowl, the lidded chamber pot, and 4 other items comprised the set.

I was surprised to find that my favorite room was the wine cellar. The former owners must have been wine enthusiasts. The glasses I purchased were sitting on the counter to the left and behind the telephone.

Lots of wine storage! Right after I took the picture, the LIGHTS went out! I'm thankful that there was a small window above the stairs. Still, it was difficult to gather up "my" wine glasses in the near-pitch darkness. I persevered!
We later learned that the lights were out in much of the town.

The former owners had collected all sorts of things, including old wooden tools.

And a variety of flower frogs ...

The sale items spilled over to the outside. It appears that there have been additions to the original house, but they're nicely done and maintain the integrity of the home.
If you're in the market for a piece of history, the home and 9.5 acres can be purchased for well under a half million dollars.

Here's the house down the street where the yard sale was being held. They were clever to schedule it on the same day as the estate sale! They're antique dealers. For the sale, they had marked most items to half the regular price.

Now for a very minor metamorphosis. I soaked these pieces in warm soapy water, and then tried washing them as usual. Years of grease, grime, and dust had created a stubborn film. I reached for the Dollar Store brand glass and surface cleaner, and it worked like a charm. You can see the difference between the color of the lid (which I cleaned first) and the area surrounding it.

That's it for today. Hope you enjoyed!
I took dozens of other pictures of historic homes and public buildings in Bolivar. Would you be interested in touring them with me in future posts?
Just let me know! ;)


  1. You had a fabulous weekend Bill! You piqued my interest about Bolivar. It seems that the name came from General Simon Bolivar the South American patriot and liberator. I just love these posts about historic homes, because these towns have the most interesting histories, and it starts me searching for more information. Of course as soon you show vintage Libbey or mention "Safedge Rims"..I'm all in. (just bought a Libbey vintage decanter set on Ebay) Yes, I would have found the wine cellar too. Those old wood planes and tools really caught my eye. Thanks for this informative post. I feel as though I was tagging along.

  2. I think I would have spent the whole day at that property. She is a beauty.
    Take care, Sue

  3. Happy Sunday Bill!
    Oh My Gosh, I so love this tour. This house is totally amazing. So Gone With the Wind era. I love the big columns, and the stories that little barn would tell if it could talk. Oh how beautiful. Now I love the wine glasses you purchased (as the columns matched the house columns) and that cake plate was a steal at $1.00. You found some great deals! Now I have to know out of curiosity, what was the bedroom ceramics selling for? They were so beautiful. Love the lava bowl and pitcher especially.

    I would definitely be interested in viewing other tours you have taken. I love these old homes. Start a tour on Tuesday day. Love it.
    Thanks for sharing Bill. As always it is so much fun to come and visit. Country hugs, Sherry

  4. Hi Bill. Antebellum houses always interest me so yes, I would love to see the tour in future postings. The glasses you got are gorgeous. I like the columnar stems too. And for $1 a piece, you can't go wrong. I would have loved to browse at all the items they were selling...Christine

  5. Bill,
    Sounds like you have had a wonderful weekend.
    The wine glasses were just beautiful and who knew that DG window cleaner would do such a good job of cleaning. That house was just to DIE for, I can see myself on that porch rocking now. Well I better go get DH and have him write the check, Ha Ha. Thank you so much for all the tours you have given and the information you provide to go along with it.

  6. Thanks for the tour of that beautiful house. If only I had half a million dollars ;) LOL! YES, do a post of the your pictures of the other historic homes!

  7. Hi Bill, happy Sunday, what a beautiful house. Wish I could have been there to take the tour, I like those 'tikki' type glass torches! and love the wine glasses you got. The stems remind me of the columns of the actual house :-)

  8. WOWZA! I wish I could find an estate sale like that!

  9. HI Bill, you find the MOST amzing bargains! I am so jealous!!!! The wine glasses are wonderful, love those stems too! I LOVE that bed that the woman was there to see. And the house is going for UNDER a 1/2 million????? Wow! Seems like a GOOD price, especially when you figure in the acreage! Thanks so much for the tour....please do MORE! As you can see, we love them! Pinky

  10. Thanks for the tour love all those wonderful images. Wish I could afford to buy it LOL.

  11. Oh, how I love an historic home heck with the metamorphosis. LOL No, really...the lid of the sugar dish cleaned up beautifully! Now, back to the important business at hand....can't wait to see the other historic homes you captured today. I wish I could have seen the look on your face when the lights went out. :-) I'm proud of you for not bolting for the stairs, and for sticking it out to get your stemware...what a man!

  12. I was just coming to ask it that was the same Bolivar. I just took my class to Ft. Donaldson & he is one of the "stars" of the movie they play.

    I would have been scared to death if the lights had gone out on me... good thing you are brave (or dedicated to glasses). Personally, I would love to see the photos.

  13. Thanks for the tour - looks and sounds like you had an enjoyable day. I love to see old homes like that - I have not been to Bolivar in years. You did get some realy nice things at the sale. I am not sure what I would have done when the lights went out. :-)

  14. I really enjoyed going to the estate sale with you! The old house is beautiful and seemed to be full of all sorts of interesting treasures. You found some great buys and had a fun day too. I'm going to check out the estate sale online link too. Thanks, Bill!

  15. Hi Dear Bill! I this was so much fun! I love olden homes and this was was a doozy! I would have loved to have toured the rooms too! Love your treasures at great prices too!
    Be a sweetie,
    Shelia ;)

  16. I loved every single minute of this amazing house tour. I would dearly love to tour this house in person. I love the things you bought.
    Thanks so much for a really fine post...and I sure am looking forward to more tours of the historic houses.
    I use the same cleaner!! :O)
    xo bj

  17. I did enjoy that! Thanks for the tour!

  18. Bill, I loved this tour and look forward to more in the future. What a beautiful home. I'm glad you were able to get out with all your glasses in one piece. hugs ~lynne~

  19. Very nice!! What a great post! Love the cookie plate!

  20. you always find the nicest dishes/stemware!!
    i host a Goodwill party every Wednesday. stop by and join in!!

  21. Where do I sign up for the next tour?? I'm IN!

    You have such a wonderful way of transporting folks with your words, Bill...I felt like I was sitting on your shoulder through the whole house.

    DH has some tall glass stemware that looks VERY similar to what you purchased today. I just peeked into the top cabinet & I think they match yours. Its too late to be climbing on a step stool tonight but come morning I'll get them down to compare. He grew up in the Depression & thus, NEVER throws anything away.

    Your lovely descriptions of vintage things has sparked a new appreciation in me for all his old *stuff* LOL

  22. Hi Bill,

    I loved the tour of this magnificent old house.
    thank you for sharing your day with us and yes, it would be great to see more, please.
    You did well with the glassware, silver and china for $1 each ~ what a bargain!

    Enjoy your week

  23. Bill, this is an amazing home. Thank you for sharing your photos and the experience of the sale. Yes, I'd love to see more historic homes in future posts. Please share! You found some great bargains! ~ Sarah

  24. The home is just amazing. I love the grand architecture. I'm sure it was a lovely day visiting all of the places. Thanks for the tour, it is always fun to see. Your finds were wonderful. Love the stems on your wine glasses too. Hugs, Marty BTW I am having my 100th post giveaway, I hope you stop by and enter. Hugs, Marty

  25. Thanks so much for taking us with you this weekend! And YES! I would absolutely love to join you in some historic house tours!!
    - Meg

  26. Thanks for taking us along shopping and also for the tour of the architecture of the house, really breath-taking!
    I loved all your finds, and I saw a lot more I would have liked to buy! And thanks for taking us across the street too, I really want those old doors and the chairs, and I need to get a closer look at some of those little tables!

    I'm in a shopping mood and I'm trying to curb my spending ~ not a good combination.
    But this was fun! And not a penny spent!
    All the best,

  27. Ooooh NICE.... tour and a sale... what could be better!!!

  28. Bill I received a call from the SPCA about you torturing the little buggers. They won't talk will they?
    Old medical tools are very sought after by collectors I think. I am claustrophobic and would have started screaming and shoving to get out of that dark wine room. Might not have even had the presence of mind to grab a bottle on my way out.
    I would love to tour more homes with you. It makes me crazy how inexpensive that place is. A regular home on a regular sized lot here would cost that much and more if you went closer into Vancouver.

  29. Lovely house. No wonder you wanted to go back.

    I am hyperventilating seeing all the great things at the estate sale. It looks like it was chocked full of goodies.
    I love what you purchased. Can't wait to see it on your magical tables.

  30. Oh....I've been away from your blog way too long.....and what a day to make a visit....not sure I'll sleep tonight dreaming about what i missed....

    AWESOME!!!!! Love it all...even the foggy pics :-)

    Just wish the AZ valley had something like that just once.....


  31. What a beautiful house. What a great idea to go to an estatesale in the weekend. We don;t have estate sales here.Maybe we don't have enough estates in this small country.I can see you can buy beautiful things there and you did. And everything so cheap, that is the fun. Can't believe those prices.The pictures you took are all fantastic. It seemed like I was there in person.
    Thank you for sharing

  32. Great finds! I love antiques. I wish I was there with you.

  33. I’m so jealous of your glassware, its look very expensive and classy. That’s what I love about hunting antiques. These are very beautiful.

  34. Bill, What a Beautiful old home, and I know you had a great outing that day, its looks like the weather was good. Your purchases are great and the prices very good. We don't have any old areas like that close by here, but Sharon and I will find one if we can.

    Happy Monday to you.

  35. I go to Estate Sales as much to see houses as I do to buy merchandise. I've seen some beauties!

  36. Bill-I would have loved to see that house--the carving and the columns....sigh! Thanks for sharing the pictures! ps--I don't have much luck with the $ store glass cleaner on windows or mirrors. This is one area where I spring for the "real" stuff :) Have a good week!

  37. Hi Bill~ ~Thank you so much for the tour. I would love to see more of these homes. This one reminds me of the house in the movie "The Long Hot Summer" with Newman & Woodward. If there are homes like this sprinkled throughout Tennessee I have got to visit soon! I live in a small town too and love small town life this is right up my ally.

    The stemmed glasses your purchased are lovely. When you talk of a estate sale it is sounding like all the items are priced and displayed throughout the house for purchase. Am I correct?
    Here we do it a little differently. An auctioner comes in and prepares all the items and readys them for sale for a % of the profits. All items including the property are Auctioned to the highest bidder on the day or weekend of the sale. The idea here being, if 2 or more people want the same item there is a bidding frenzy and the item could sell for more than expected. I have never been to an estate sale in this area where items are pre priced to sell. Interesting?
    Just saying~ ~Ahrisha~ ~

  38. I love your posst when they are about great and wonderful homes. Thank you to share these photos.

  39. I seriously think I must of had a previous life in the south because I'am so drawn to it. Have secret fantasy's of running off to a cute southern town and buying an ols antebellum. HeHe Love this post! Traci

  40. Bill,

    What a wonderful pictures! These houses are so big!!!! Beautiful details of the architecture you showed !
    And yes take us to a trip to see the other houses!


  41. Simply beautiful!!! I could've done some serious damage to my bank account there!! The home and the grounds are gorgeous!! I'd love to have been there. Thanks for the photo tour! ")

  42. Wow! That is one amazing house! And that estate that is heaven on earth! :) The house is so beautiful and grand! And I love all the treasures you found, and what bargains!

    If you do a future on the other houses you mentioned, could you please let me know. I am new to your blog, and would love to see the old houses! ~Rhonda :)

  43. Love the stems on those glasses!! An interesting home--love the wine cellar--at least you had something interesting happen (it probably was a ghost, ha!)

  44. Wow! What an adventure! Can I just tag along behind you some times? You do find the neatest places!! That house was amazing and the stems on that glass ware were beautiful too!! How about that huge cast iron pot? I wonder if they did laundry in it or actually cooked in it? The wine cellar was awesome too!! I loved the bedroom ceramic set too! This was a great post!!!Do people mind you taking pictures? I am not shy but am a little nervous about taking pictures in stores lol
    Have a great evening!
    Love your friend Lilly
    Love Lilly

  45. What a treasure just to get to go.

    Love it. Come see both of my parties this week. (today and Wed)
    Its So Very Cheri

  46. Beautiful home. Love the glasses you picked up. I love touring other people's homes. I say "yes" to sharing more.

  47. Thanks for sharing. Wish I could come visit and tour some homes. Lovely glassware you picked up.

  48. Bill, you've never failed us yet. I'd love to see more of the houses you've photographed. I always find house sales such melancholy adventures. There is something about seeing peoples lives on display that I find disquieting. I hope you are having a wonderful day.

  49. Bill, I would love to see your pics of the historic homes. I always enjoy your posts.