By Shane McGowan, Staff Writer
Viewed from a western window of Munsell Hall, Main Street Treasures (formerly Momma G’s) appears to be a small, cozy home just across Main Street. Today, Main Street is cold and the shop workers are indoors, where piles of unusual items clutter the floor, shelves, and walls of the store.
Though it is a very familiar landmark to Illinois Wesleyan University students, there has always been an air of mystery around the establishment. Few students have actually visited the shop while even fewer know anything about it. Intrigued, I decided to investigate.
I hesitated as I looked around the shop, briefly telling a worker that I am writing for The Argus, that I’ve only been here once, and that I want to discover more about the local antique store. She gives me a look and then turns to the other older woman who extends her hand to me.
She introduces herself as Catherine Crawford, but the other people in the shop refer to her as “Momma.” Could this be her? Could this be Momma G?
Unfortunately, that is not the case. As Catherine tells me, she and her family bought the shop in December from its previous owners, who had put up the familiar store sign and taken the secret of Momma G’s identity with them.
She offers to walk me around the store and talk to me about some of the items. A circular clearing has been made in the clutter occupying the floor around the walls so that the shopkeepers and other antique freaks have a path to follow as they browse the disarray.
I admire the surprising nature of the items as we start clockwise around the shop. Catherine says that they carry all kinds of stuff, including heaps of old clothes from every era imaginable.
“Some things, nobody can tell what they are,” Crawford said while gesturing toward a display case full of antique metal objects.
Aside from the odd mechanisms in the display case, certain other things catch the eye as well: a framed full-length mirror, shelves of glassware and plates and an old television made with see-through plastic, which Catherine explains came from a prison where inmates needed to have see-through televisions to prevent smuggling.
The shop was a mess when her family bought it, Crawford tells me as she leads me to a back section, divided from the rest of the shop by a bookrack covered in worn-looking novels. The back section is literally a pile of stuff, topped like a sundae with two sombreros.
Crawford’s family bought the location with the inventory included, and have since been trying to clean and organize some of the items. Much of the excess gets relocated to this back area and holds the promise of an interesting discovery for anyone brave enough to dive in.
Main Street Treasures is a cozy, yellow home with a clutter of antique items, each with a mysterious history. I leave the shop thinking of the futures of my own possessions.
Some will end up lost among the clutter of human artifacts, of old, used clothes, cheap furniture and out-of-date technology. Perhaps someday a young reporter will find a piece of my evidence along the walls of Main Street Treasures.
And though the mystery surrounding the enigmatic Main Street Treasures remains, the store offers plenty of other oddities and curiosities to satiate the inquisitive mind.
Main Street Treasures Vintage and Antiques is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.