The Kathy Schoemer Antiques Story


How a Housewife and Mother in New Canaan, CT, Began a Tiny Business on a Shoestring in 1971 and Met Great People in the Antiques Trade

In the fall of 1971, Kathy and her young family moved to their first old house, in New Canaan, a house with a unique history, built in 1830 and moved in the 1950's from the center of town to a romantic setting on a pond on So Main St. The force behind this courageous venture was Elinor Merrill, a well- established NYC antiques dealer. (Elinor went on to restore a beautiful 18th c brick house in Cross River, NY) At Christmas that year, Kathy's first husband, John, gave the new venture his blessing with a series of gifts setting up the business. 1830 House was born.

The property had an existing barn and the finished second floor made a perfect display space. A tiny inventory was set up and a cast of seasoned dealers made their way to the humble shop to lend support. No one knew then that the hayday of American Country was dawning, and the dealers who came were or became the biggest names in the Folk Art world. Kathy had the blind luck to land in their midst, and, those people became her closest friends, customers and promoters.

Very early influences were Gretchen Sharp , Florie and Harold Corbin, Florene Maine, I.M Wiese, Ruth Troiani, Valdemar and Harry Hilbert... Lifelong friends are Joel and Kate Kopp, Scudder and Helen Smith, Joan and Larry Kindler; some have left us - Sam Pennington, Judy Lenett, Sissy Phillips, Frances Phipps and Betty Forbes. Many of these dealers kept shops in the vicinity, and in a few hours, while Doug and Karen Schoemer were in school, Kathy could visit them and return in time to meet the afternoon school bus. That pattern has served her well through the years: one needn't travel great distances. Depending upon the sources and the consistancy of the visits, the best things can turn up within 50 miles of home.

Scudder Smith introduced Kathy to the antique show promoters of the day in New England: Russell Carrell of Salisbury, CT, who created the first "flea market", Antiques in a Cow Pasture, in a field next door to his home, and Frances Phipps and Betty Forbes, who ran the Hartford Show, and other venues in iconic locations such as Wethersfield, CT; Coventry, CT, at the Nathan Hale Homestead property; and the famous Dorset, VT, show.

Kathy and her contemporaries were accidentally on the cutting edge of the antiques business we know today.

After New Canaan: first retail shop in Scott's Corners, Pound Ridge, NY; Kathy Schoemer American Antiques at Yellow Monkey Village, Cross River, NY; KSA at the Union Hall in North Salem, NY; and, in 2000, at home in Acworth, NH. In June, 2013, Kathy and Eno moved to a tiny 18th c house in the village of Walpole, NH. Kathy has served on the board of directors of the NH Antiques Dealers Ass'n for several years, and as President for 3 years.

In 1981, Kathy partnered with Eno dePasquale, a vintage race car driver and restorer, who is the heart and soul of her antiques business today. With Eno, in her beloved New Hampshire, these are the halcyon days.

The Story Behind the Sign

Kathy's SignJust a word about the wonderful sign used to lead you to this page. In the 1970s we spent a lot of time on Nantucket when my business was in its earliest stages. I decided to have a quarter board carved by one of the top carvers on the island. When he saw my logo, he asked if he charged me the quarter board rate, could he have artistic license in creating an original design, and I agreed. Months later, the sign you see was delivered to New Canaan, where I lived at that time. He used the finest Honduras mahogany and made this beautiful sign. It has been used over and over again, since being mounted on the front door of my first little retail shop in Scotts Corners, Pound Ridge, NY. I bless him (lost his name!) each time I look at it, and it reminds me to always respect artistic freedom.


NHADA Maine Antique Digest