Wilmington Stories and Tips

Antiqueing in Chester County

If Early American 18th and 19th century antiques are your passion... Chester County is the place to head. A good place to start your tour is on Rt. 30, one of the main roads that connects most towns of Chester County. Starting in the town of Wayne, The Pembroke Shop at 167 W. Lancaster Ave. is reknowned for custom made English and Continental estate furniture. A few miles down the road and off of Rt. 30 at 329 East Conestoga Road in Strafford is Wilson's Main Line Antiques who do great metal polishing and can advise you on repairs,etc...They also carry a fine variety of imported antique furniture.

Travel down Rt.30 a few more miles and turn left onto King road in Malvern. This is an antique-lovers paradise with King Street Traders and Gallery at 16 E. King St., Dixon-Hall Fine Art on Monument Avenue, a fine old Victorian house chock full of fine art pieces. At Van Tassel/Baumann American Antiques and Early Schoolgirl Needlework on Sugartown Road, you will find lots of examples of furniture and decorative arts as well as a large selection of early schoolgirl needlework.

If you retrace your steps and get back to Rt.30, head west and you will come to town of Frazer and Steven's Antiques. It is full of 19th and early 20th century furniture and accessories. I once bought an antique smoking stand that I still use as an end table.

Another diversion is to take a left off of 30 at rt.100 and head into west Chester,the county seat. On Oakbourne Road you will find Olivier Fleury,Inc. and their collection of 18th and 19th century Provincial French antiques housed in a renovated Chester County Bank Barn. Stop at Monroe Coldron and Son at 723 E. Virginia Ave. for copper, iron and brass works. They are known for hardware, lighting, architectural elements, mantles and fireplace equipment. Good if you are shopping for or renovating a large house.

Heading back out to Rt.30 and on to Exton, is shop of John Bunker and Son at 411 E. Lincoln Highway. Here you will find more knick-knack type antiques, one of a kind items like samplers,vintage ship models as well as tin and brass accessories.

If you aren't completely exhausted by this tour, you can spend the night and start over again for day 2. This time I would recommend you take the route from West Chester along Rt.52 and head into the Brandywine Valley. In Chadd's Ford you will find Jan Whitlock Antiques, right on Rt. 52 and Fairville rd. She is noted for her lovely antique textiles and you can find the most exquisite tablecloths here at most reasonable prices. She carries a lot of folk art and up-scale decorative accessories. At the same intersection is J.&L. West Antiques who carries a great assortment of furniture,accessories and paintings but is only open by chance or appointment.

Finish up the tour on Rt.52 by continuing on into Delaware where you will find Jackson Mitchell,Inc.,a purveyor of English period furniture of 17th, 18th and 19th century. The emphasis here is on wood color and surface. Their pieces are of superior quality and they also feature metalware accessories and botanical engravings. If you collect Victorian Staffordshire animals they always have a large selection. If you aren't completely exhausted or over-saturated, enjoy a wonderful meal and evening in a local bed and breakfast and return home with your new quality antiques.

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