The Texas town of Handley was established in 1876 and named after the confederate Major James Madison Handley. The city, a mere seven miles drive from downtown Fort Worth, was eventually annexed by cow town in 1946. Today, the small area called Historic Handley Village is famous for antique and furniture stores and other neighborhood retailers.
Our first stop was Eastside Antiques, owned by Gary, a Chicago transplant. At the store front, a tiny cute sign says “Attack Cat on Duty.” It turned out there is a tuxedo cat guarding the store. According to Marie, Gary’s mother, the cat is the real boss and has absolute freedom to jump from one cabinet to another. However, it is only a feat which can be accomplished by a cat, the store is a gem filled with such a variety and quantity that you must look up and down and all around because you would never expect what to wait for you at any corner. The store has many vintage jewels such as necklaces, broaches, braces or even cuff links. Some date back to Victorian times. Glassware and flatware are another specialty. Eric spotted one glass comb sanitizer, probably used by a barber shop.
Gary frequents Northeast to find treasure and bring it down to Texas. Although the store has the old-fashioned charm, Gary has adapted his business to the fast growing social media and also relied on SEO to help improve his business presence online. He has a Tumblr site, which is how we found out about Handley. Gary will be exhibiting at the Dallas Vintage Clothing and Jewelry Show.
Our next stop was Antiques Café. The store has multiple dealers, and is more spacious compared to Eastside Antiques. One thing we noticed is that it has many big items such as furniture or machines. (Do you need a vintage sewing machine?) Eric found a wonderful cloisonné lamp, probably from the early 20th century for just $25 dollars. An Eastlake style chair, with green Damask fabric, sat quietly with a vintage doll on it.
One benefit of the store is that a café is adjacent to the store and provides great service and good food. Of course, the café is also decorated with antiques. We even found a vintage photo of Dallas Streetcar in the restaurant.
Our last stop for this brief trip was at Weiler House, owned by Bill Ryan. The house itself is worth the trip. Built in 1906 for William Weiler, the first station master and prominent citizen in the town of Handley, the Weiler House showcases some of the finest original art in Fort Worth. Eric commented that the house has a wonderful feeling once you walk in, and those artworks certainly makes it even better. We noticed some still life works by Maureen Hyde. The kind of humble ordinariness of daily produce projects a kind of marvelous quietude that soothes the eyes. The style reminded me of Sarah Lamb, who is having her solo show at the Spanierman Gallery of New York City. We also noticed a fresh from easel work of an urban street scene by Steve Miller.