We purchased our property in late 2004. I say “property” because it was vacant land with what realtors refer to as a pusher-downer house on it. The house was in such bad shape that it was not considered in the asking price of the property.
Little did we know, on that first day as we toured the place, the inside of the old house held a vast amount of treasures….even photograph albums of the family as it had grown over the years. We just couldn't push the house down, nor could we stand to throw all the old relics inside.
One of the old pieces of furniture was dragged to a storage shed where it stood, patiently waiting, for someone to spend time refinishing it. That time finally came! A couple of weeks ago I donned a respirator and a sander and began to strip the old paint off this beautiful pantry (for lack of a better word). It had stood right inside the entry door as you entered the old home and housed Mrs. Scott's recipes and special articles she had saved from the early 1900s.
There were multiple news articles showing how to cure meat inside the pantry. One of the recipes explained how to “put up sausage”. It called for “24 pounds of meat, 9 tablespoons of sage, 7 tablespoons of salt, 4 tablespoons of black pepper, 1 tablespoon of cayenne pepper, and 1 tablespoon of brown sugar. Make into cakes, thoroughly cook without browning too much, and put into big-mouthed glass jars and cover with lard. In this way, it will keep indefinitely.” Wow!!! These people did not have access to refrigeration as we do now, so they had to be creative to keep meat year 'round.
There were newspapers from The Weekly Kansas City Star dated November 17, 1926 that lined the bottom of the area where flour was kept. I guess it kept the flour from slipping through the cracks in the bottom of the pantry. There was a brochure that touted Iron Day Drudgery is Unknown to the Woman Who Uses a Royal Self Heating Iron. I am sure that it was a great improvement to ironing in the early 1900s.
We had found three old kerosene lanterns on the property during those first days. The globes had broken over the years, I had imagined, but the Scott's family had fashioned a screen to protect the flame and make it usable.
We have had the lamps on display in our kitchen for years now. I had wondered, many times, what they had looked like when they were new. Lo and behold, inside the pantry came the answer – the lamps were called the New Sunshine Safety Lamps. They had been sold with a 15 day trial and were guaranteed for five years. Check out the beautiful globe the lamps had! May be on the ” look-out” for them in an antique store!
We found an interesting trial package of Walko's White Diarrhea Roup and Cholera Tablets for poultry. It had been sent as a trial package to the box holders on the mail route. It was still full of the tablets – never had been used. Full directions included….
On to the task at hand! I sanded the paint off the pantry and found it to be as cute as I had hoped it to be. It has a drop-down lid missing, but appears to be otherwise in pretty good shape. Back in the day, there was no such thing as a “finishing nail” as the heads on all the nails are big! I think that's what gives it character!
I measured the pantry and then ran around the kitchen to see where it might fit in the house. It will fit pretty well in the hallway where a quilt stand sits now. I am torn between putting the piece back in action as a “flour” bin, or painting it a vivid color and filling the drawers full of beautiful draping flowers….a “flower” bin. I believe Mrs. Scott, who passed decades ago, might be pretty happy to see her pantry back in the kitchen of her home (you got it, we fixed the old house up – just couldn't bear to tear it down!) I have been told that she was also quite a gardener, so either way I think she will be pleased!
What do you think?
Mrs. Scott's seeds