Thursday, June 29, 2017

The Historic Benton Hotel

As many of you know, I recently opened a booth at Antiques Et Cetera in Benton, Ky.  It was shortly after that when I started hearing stories about the building that it occupies.  It turns out that the building was originally The Benton Hotel and a dry goods store.  And get this - it's reputed to be haunted!  Well that just interested the hell out of me, so I started asking questions and talked to store manager, Sherry Krech, and she offered me a tour.  So come along and check it out with me.....

Is there anything better than an antiques store loaded to the rafters with vintage items?  Not much, unless it’s housed in a circa 1900’s building that has a reputation for being haunted.  Welcome to Antiques Et Cetera, located at 1026 Main Street in the heart of downtown Benton, Kentucky.  Walk into the store on any given morning and you are welcomed with a smile, a “Hey y’all, ”  and the featured coffee of the day.   Most mornings will find Manager Sherry Krech and her crew bustling about, tidying up booths, ready to help you in your quest to find “just the right item.”  The building itself was originally known as “The Benton Hotel” and was built in 1892.  The first floor housed a general store and people would travel by horse and buggy from miles around to make purchases.  The 3rd floor was a massive hotel and the perfect place for weary travelers to rest for the night.

Today the basement /lower level of the building is cavernous and rooms yawn in the darkness.  Pull string lights bounce shadows off the walls and offer glimpses of European furniture, galvanized pots, piles of chairs, wrought iron gates, and wooden crates that are scattered throughout the rooms.   

 Original tin tiles peek out from behind modern day drop ceilings and walls are sheeted with wide shiplap boards.  At one time the building was heated by coal and you can still see the coal room and coal chutes, and small pieces of coal are scattered about like black diamonds.  

An engineer’s workroom once occupied one huge office and an interesting side note is that for some time the Marshall County Tribune Courier was housed there.  The entire building is steeped in Benton history.

For the past 30 years the first floor has been the home of Antiques Et Cetera.  Individual booths offer a wide variety antiques and collectibles, jewelry, men’s items, clothing, unique crafts, household items, holiday d├ęcor and a bridal registry.  It’s a great place for both local residents and vacationers to poke around in the nooks and crannies looking for something special.  

The mezzanine is located above the rear of the first floor and when the National Stores Company was located there, that’s where messages were shot through tubes to the offices.  Now the Mezzanine showcases antique’s for sale.

Check out those ceiling tiles....

These days the third floor is used as storage but at one time the Benton Hotel filled the space.  Let's go check it out....

 It’s not hard to imagine how majestic it must have been.  The floors are covered in tongue and groove, the walls in shiplap, and massive 4 and 5 panel doors are surrounded by stunning woodwork and finished with ornate doorknobs and locks.  

The original Grand Room is overflowing with antique European furniture – bureau’s, chairs, beds, desks, and tables.   

Small office suites overlook Main Street and guest rooms and sitting areas line a hallway.  The guest rooms were beautiful two room suites and I can just picture them with huge beds and bureaus in one room and chaise chairs and water pitchers in the other...

At various times over the past 125 years the upstairs has also housed a dentist office, Kentucky Farm Bureau Insurance and an aviary. 

At the rear of the Grand Room sits the space where the original rope and pulley elevator was located.  

It is rumored that sometime in the early 1900’s a man was murdered here, in front of the elevator – something about flirting with a woman is the story I have been told.  Right about where I am standing.....

I’ve heard that ghosts inhabit the upper floor and we found it strange that the elevator area was the only place in the entire building where the camera didn’t want to co-operate.  My assistant tried twice to take photos of the elevator shaft and area directly in front of it and each time the camera refused to take a shot.  Towards the end of our visit she walked over to try a third time.  

As the camera finally snapped a picture she heard boards creaking behind her as if someone was walking across the wooden floor.  She turned, thinking it was me, and said a shiver ran down her spine when she realized nobody was there and that I was across the room with Sherry.   Sherry  said that people have taken pictures that once developed show orbs of light and there have been times when she feels cold blasts of air for no reason or that the hair on the back of her neck has prickled when she walked into room #1.   

At various times people have come down from the third floor and claimed that they saw or heard a little girl.  As for myself, I felt nothing out of the ordinary, but one plastered bedroom wall revealed eerie images to me – a dancing boy in one area and in another section it looks like a small boy and girl holding hands.  Take a look - can you see them?

Could they be ghosts from the past?  Maybe……

If you’re in the Kentucky Lake area, take the time to visit Antiques Et Cetera.  You’ll recognize the building with its peeling white paint and faded “National Stores” sign emblazoned across the front.  They are open daily.

Take a look at the windows on the upper level and let me know if you see any ghosts from the past peering out at you.

Please visit the AntiquesEt Cetera FB page and follow along for updates on sales, weekly booth photos and promotions!

Please read the companion article in the June 29th edition of the Lake Light newspaper if you're in the Kentucky Lake area.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

What is it?

Ok folks, I have a question.   My sister found this at an estate sale and we have no idea what it is.  Any idea?

It's made of brass and stands 4" high and has a 3" diameter...

It says "LUSO" and is made in Portugal....

I can't even begin to guess what it is.

Help me out!

**UPDATE - Thanks for all the interesting guesses, but I think my friend Della over on FB had the best idea - an antique ink pot.   What do you think?

Monday, June 5, 2017

Gear Review - Lewis N. Clark Waterseals Waterproof Hard Case

The Lewis N. Clark Waterseals Waterproof Hard Case is one of the best products I have reviewed from this fine company.  I'll bet you anything that my friend Jamie wishes she had had this product last weekend.

When we're at the lake, one of the best things to do on the weekend is to take your boat to a cove and tie up to other boats.  Everyone climbs from boat to boat, visiting, eating, swimming, floating - it's a lot of  fun.

Last weekend Jamie and her family tied up to a houseboat and prepared to climb aboard. Jamie had in hand her cell phone, house key, a small wallet with her drivers license and money, and her cigarettes.  Just as she went to swing open the boarding gate she took a bad step and guess where all her items went?  You got it - right down to the bottom of the lake.  Jamie's day was quickly ruined as she watched hundreds of dollars worth of possessions sink out of sight.   In fact, her exact words were "Rodney told me to grab it!  I said, it is GONE! by the time I blinked it was just gone!  Not a great moment for me! "     Imagine how different her day would have been if she would have had this waterproof, floating case.

How timely that I recently received the Lewis N. Clark Waterseals Waterproof Hard Case to review.  Isn't that ironic?

These hard cover cases come in 3 different sizes and 3 different colors.  This one is the largest case with an exterior size of 5" x 7.5" x 2.2" 

The case has a soft rubber inner liner.  Make sure it is firmly seated around the edges and once you close the case be sure to screw the pressure valve on the side.  This will prevent water from getting in.  The first time I tested it I neglected to turn the screw and a few drops of water got in.  

Here you can see the pressurized screw.  Also note the attached wrist strap...

Once I properly seated the inner liner and tightened the screw, it proved to be completely water proof.

Here I filled it with my i phone, my drivers license and some cash....

I closed it up and made sure the screw was tight.  It easily floated on top of the water....

Then I held it under the water.  No air bubbles = no leaks!!

I also added a pack of cigarettes just to show how much room the case still had.

Everything is nice and dry!

I love that it combines a water proof case with the floatable feature.

If you spend any time on the water then you really need this product.   Jamie - I'm giving this case to you.  I know you're going to love it.  Have fun on the water!

Visit their FB page here.

I recently reviewed the Lewis N.Clark ElectroLight RFID Block Day Pack.  If you missed that post, go read it here.

I was given this product in exchange for an honest review.
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