Spirographics: Designs from Yesterday, Lessons for Today

Note:  This post was originally published on the blog, The Prairie Sage.  Image credit: The Smithsonian  National American History Museum. A few months ago I purchased a Spirograph kit for myself. A Spirograph is a drawing tool that had been a huge hit back in the sixties when it was first introduced as a child’s creative …

Something Old, Something Blue

…And then the blogger settled into a deep funk brought on by the blighted winter landscape, wind chills, and long, dark nights. Ugh.  This is the part of the year that I find almost impossible to slog through.  Complaints come easily;  It’s just too cold.  The car is salty and gross.  The fleece of my …

A Life in Antiques: One Dealer’s Story

On a soggy day in 1968 a small crowd gathered in the rural village of Winston, Missouri to survey a collection of old relics up for auction.  Had someone snapped a picture that day, the lean young face of Wayne Wormsley would have been captured on film, a small, featureless oval behind a sea of …

Five Favorite Finds: A Visit with Mary Kris Nolte

Excerpt from a recent conversation with Mary Kris Nolte: “What do you see up there?” I’m sitting low while Mary Kris towers above me, comb in hand, gently lifting strands of hair atop my head.  “Well, it’s really red.” My head is itching terribly—terribly!—and the comb, barely grazing my scalp, executes a cruel, endless tickle.  …

Vintage New York: A Little Christmastime Tour

I’m thrilled to welcome a guest blogger to Circa 19xx this week! My friend Susan Robinson just returned from a Christmastime tour of New York City and is recreating part of her trip for us.  Susan is no stranger to Circa 19xx; if you follow the blog you might recall that I featured her beautiful home …

Merry Christmas from the Thomas Hart Bentons

I met Kansas City Regionalist painter Thomas Hart Benton once back in 1995, and I didn’t like him very much.   Of course, he had been dead for 20 years at that time and had already been reduced to mere bones.  That’s not why I didn’t like him, though.  I spent a couple of evenings with …

Advent Arrives at Holy Trinity Parish in Weston, Missouri…for the 175th Time

Weston, Missouri is a small town that’s well known locally for the many stylish specialty shops and restaurants clustered around its historic main street.  Well positioned near Kansas City, Platte City, and St. Joseph, Weston has masterfully leveraged the quaint aesthetics of its old downtown area to attract retailers, restaurateurs, and customers.  On any given weekend—particularly during …

Christmas at the Haunted Mansion

Editorial note:  This post is a follow-up to a post entitled Ghost Story at Kansas City’s Beautiful Haunted Mansion.  When I open the door and step across the threshold at Vaile Mansion in Independence, Missouri, I always feel as if I’m inserting myself into a drama that’s still unfolding.  The setting is authentically Victorian, yet feels current.  …