CAMDEN—Many people who seek out Camden’s Antiques at 10 Mechanic do so for the building’s unique history, for it once was a movie theatre that screened the world premiere of Peyton Place in the 1950s. Today, it is a unique antique marketplace for 18 vendors.
In October, antique Halloween objects are the predominant theme. A vintage 1960s Ouji Board from Parker Brothers sits on a table at the front entrance of the store. The commercial origin of this board, originally used by spiritualists, was first developed in 1886, and turned into a game by 1890, retailing for $1.50. The modern Parker Brothers version was created in the mid-1960s. For a fascinating history of the Ouji Board click here.
Wandering around, other items seem to pop out. There are crows ever watchful on a book case; creepy dolls; quaint decorations such as paper mache pumpkins and even a couple of spooky chandeliers.
Antiques at 10 Mechanic has been in existence for about seven years. Before that, it was a 5- and 10-cent store, and then a shoe store. Betsy Perry, one of the 18 dealers with a booth at the antique marketplace, helps run the register and assist the shoppers, which is part of the arrangement of being a dealer.
“We run it like a co-op,” she said.
“People often come here fascinated by the fact that it was the place where Peyton Place first screened,” she said pointing to two frosted windows on the high far wall. “That used to be the projection room. But, we get a lot of people who come for the authentic Maine items, such as nautical things, that you just can’t get anywhere else.”
Though the Christmas season seems to bring out the most vintage holiday-themed items, Halloween ephemera is fairly rare.
“I don’t think people put much of an emphasis on commercial Halloween items 50-60 years ago, but of course with Christmas, there’s tons of stuff with antiques and items going back hundreds of years,” she said.
Those looking for authentic accessories for their Halloween costumes have more options than just Big Box stores or second hand stores. There are enough quirky and interesting vintage items ranging from clothing to shoes to jewelry and hats at Antiques at 10 Mechanic.
“We had one woman find a double-breasted baby blue blazer today that she was going to use to be a magician for Halloween,” said Perry.
Walk to the back of the store and more treasures for Halloween await in the form of Speakeasy Vintage, vintage clothing, accessories and hats with a special section dedicated just for Downton Abbey clothing.
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Kay Stephens can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org