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Good ol'e Days

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Hi Les,

You know, you should check out a place I discovered in PA somewhere around 1993. It's a big old barn in a guy's back yard and it's filled to the rafters with old books and magazines of every ilk. I can't remember the exact name of the town or the guy who was running the business, but it was within about an hour's drive of the National Association of Watch & Clock Collectors' Museum in Columbia, PA.

I had a real bad addiction to woodworking magazines back then and was compulsively collecting every back issue of every woodworking magazine that I could lay my hands on. I was on leave from the military and was travelling up and down the east coast of the US looking for old woodworking magazines (My wife thought I'd gone to visit the Smithsonian in DC. If she'd known I was feeding my addiction at the time I would have woke up missing some plumbing.).

Anyway, I first heard of the guy while digging through some old magazines in a used magazine store on a little side street outside of the Port Authority Bus Terminal in New York. They didn't know his name either, but they told me about a place in Philadelphia that sells old books and mags and said that place would know, so off I went. I found the place in Philly and, man, what a collection they had, but not the specific issues I needed. They in turn told me where to find the old dude's house and I drove down there and spent an afternoon perusing what he had before driving over to the NAWWC Museum. In five days of travelling, I found ten mags and felt pretty smug. Though the most expensive one was $8, those have to be the most expensive magazines on the planet.

Maybe Bill Kibbell knows about the guy or an antique shop in that area knows him. Come to think of it, maybe a google search will find him.

OT - OF!!!


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"Maybe Bill Kibbel knows about the guy..."

Gotta be Baldwin's Book Barn. It's probably just about an hour from Columbia. Been there so many times, I can remember the smell. (We have a library filled with at least 14000 18th & 19th C. books) Probably spent a couple grand there on old maps and prints too.


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PA has two of four B requisites: old barns and books. Now if I could find the other two "B"s - Blon--s and B-llC--p.

Seriously, I like PA mostly because they have a very good attitude about buildings that are more than 25yrs old.

It seems they have a good repair ethic and do not seem presumptious.

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No. The barn I was in was wood-framed and painted gray.

OK, then how about this one: http://www.oldemillyoga.com/OMDirections.htm

For many years, this building was The Book Barn. It closed a few years ago and is now a yoga studio. The many rainy afternoons I spent there are now only a cherished memory.

It's a few miles to the East of me, in Tatamy. I didn't mention it previously because it's somewhat more than an hour's drive from Columbia.

I'm beginning to think that PA is unique in the number of old book places it's got.

I can't argue with that. I can think of more than a handful just within a 10 mile radius of me.

There is another used book store housed in a barn that's located nearby, but it's not in anyone's backyard.

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PA has two of four requisites: old barns and books.

PA certainly has a lot of old barns. Unfortunately, with the neverending flood of migrants from NY & NJ, here to the Lehigh Valley, the remaining ones are being dismantled or just plain razed at a dizzying pace. Sometimes they're converted to dwellings, but I often wonder if they would be better off gone, rather than be bastardized.

My hobby is photographing old barns that are in danger of being lost. Here's one where I wasn't quite quick enough. http://static.flickr.com/37/109791229_3bd025d5dd.jpg

My company logo has a barn in it. It's taken from a photo I took about 10 years ago and is done in the style of Eric Sloane. So far at least, that scene still exists.


Here's a truth-is-stranger-than-fiction story:

In 1981, my girlfriend introduced me to a really cool, abandoned, turn-of-the-century estate. Among many unusual things, it had a boathouse and gazebos built from trees and saplings. Also, throught the woods that were once farm fields, were fence posts made of slate.

I was intrigued by these fence posts and wanted one, but the logistics of getting one out of the ground and getting it to a vehicle seemed close to impossible. Fast forward to 1996, when I bought my current house. The seller asked if I'd mind if he left some fence posts in the garage. I took a look at them and saw that they were slate fence posts. I asked where he got them from. He said he and his son got them a few years ago. They were the same ones I pined for 15 years earlier.

What do you suppose the odds were of that happening?

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