Gonzales – Antiquing
Arriving in Gonzales, investigating the town on foot, the first thing we hear is, “What are the two of you doing out in this heat today?” That is probably the best question of the year. The temperature gauge says 101°F. The heat index is 116. I blame it on serendipity.
We walk into the century-old unairconditioned building and explore. The Emporium is a place for winter, early spring, and late fall exploration. It is a treasure hunter’s dream come true—and a neatnik’s nightmare. I have never seen so much stuff. Anything and everything and piles of it everywhere—piles on top of piles on top of piles. All for sale. Even the building.
The floor creaks and gives. In places, there is a sheet of aged plywood covering the older planking worn bare of any finish that it may once have had. On the back wall, there is a wide staircase leading up to the second floor. Bumping into the proprietor I ask, “What was this building used for originally?”
“A saloon,” he replies.
“And the stairs.”
“That was so the customers could get up to the girls on the second floor.”
We are in the true old west of the deep south at the beginning of the flatlands leading to the coastal plains. I’m standing in the middle of someone’s saga.
Michael arrives and we chat about the history of Gonzales, and life and bankruptcies and bars and music too loud that irritates the people that live downtown, “Everybody lives downtown,” the owner says.
As we stand there in the oppressive heat talking, I notice a set of gold wine glasses etched with clusters of grapes displayed in a glass case. Nothing has a price tag. Learning they are $8 each I decide I want all six. Then, as they are being wrapped, I remember that I forgot the cardinal rule when buying antique glassware— check the rims with your finger.
602 Saint Paul Street
Call (512) 426-3648 or (512) 771-4222
Discovery Architectural Antiques
Walking up the street and turning left on St. Francis, we proceed toward Discovery Architectural Antiques, our original destination. We have gone from the ridiculous to the sublime. Air conditioned. Orderly. High Priced. Everything tagged.
I want a lot. The antique doorknobs are works of art. I would like a collection, but what would I do with them. A different doorknob for every door? That’s a thought.
There are keys. Michael picks one up and tells the clerk that he bought several just like the one he is holding when he was in San Miguel over a decade ago for just fifty cents each—today’s price tag is $25 per key. He drops it back into the basket.
I wander on. Lovely old furniture. Beautiful old doors. I need to close my eyes and go away. I nearly fall onto a heavily textured pot sitting on top of an oriental rug—probably not old, but that is never my criteria for loving something. Either created for a utilitarian use or to sell to gullible Americans, it has a dark brown glaze and is mottled with—splotched is most likely a better word—a grayish white cement color—maybe thick dust. It is affordable. I like it. I know where it can live in my house. I wander back around to the front in search of the clerk.
Two-fifteen finds Michael in the driver’s seat and me sitting in the passenger side of our car. Too early to check-in to our B&B, too hot to walk, we explore the single highway and many byways of Gonzales. Killing time.
409 Saint Francis St. Gonzales, TX 78629
Thursday – Saturday 9-5 p.m. or by Appointment