Dig­ging Mod­ern

A random ware­house sale leads to a serendip­i­tous dis­cov­ery.

Atomic Ranch - - Contents Winter 2017 - Writ­ten and pho­tographed by Chad Baker

I'm not a big yard sale fan.

Years of run­ning from sale to sale only to find baby clothes and brand new knick-knacks in neigh­bor­hoods full of cookie cut­ter houses did me in.

One fall morn­ing, I was run­ning late get­ting to the ware­house and came across a sign that read “Ware­house Sale.” Lo­cated around the back of some stor­age units in an older area of town, some­thing told me this sale in a non­res­i­den­tial area may not be full of "new junk." The sale wasn’t busy, but look­ing around, it seemed I had been suck­ered into just another yard sale—un­til I saw a won­der­ful or­ange enamel stove with all the orig­i­nal pipes.

So as not to seem su­per in­ter­ested, I didn't rush over im­me­di­ately. Con­tin­u­ing to walk as if scop­ing out the other mer­chan­dise, I slowly made my way over. Pre­tend­ing to al­most trip over it, I in­quired about the unique stove.

The lady hav­ing the sale told me it had been in her house in Michi­gan and that she had brought it with her years ago when mov­ing to Hick­ory, North Carolina. Hon­estly, I was shocked she had thought enough about the stove to move it and still have it in her pos­ses­sion. Keep­ing this ap­par­ent at­tach­ment in mind, I asked the price. Seem­ing sur­prised that any­one would ask about the stove, she replied “$30.” With­out hes­i­ta­tion, I pulled out the cash, loaded it up and headed home.

Know­ing that some­day my wife Tina and I would own our for­ever mid­cen­tury home, we de­cided to hang on to the stove. Years later while work­ing on the re­model plans for our 1963 mid­cen­tury home, it was fi­nally time to bring the stove into the mix. We had the per­fect spot for it in our base­ment and even based the ac­cent wall paint off the stove’s orig­i­nal fin­ish. Not want­ing to deal with the mess as­so­ci­ated with bring­ing fire­wood in the house, we found a set of gas logs that fin­ished the stove off per­fectly.

Chad Baker is a knowl­edgable mid­cen­tury en­thu­si­ast who has been dig­ging for mid mod trea­sure for more than 10 years. As a re­sult, he has a plethora of sto­ries about res­cu­ing, restor­ing and scor­ing great finds. Along with his wife Tina, Chad lives in a...

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