Monday, September 11, 2017

Cookstove Road Trip to Mill Creek Antiques in Paxico, Kansas

Nancy had a total replacement done on her left knee in June, and she is having the right one done as I type this post.  Since she spent most of the summer recovering from the first surgery and since her recovery used up her vacation time, we didn't take any vacation this summer.  Instead, we've opted for a couple of day trips.

On Labor Day, we went to Jamesport, Missouri, which has a large Amish settlement.  We only saw one cookstove, a small Windsor that was a decoration in a cheese shop.  There was a cookstove dealer in the area, and after a few wrong turns we were able to locate his shop.  He did not have any cookstoves on display, however, as he mostly sets up direct shipments from manufacturer to buyer.  In the course of visiting with him, he told me that in the last seven or eight years, their settlement began allowing the use of propane cooking stoves, so most of the younger Amish families used them for their cooking now.  This was no surprise to me since I've noticed this trend in other Amish areas that we have visited.

Last Saturday, we trekked to Paxico, Kansas, to visit Mill Creek Antiques.  To my knowledge, this is the antique stove store that is closest to us. Neither of us had ever been there before, but it is a most impressive place, and I am already looking forward to going back.

Storeowner and expert stove restorer Steve Hund was on hand at the store as well as his very personable and entertaining assistant salesman, whose name I'm embarrassed to have forgotten.  I have been in a lot of antique stores, but this one was extraordinary in that it is not cluttered up with the usual run of mid-twentieth century glassware and bric-a-brac.  Further, the store is set up to feel much more like you've walked back into time and are shopping in an old fashioned stove and furniture shop.

When we walked in the front door, we took an immediate left and saw several period gas stoves, but the salesman directed our attention to an Acorn combination range that was extremely unique.  The only other Acorn cookstove that I've been in contact with is discussed in this post about the wood cookstoves at Living History Farms in the Des Moines area.  Acorn manufactured quality stoves, but the one we saw in Paxico was fascinating. This was the view that we had when we walked into the room.  You can see the gas cooktop and the high gas oven stack on the right.

The Acorn combination gas/wood cookstove.

I could see that there is a wood or coal burning firebox on the lower left with an oven to the right.

The salesman pointing out where the grate shaker
is located while I snapped a view of the left side
of the stove.

Then the salesman showed me one of the most surprising features of a stove I have ever seen.  The gas cooktop was hinged so that when you wish to cook on solid fuel, you just fold the gas cooktop into the back splash, revealing the second cooktop!  I had never seen anything like it.

The Acorn combination stove with the gas cooktop
latched in the up position.

Interior shot of the long, narrow oven which is heated by the
wood or coal fire.

The room with the Acorn had two toy wood cookstoves in it, which I took a couple of quick snaps of.

Then we traveled to the main stove room, which was just beautiful.

The main stove display room.  If I'd have been
thinking at all, I would have shot this in black
and white because then it would have been hard
to tell this photo from one of those period
pictures you see of hardware stores in the past.

Of course, I was immediately drawn to the Majestic cookstove in the right rear part of the room.  You can't imagine my delight at finding that a fire had been lit in it, and a round link of homemade German sausage was cooking. This stove is gorgeous, and my photograph does not begin to do it justice. For one thing, you cannot see how the nickel plating gleams.  This stove is ready to turn out many more delicious meals while gracing whatever kitchen it lands in.

The Great Majestic cookstove with its firebox door
open to show the fire.  The sausage link is cooking
in the pan over the fire.  I wish you could see how
shiny this stove is.

Other cookstoves in this room included the ones below, all ready to begin cooking again.

A Monarch range.  My guess is that this stove is
from the 20s or early 30s.  This stove looks like it
may be the same model that blog reader Tim in
Minnesota has.  Tim's post can be read here.

A cute, smaller, later model Majestic than the
one that had the fire in it.

This stove is listed on Mill Creek Antiques'
website as a Malleable Cookstove.  The right
side of this stove used to have four gas burners,
but they have been replaced with a big piece
 of cast iron to make a convenient, heat safe
work surface.  The gas oven and broiler are

A Home Comfort Range with a stovepipe oven resting
on its cooktop.  Home Comforts had reputations as
real work horses, and many of them are still in regular
use today.

One thing I would like to add about the stoves being sold at Mill Creek Antiques is that I felt the pricing was quite reasonable for the quality work that each stove exhibits.  A short conversation with owner/restorer Steve Hund assured me that he knows exactly what he is doing when it comes to stove restorations, and his 40+ years of experience make him a valuable resource for information.

In addition to stoves, Mill Creek Antiques carries high quality antique furniture, most of which is quite unique.  They are also an Aladdin Lamps Authorized Dealer, and they carry a huge selection of flat wick antique oil lamps and other light fixtures.

Paxico has a number of other antique stores in its small business district, but I don't think any of the other store owners would argue with me when I say that Mill Creek Antiques is the town's crown jewel.  Nancy and I are already looking forward to our next trip to Paxico.  I hope it will be in the dead of winter when the store's many heating stoves will be in use!

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