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Wendy discovers a time capsule lighting store and buys 37 vintage lights

time-capsule-lighting-store-in-st-louis

As I think I have mentioned before, I started an all new Thread over on the Forum called: All the Best Stuff’s In St. Louis. The idea came from that fact that week after week, month after month, the Retro Renovation Recon Squadrons continue to spot all kinds of amazing stuff, and amazing stories, in St. Louis.

vintage-lighting-store

Consider this story, from weed30 aka Wendy — who discovered a time capsule lighting store in St. Louis and raided it, scoring dozens of wonderful vintage lighting fixtures at great prices. Read it and weep:

1960s-retro-globe-light

Wendy writes:

Pam,

My sister found the sale by accident – she’d gotten lost looking for someplace else, saw the hand written “Sale” sign outside and decided to have a look. 

vintage ceiling light with two shades

She called and said she was at a lighting store that was closing, and, “You might want to come over here – they have some 50’s looking lights.”  I seriously hesitated – it was late afternoon and I had already run errands all day. 

 vintage light fixture

Plus it was a regular lighting store, not a vintage shop – it didn’t make sense that they’d have any really good treasure.  Thankfully, one of the retro decorating gods whispered in my ear, “Get up and go!  You should know by now that you never know what you’ll find.”

1960s vintage lighting

What I walked into was nothing short of astonishing, unbelievable, fabulous, knee weakening, and heart flipping.  

The shop closed about 15 years ago, and they simply turned out the lights, (all of them 🙂 ),  locked the doors, and left everything inside. 

tube light

Although it only closed 15 years ago, there was nothing that appeared newer than the 70’s in there. 

Some of the fixtures had been brought in for repair and never picked up – I found service tickets attached to several.

The rest…..I just don’t think the owner ever threw anything away.

vintage ceiling lights

There was a ton of dust on everything, but I’d worn my junking clothes so I could dig with abandon.  

yellow iron swag light

There was even more in the basement, but it had flooded several times, and sadly some great stuff was ruined.

nutone fan and lights

I still managed to find some mint condition NOS Lightoliers, a NuTone fan and some glass bathroom shades amongst the corrosion.

SOOO much stuff, you would walk past the same spot and see something you’d not noticed before.

vintage malibu lights

There was more I could have gotten, but I thought 35 (?) maybe 40? light fixtures were enough for right now.  Above: Malibu Lights – for landscaping. They have posts and wiring. The blue box is the transformer. I thought these were from the 60’s, but I found the receipt in the box and it was dated 1971. Although dusty, they have never been used.

vintage modern porch light

I spent about 5 hours over two days digging out treasure, and went back once more to try and find a replacement globe for one that broke on the trip home. 

That’s when I found the NOS Hall Mack chrome switch plates!  I am super excited about those – they are in perfect condition and gorgeous.  

vintage white and gold ceiling light

Most of that lighting was from the 50’s – 70’s.

 The owner’s son sold the building, and had a sale.

retro light fixture

Most were new, some were lights that had been brought in for repair and never picked up.

vintage bow tie light shade

There was even more stuff in the basement – NOS outlet & switch covers, lights still in boxes, recessed square ceiling lights, etc. etc. etc.

retro bedroom light colors

Unfortunately a lot of the stuff down there was pitting from moisture. Looked like there was a flood at one time.

vintage lighting in st. louis

This was seriously one of the best times I’ve ever had – an unadvertised sale in a time capsule shop, where I could take my time and not feel like I was missing out on something great in the next room.  

In two days I saw a total of 4 other people there, and they didn’t buy anything. 

It also turns out I know the guy that was selling all of this fabulousness. 

My dad owned a small office building that this guy had been renting in for years. I’d met him a couple times and just didn’t remember. 

Another thing I wanted to share is that the people who bought the building are not tearing it down. 

It looks kind of rough in the photo I sent, but it’s a solid little brick building with killer interior wood doors that have glass windows in them, and the bathroom has vitrolite tile. 

I don’t know what the floor is made out of – terrazo aggregate maybe?

It goes without saying that if you ever come to St. Louis, I’d love to give you the royal retro tour.

I now have all of the much needed vintage fixtures for my house, and find myself trying to figure out places that could use a light so I can keep more of them 🙂
Thanks for your fabulous blog!
Wendy/weed30

Pretty unbelievable score – lots o’ lighting!

Thank you for sharing, weed30. What is there to say, but: All the best stuff’s in St. Louis.

  1. Agnes says:

    I live here in St. Louis, and I have have a Dutch Colonial home built in 1926. When I first bought the house 9 years ago, the front porch lights were horrible. They looked to be from the 70’s, but not “cool” 70’s, just ugly 70’s. My search took me from specialty lighting shops that reproduced period lighting at atrocious prices, to the blandness that is Home Depot/Lowe’s lighting. One day, about 6 or 7 years ago, my mom and I happened to be driving by the very shop that that is pictured here! I’d never really noticed it before since it always looked to be closed (even though the vast array of lighting was clearly visible through the window). We saw a very elderly gentleman in the store and decided to see of we would be allowed to have a look. He was very kind and let us look around for about 30 minutes – we were in HEAVEN! My mom and I love all things vintage and this little shop delivers in a big way! I found the absolute perfect lights for my front porch for only $5.00 each!!! I’m not sure but they look like brass to me. Anyway, I got excited when I saw the picture of the store and thought I’d tell my story.

  2. Amy in Sacramento, CA says:

    How wonderful those fabulous lights finally found a rescuer in you! 🙂 Now they will be used and cherished by someone who appreciates them. I hope the others are donated to a re-store of somekind and not dumped in a landfill.
    Great find — congrats to you AND your foundlings! 😉

  3. matt b. says:

    I would like to purchase the Malibu landscaping lights. I live in O’Fallon, MO. Please contact me if would like to sell them.

    Thank you,

    Matt

  4. Lisa K. near St. Louis says:

    Hi all, I stumbled on your cool site. I have a pair of beautiful authentic Stiffel brass lamps that I want to sell to someone who will love and appreciate them. It would make me happy to know they were in someone’s living room.

    The lamps are tall at 36- 40 inches depending on whether you measure to the bulbs (36) or to the lampshade mount (40) with double pulls. They also have a column of creamy material in the middle of the column (not glossy — more candlestick like). They work great! They were in my parent’s home and are in great condition. If someone could help me figure out how to sell them or where to take them I’d be appreciative. Thanks – Lisa

  5. Pete says:

    Speak about stumbling into vintage store, I stumbled upon this site and just bought an old home 3 months ago… and my first word was “light” as a baby. There we go.

  6. Rick Fahrenbruch says:

    Hi! I know what you mean by saying you felt weak in the knees. That just happened to me, just now reading your post and seeing the entry light that matches mine!!! We bought a cool house built in 1964 with the black metal “mesh” curved panels surrounding a white glass cylinder. THe front of our garage is missing one of the hanging versions of this design. Do you still have it? Would your be willing to part with it?? THanks, Rick

  7. Rick Fahrenbruch says:

    Just an update. Wendy just emailed me about the light. She still has it and is willing to sell it to me!! Amazing. Now just need to find a way to get it safely up here to Lincoln, NE. Anyone in the St. Louis area coming up this way? Rick

  8. richard gil says:

    Can somebody give me All the Best Stuffs in St. Louis email address? So I can email them pictures of vintage light shades I am looking for.
    Thank you for your help.

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