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Dig Antiques - Real stuff without the fluff.

July 2010

Camps and Twigs – Adirondack Style

Starting in the 1870s the Adirondack region in upstate NY became a tourist destination for New York City and Chicago residents. Hotels sprung up catering to those looking to experience the wilderness and railroads were built to make it easier to reach these destinations. Soon the wealthy industrialists saw the Adirondacks as their summer playground.

Compounds of rustic buildings were built into grandiose family compounds for some of the most prominent families in America including Vanderbilt, Whitney, JP Morgan, Durant and Rockefeller. A distinctive architecture style emerged as these Great Camps were built in a primitive, rustic appearance blending into the wilderness. Elements such as whole, split, or peeled logs, bark for wallpaper, roots, and burls, along with native granite fieldstone, were used to build interior and exterior components. Massive fireplaces and chimneys built of cut stone are also common within the Great Camp architecture.

The furniture and decorative elements in these Great Camps mirrored the architecture and environment. Twigs and roots were common elements in chairs, tables, beds, picture and mirror frames. In addition Craftsman/Arts and Crafts style furniture was commonly used to furnish these Great Camps.

The classic “Adirondack chair” with its slanted back and seat and spacious arm-rests was first created by Thomas Lee in 1903. A local carpenter, Harry Bunnell, began making the chairs and in 1905 patented them as the Westport chair. For about twenty years, Harry Bunnell made the chairs out of hemlock, painted them either dark brown or green, signed them and sold them for $4.00 each. A signed Bunnell chair is extremely hard to find and worth thousands of dollars.

There were more than forty Great Camps in their heyday. Many Great Camps burnt down, fell into disrepair or were dismantled as they became too expensive to maintain. It wasn’t until the 1970s that the significance of these Great Camps was recognized. Eleven Great Camps are now on the National Register in an effort to preserve them for future generations.

Just search for adirondack or twig on Dig Antiques for some great stuff.

Here are a few references used in creating this article:

Summer News

Dig Antiques continues to grow. In the past month we added six new Shops to Dig Antiques and a number of Shops have expanded their offerings. We also added another six new websites to the search index.

New Recycled Dig Antiques Tote Bag
We now have large Dig Antiques tote bags available for a nominal fee of $4.95 to cover shipping. These totes are made of recycled polypropylene and they are large, measuring 13" x 15" x 10". We are amazed at how much you can fit into one of these bags!

Tote bags are in hunter green. Use them to carry antiques, head to the beach, for weekend getaways or for your groceries. Order your tote here and we'll ship it right out to you!

We have been enjoying our time back east catching up with family and friends. The heat and humidity have been in full force this summer but that hasn't stopped us. We've been antiquing, visiting shops such as the Middlebury Antique Center in VT and we exhibited and shopped at the Rhinebeck Antiques Fair. We have also had the chance to meet a couple of the Dig Antiques Shop owners and advertisers in person for the first time! What a treat it has been to get to see people in person and not just as an email or web address!

While at the Rhinebeck show, we walked around talking to dealers about Dig Antiques. In comparison to last year, there were many more dealers that had heard of Dig Antiques; many indicating they regularly go digging. And, there were a number of dealers that were very interested in opening a Shop at Dig Antiques. Some were looking for another outlet besides eBay and some were looking to have a web presence without the hassle and intimidation of having a full website. We're looking forward to seeing more Shops open in the coming months.

We hope your summer is filled with sunshine, friendship, and of course, antiques. Stop and visit us in booth 37 at Manchester Pickers Market on Monday Aug 9 or on the porch of the log hotel at the Adirondack Museum Show on Saturday-Sunday Aug 14-15.

Tom & Sheila Baker

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June 2010 Top Searches

Below is a summary of the twenty most popular search phrases during June 2010.

1. bread board
2. stoneware crocks
3. corner cupboard
4. sugar chest
5. cobalt blue stoneware
6. copper horse weathervane
7. childs painted chair
8. bucket bench
9. norton stoneware
10. gameboard
11. nantucket basket
12. spice box
13. dry sink
14. painted cupboard
15. trade sign
16 weathervane
17. jelly cupboard
18. braided rug
19. signed pantry box
20.hooked rug


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Granthum 1763 Antiques
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J. Compton Gallery
JD Wahl Antiques
Quail Country Antiques
Stella Rubin Antique Quilts & Decorative Arts
West Branch Antiques

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