Antiques go on sale at old railroad steam house Customers come from across country CENTRAL COUNTY/Arnold * Broadneck * Severna Park * Crownsville * Millersville

November 26, 1992|By Angela Gambill | Angela Gambill,Staff Writer

In a white brick building that once provided the steam for the railroad, the Ann Arrundell County Historical Society collects and sells treasures.

An antique sled sits outside the old power station, just off old Baltimore-Annapolis Boulevard in Severna Park. Inside, the cozy shop is jammed from floor to ceiling with reasonably priced goods.

There are jewelry boxes, fine linens, violins and walls of country -- items, such as pans and rolling pins. Tables hold everything from collector's-edition children's books to gold-rimmed tea sets.

Right now, the store is having a huge sale for Christmas, and prices are marked down. But even without the discounts, the values are good enough to draw antique buyers and store owners from around the country.

A graceful crystal bottle that might cost $20 in the average antique store can be had for $5; an ornate, gold-framed mirror large enough to hang over a fireplace is on sale for less than a hundred dollars.

"You'd be surprised where the customers come from," says volunteer Margaret Ladner. "Some come from Ocean City every year to shop, another from New York, and one man comes from Oregon every year. We have many out-of-staters who shop regularly, and a lot of dealers, too."

The antique store, one of two county Browse and Buys run by volunteers, sells donated items as well as taking consignments.

All proceeds go to restore old county homes and maintain the historic Benson-Hammond House in Linthicum.

The house, which was a truck farm in the early 20th century, is now restored and listed on the National Register of Historic Places and with the Maryland Historic Trust.

The county Historical Society gives tours of the Benson-Hammond house, and holds concerts and festivals there during the year.

History is a definite lure at the Severna Park Browse and Buy. In the upstairs room hangs the original sign from one long-time Severna Park business: "Cliff Dawson's Country Store."

The sign is not for sale, but other historic relics are.

Visitors will find a postcard mailed in 1906 that depicts Baltimore harbor as it was then. They'll find old pewter made in the Baltimore area and large tin biscuit boxes from the turn of the century.

The famous picker-check items are for sale, jewelry made of the solid brass tallies that county truck farmers gave migrant workers to keep track of how many bags and bushels they turned in during a work day. At the end of the day, the tallies were redeemed for money.

The Historical Society has netted more than $50,000 from the earrings, necklaces, key rings and other items made from the tallies.

"They are conversation pieces around here," says Mrs. Ladner. "They're originals, and they have the initials of the farmer who distributed them."

l,.5l This year marks the store's 30th anniversary; the first Browse and Buy opened when the Historical Society was organized in 1962, says another long-time volunteer, Mrs. Robert Koenig.

"The shop is a favorite of many Severna Park people, although many residents don't know about it," she says. "But we have lots of special gifts for Christmas, and we hope people will visit."

The shop, at Jones Station Road and old B & A Boulevard, is open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays and noon to 4 p.m. on Sundays during the Christmas season.

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