By Kevin Kelley
By the time many historical sites and homes are recognized for their value and preserved, most of the interior items, such as furniture, have been scattered. So historical organizations must collect period items to display at the sites.
Such was the case with the Carpenter House at the Frostville Museum campus in North Olmsted. Named after John Carpenter, an actual carpenter and early Olmsted settler who died in 1861 at the age of 75, the house was built in 1830 and moved from its original location on Lorain Road in 1987.
Since 2003, the Rockport Questers, the local chapter of an international organization, have stocked the Carpenter House with 19th century items to add authenticity to the experience of visitors.
Founded in 1944 in Pennsylvania, the Questers promote the study of antiques and encourage the preservation and restoration of historical sites.
The latest items the Rockport Questers donated to the Carpenter House were a baker’s oven and an end table. A lantern, lighted by a candle and dating to the 1860s, and a 19th century parasol were also added to the collection.
Several members of the Rockport Questers met last month at the Carpenter House to hear Charlotte Yaroma, the group’s preservation and restoration chairwoman, describe the various items the organization has placed in the historical house over the years. The Olmsted Historical Society owns the items inside the home, Yaroma said, while the Cleveland Metroparks owns the actual structure.
Yaroma is particularly proud of the collection of flow blue china the Questers have assembled for the Carpenter House’s dining room. Popular in the early to mid-19th century, the earthenware was made in England and derived its name from the dark blue glaze that blurred or flowed during the firing manufacturing process.
Set out on the Carpenter House’s dining room table, the flow blue china settings appear to be from a single collection but actually were gathered over time by the Questers from eBay, antique shows and estate sales, Yaroma said.
Flow Blue china was the dinnerware of the common people, Yaroma said.
“Of course it’s a collector’s item today,” she said.
The flow blue china collection and other items the Rockport group obtained were paid for from grant money obtained by the international and state Questers organizations.
The Rockport Questers meet once a month from September through May in members’ houses, said Leah Trainer, a Fairview Park resident who is a longtime Quester. For more information on the Rockport Questers and their meeting schedule, e-mail Trainer at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information about the Questers, visit www.ohioquesters.org.
The Carpenter House is open to the public on most Saturday mornings from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., during special events at Frostville Museum, and by appointment.