Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Found, Free and Flea

PB and I spend a lot of time at the library during the summer.  I have found several neat books that I thought I would share through a series of different posts.  Found, Free, and Flea by Tereasa Surratt (view the trailer, it's really cute! shows some before and after shots.) is one of my favorite books I have checked out.  Backstory is:

When Tereasa Surratt’s husband convinced her that they should buy a derelict summer camp in Wisconsin, they had no idea the treasure trove they’d inherit with the property. While renovating the decrepit cabins at Camp Wandawega, they kept stumbling upon curious objects, some dating back ninety years or more: a Boy Scout patch, an old sled, a pristine set of Fiesta Ware, dozens of midcentury aprons, an untouched box of board games in their original packaging. 

Tereasa knew the power that one mundane object has when grouped with its siblings. So rather than discard everything, she set out on a five-year expedition to turn the more than 150 found items into full-fledged collections. Relying on her own thriftiness, she only acquired pieces for free or at a bargain price: items that she found, negotiated for free, or unearthed at a flea market. 

The whole story about Camp Wandawega is so intriguing.  It was originally built in 1926 as an answer to Prohibition as a speakeasy but fronted as a hotel.  Through the end of the 1920's it was home to organized crime with multiple exits and trap doors while it continued to distribute liquor, guns and gambling. Into the 30's it became a brothel.  The 1950's finally brought it more into it's function it holds now as being a legit family campground. The Catholic church bought it in the 1960's and ran it as a church camp into the 1970's.

I can not describe how excited I would be to have this kind of a vintage and historical building discovery adventure such as these folks had.  The book it's self is a wonderful mixture of collections, stories, history and craft repurpose ideas.

The owners stumbled on bundles of old postcards and letters.  They tuck them inside dresser drawers and night stands for campers to have their own discoveries.

Here are a few images of finished cabins/hotel with vintage items recovered from the camp's past:
 I love this kitchen!

 Super cool story behind this fiesta ware. They discovered it covered and walled in, still on shelves.

 Another view of the cute kitchen.

I think this is a general use sitting area at the camp. Lovely!

Unfortunately, I don't think I will ever make it up to Camp Wandawega (16 hours away).  But if you live anywhere near Elkhorn, Wisconsin this place is a must to visit. Check out the website in the meantime, it has a "Tour" area with more gorgeous photos of the entire site.  

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