Michelle’s Antique Road Trip: A Shopping Gem on the Missouri River

Jeff’s Architectural Salvage, 291 Welt Street, Weston Mo., sits in the old river channel and an original grain elevator to which riverboats once docked to take on grain sits on his property. The building still has a working seed separator that is original to the building, too.

I am all about quaint little towns with history, antebellum houses and terrific antique shopping. Fortunately, we have such a place about an hour drive from my home, Weston, Missouri.

Weston is a place we discovered not to long after we moved to the Kansas City area and it quickly became a destination we visited as often as possible. It went through somewhat of a decline for a few years with shops and restaurants closing; in general, it took a big hit by the sagging economy. But the tides are turning in Weston, as new shops are opening up and, once again, people are talking about the town and activities. Once again, Weston is a wonderful place to spend a day or even a few days.

In the early 1970s, a large portion of the downtown area was placed on the National Register of Historic Places, which means that many of the buildings retain their original exterior facades, tin ceilings and walls. You’ll notice that many shops in Weston feature original, yet squeaky hardwood floors, and the town just oozes history of bygone days.

Among the items you’ll find at Jeff’s Architectural Salvage is floor grates, as well as colored bathroom sinks, doors, recused hardware of every shape.

If you’re looking for replacement pieces for your old home, such as windows from every era, Jeff’s should be your first stop.

In 1804, members of the Lewis and Clark expedition camped on the banks of the Missouri River in what became Weston. They sent back word of the location’s fertile soil, rolling river, diverse and ample plant and wildlife, and the rolling hills. This started an influx to the area of fur-traders and trappers. After the Platte Purchase of 1836, two million acres were opened up for settlement by pioneers. The word went out and the population soon grew to around 5,000 people. In its heyday, Weston was the busiest river port on the Missouri River, second only to St. Louis.

I was on a mission when we recently visited Weston, with a plan to visit Jeff’s Architectural Salvage, 291 Welt Street. Jeff Turney and his wife had a great shop in Leavenworth, Kan., for several years. Recently, they purchased an amazing location in Weston and moved their shop here that sits where the Missouri River once ran (yes, the river moved). Due to numerous floods over a period of time during the second half of the 19th century, the Missouri River scooted to the west about two miles. Jeff’s shop sits in the old river channel and an original grain elevator to which riverboats once docked to take on grain sits on his property. The building still has a working seed separator that is original to the building.

If you know anything about architectural salvage, you are well-aware that it is now all the rage. Not only can pieces be used in re-purposing projects, but you can also find replacement pieces for your old home, such as doors, floor grates, colored bathroom sinks, sash windows, recused hardware of every shape and size, wood columns to place at your front door, old bathroom fixtures and my very favorite—tin ceiling panels and tiles.

AUTHOR’S NOTE: Most shops are closed Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday in Weston, so if you are planning to visit on one of these days, you might want to call ahead to see if the shop you desire to visit will be open. Jeff is very accommodating; call and he will meet you at the shop.

In the market for a vintage Singer sewing machine? I believe we counted 14 of them.

“Rusty gold” can be found inside and out at Jeff’s Architectural Salvage.

The inventory is not limited to architectural items. You will find a wide selection of paintings and prints, furniture, lighting of all shapes sizes and types. If you are in the market for a vintage Singer sewing machine, I believe we counted 14 of them. A variety of furniture is scattered about the shop from 1950’s enamel top tables to antique cupboards.

Antique iron bed headboards are scattered throughout the shop and “rusty gold” can be found inside and out. There is even an old outhouse on the property, but I did not look to see how many people it would accommodate.

My granddaughter had such a great time when we went the week before Christmas we made a second trip out there. She absolutely loved the shop and believe you me, her endorsement speaks volumes. Jeff’s Architectural Salvage has something for everyone. He has enough volume where wholesale pricing is possible

Jeff’s shop is not the only antique shop in town. As a matter of fact, you are hard pressed to find a store or business that does not sell antiques or vintage wares of one type of another. We stopped in the Main Street Galleria, where, in the rear of the store, we found an old fashioned soda shop—one of the few authentic soda fountains in the U.S. The front of the store is filled with vintage wares of all types. It is also home to The Missouri River Fudge Co., with all the wonderful flavors of fudge being made on site. There is a tea room upstairs that is open for lunch and from March to October where they host a mystery dinner theater. According to the shop owner, this is the most haunted shop in all of Weston, as well. Main Street Galleria offers up four of my favorite things wrapped up in a pre-civil war building: milk shakes; fudge; antiques; and paranormal activity.

Read Michelle Staley’s article: “Haunted Antiques: Do Some Items Retain Ghostly Emotions of Original Owners?

Jeff’s Architectural Salvage isn’t just salvage; there’s rooms full of good, old-fashioned antiques and collectibles to be found.

If antiques are not to your liking, Weston has several art galleries and gift shops as well. The Polish Pottery shop, with its myriad of bright colors and whimsical shapes, would be a great place for a bridal registry. Having a kitchen outfitted in these lovely pieces would be akin to eating off of a beautiful piece of art every day.

There are also several boutique clothing stores that I always have to visit when in Weston. Missouri Bluffs is a must-see if you love clothes. They have the most unique and amazing clothing I have ever seen. I have been visiting this shop for about 20 years and they never let me down. Pacific Breeze carries clothing, jewelry, collectibles and antiques from India and Thailand. It is just a real treat to drop in and see the beautiful items designed or made by Elsa, the shop owner.

Of course, if you plan on spending the night or weekend in Weston, you have to stay at the renovated St. George Hotel. There are several B&B’s in town that are lovely, but the St. George is amazing. For lunch, I highly recommend the Pastimes Bar and Restaurant; good food at reasonable prices and you are surrounded by beautiful antique and vintage items.

Shopping is not all the Weston has to offer. You can visit the McCormick Distillery, the brewery or one of the fabulous wineries. Snow skiing at Snow Creek Ski Resort is within a few miles of Weston. Laurel Hill Cemetery on Welt Street is one of the oldest, maintained slave cemeteries in America and has headstones dating back to 1840. There are a few notable people laid to rest there, as well. If you arrive during the tobacco harvest, you can visit the Weston Burley House and see the tobacco drying. Years ago I purchased a “Burley Basket” at the annual antique show. It is still one of my favorite pieces.

As far as I am concerned Weston, Mo., offers something for everyone and is the perfect place for a day or weekend trip. I get over there at least once a year and, now that Jeff has moved to Weston, I will be going back more often. I can’t wait to see the evolution of his shop.

On the “Second Saturday” of each month, the shops are open, live music is plays, local beverages and food samples are available and a good time is sure to be had by all from 4-7 p.m.

Michelle’s purchases on this trip:

• Pair of vintage ceramic fish for my collection;
• Fudge;
• Several pieces of art by a local artist;
• Handcrafted candles from a local candle maker.

Michelle Staley, who insists that collectors are the happiest people, is an antique collector and dealer. Her shop, My Granny’s Attic Antiques, Collectibles and Memorabilia, is in Lenexa, Kansas.

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