Of Mystery, Murder and Help for a Home in Cresson

“It was raining when we reached Cresson,” wrote mystery writer Mary Roberts Reinhart in her book The Man in Lower Ten. “A wind-driven rain that had forced the agent at the news stand to close himself in and that beat back from the rails in parallel lines of white spray.

“The Cresson trip stood out in my memory for its seriocomic horrors and its one real thrill,” Reinhart wrote.

You have to imagine just a little when visiting Cresson that this is used to be a summer resort for millionaires and a setting for favorite mystery novels.

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Appraisal Stories from Kathleen Guzman, 20th Anniversary of Antiques Roadshow

When Antiques Roadshow started, recalled auctioneer Kathleen Guzman during a lecture at Heritage Auctions last night, there might have been 500 people for a show taping. It wasn’t until the taping for the first show of the second season, this time in Pittsburgh when things started to catch on. When they opened the door, they stared down a line of some 10,000 people waiting for appraisals.

In Atlanta taping for the second show of the second season some 20,000 showed. Starting appraisals at 6 a.m. Guzman said there were still 5,000 people in line at 8:30 at night. This year the show will mark its 20th Anniversary.

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At 23rd Street Armory Show, Dealers Shed Light on What’s Hot in Americana

Patina Mania is not enough for describing the dominant theme in the 23rd Street Armory Show. The obsession with surface and paint has already stirred up interest and prices in many folk art areas, such as dower chests or weathervanes; now dealers must prove that collect-ability and bargains can still co-exist, in an antique show.

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Addams Family Empire

The Addams Family is set for a run on Broadway where character Wednesday will turn 18 and deal with getting a boyfriend. The original creation of the Addams family was of course on television in the 1960s with a set containing numerous curiosities in a Second-Empire mansion. One of these is an empire-style sofa I noticed while watching an episode on Hulu.com. I captured a screen shot and set out for a discussion on a LinkedIn group.My first reaction was that the good carving made it a “period” sofa, probably from New York that somehow made it to California and onto the set. There were signs it may not be period, a thin crest rail in the back being one, but the four carved feet nudged me toward the idea that it could be period.

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Vancouver, Coffee and Comprehensive Walkability

While it’s natural for a traveler to compare a place visited- to the place lived, some cities are not comparable. You can’t fairly compare Cedar Rapids, Iowa to New York City.

But how many New Yorkers visit Cedar Rapids?

You only have so much time in your life, and you can’t spend time in two places simultaneously. In that sense, where you are is always comparable to where you are not. Where you spend most of your time is comparable to where you don’t spend much of your time.

I had the opportunity to spend the past week in Vancouver, British Columbia.

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New Orleans is Unlike Anywhere Else

I have been in Dallas for about five years and so far have had the problem coming up with simple and effective verbalization to express what the city lacks. It’s “all corporate, too many big buildings, too many highways, too many parking lots, too focused on the automobile,” all sound like complaining. And as Texans like to say, if you don’t like it, leave. But today I think more and more Texans, or Dallasites in particular, don’t like it this way either.

A day trip to New Orleans and a vintage video of Jane Jacobs talking about Toronto have made that verbiage clear to me now. I think it will be more effective to describe the problem with Dallas as lacking continual fabric, and vernacular spirit.

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Forget Tech Tycoons, Blame High Rents on Preservation

San Franciscans, the property-owners among them anyway, have long ago discovered that preservation is good for the purse. I use preservation broadly to include zoning restrictions, height restrictions, etc.- keeping things the way they are. Somehow preservation has thus far been seen as progressive. Small Victorian houses are being saved while the high rents caused by the land-use restrictions are blamed on well-heeled tech workers willing to shell out a small fortune each month to live where there are lots of cute Victorian houses.

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