Friday, April 20, 2018

It only takes two to start a collection

I came from a family of collectors nothing too fancy, just stuff.  But then I married into a family of real die hard pickers and collectors.  Going from auctions in the 70's to cleaning out houses in the 80's and 90's we amassed a lot of really neat things.  Many of my items are our families household objects that have been used and loved for several generations.  Added to that are the miscellaneous finds we picked up along the way to add to our already growing collections. 

Now in this collection of spice tins I found some very unique ones.  One in particular was 
While the tin itself doesn't provide much in the way of history, the story of the business that produced this does. 

Utica has such a rich history for such a small city.  One person who made a big impact there was William Blaikie (1822-1910)(
William Blaikie played an important part in the Underground Railroad as a link in the network of black and white “stations” that covered the county’s Underground Railroad. Blaikie’s Apothecary was on Genesee Street where the Radisson Hotel now sits.  He sheltered freedom-seekers at his home at 2203 Genesee, (now St. Elizabeth's parking lot)sometimes in the barn of his pro-slavery neighbor.  His family sometimes fled their home because of the threat of anti-abolitionist violence. They were often reviled by their neighbors, and many faced violence. Moreover, they risked serious legal penalties if they were caught.
Blaikie was born in Edinburgh, Scotland in 1822. He is buried in Utica’s Forest Hill Cemetery (Plot 30).

I spent quite a while looking for an old photo of this business located at 202 Genesee Street.  I was pretty sure this was the place as Hurlburt's was 188 Genesee Street. Then I remembered a photo on the Utica College web site on a entry about the underground railway and there is was, the name I couldn't see on this photo.  

I don't know what it is about my passion for mixing bowls but I imagine it is the image my memory holds of my mom making her wonderful pies and cookies back in our 50's house kitchen.  Or maybe the Saturday's we ate at gramma's house during our dinner break as they called lunch back then, in between the farm and green house chores.  She always had the cookie jar full and something special for dessert.