Found in boxes never opened, 1948 Youngstown Kitchens cabinets go home to Youngstown, Ohio

“…Ironically, it would be loaded on to a rail car and shipped back by rail to Ohio. Probably the same way it was shipped from Ohio to California 70 years ago.” — Ben Casado

NOS Youngstown Kitchen When we broke the story last fall that a complete set of New Old Stock 1948 Youngstown Kitchens cabinets — plus Cusheen countertops — plus GE Airliner range — had been found in storage in California, many of us agreed it should end up in a museum. And guess what: It did! A reader of the blog started a campaign to buy it… the local TV news picked up the story… and overnight, donors came forward. Now: These cabinets are back home in their native land, Youngstown, Ohio, on display at the Tyler Mahoning Valley History Center

A shout out to all the folks who made this chain-of-love story possible, in the order in which the saga played out:

  • Ben Casado, who found the cabinets and contacted Pam about them….
  • Pam is taking a bow. She got excited, jumped on the story and went back and forth with Ben — 93 threads in 43 emails! plus a phone call or two — and then published the story… Pam says that I also get a high-five, because I’m the one who processes all the photos, including wading through the selected emails for text, and then sets up the stories…
  • Christian Rinehart, a reader who saw the story and started a Go Fund Me campaign to bring them back home to their birthplace, the Warren, Ohio, area….
  • TV station WFMJ, which responded when Christian pitched the story and ran a feature on the evening news…
  • Michael and Jeanette Garvey, who quickly responded to the request for funding to bring these cabinets back to Ohio. More on their donation below….
  • H. William Lawson, Executive Director of The Mahoning Valley Historical Society, also became involved. They would provide a new home for the cabinets…
  • Once the deal was sealed, Ben built special crates to hold the cabinets [so he gets double props in this list!]…
  • Helping further — coordinating and helping toward the cost of shipping to help the museum out: The management and staff of B. J. Alan Company, a nationwide wholesaler and retailer of fireworks owned and operated in the Mahoning Valley, and Historical Society Board member Scott Zoldan. B. J. Alan happens to have a distribution center close to Ben’s.
  • And, we’ll bet there were a good number of staff and volunteers who helped out, too!

So that’s how history gets saved! What a happy ending story, don’t you think!

NOS Youngstown steel kitchen cabinets 1950sge-airliner-stoveNOS Youngstown steel kitchen cabinets 1950s1948 Youngstown Kitchens cabinets — still in their boxes — make their way to their hometown museum

After our story broke, Ben (the seller) received many offers to purchase the set. He was… deluged, actually. Ultimately, he decided to sell this amazing piece of history to The Mahoning Valley Historical Society. 

Mega thanks to Ben for both rescuing this set and finding a new home where it will be cherished, taken care of and on display for everyone to see!

NOS Youngstown steel kitchen cabinets 1950sOnce the set arrived in Youngstown and was unpacked and set up, we heard from H. William Lawson, Executive Director of The Mahoning Valley Historical Societywho wrote:

Hello again Pam,

It’s been a while since we last chatted, but I wanted to inform you that the Mahoning Valley Historical Society (MVHS) is now in possession of the nearly new 1948 Youngstown Kitchen set that Ben was offering last year, and was featured on your website!

Here is a press release with more details:

Vintage Youngstown Kitchen Steel Cabinet Set Returns to the Valley

A collection of pristine Youngstown Kitchen cabinets was recently acquired by the Mahoning Valley Historical Society, and are now on exhibit at the Tyler Mahoning Valley History Center.

NOS Youngstown Kitchen

Last fall, through the power of social media, the Mahoning Valley Historical Society in Youngstown, Ohio, received a donation to purchase a set of mostly unused, new old stock Youngstown Kitchen porcelain steel cabinets and countertops. The cabinets were ordered in 1948 for a kitchen installation that was never completed, and were sitting, still in their shipping boxes, in a home in California.  After a blog post on the site www.retrorenovation-com-staging.enwf9w61-liquidwebsites.com, the seller was bombarded with offers, and was thrilled when the Historical Society showed an interest.

The Historical Society received the generous gift from Michael and Jeanette Garvey, owners of M-7 Technologies in Youngstown.  They made the donation in memory of the late George E. Whitlock, who was President of Mullins Manufacturing Corporation of Warren and Salem, Ohio, from 1937-1956, which made the Youngstown Kitchen brand of porcelain steel cabinets.  Mullins merged with the American Radiator and Standard Sanitary Corporation in 1956, and the Youngstown Kitchen line became a division of American-Standard.  The Garvey family were Mr. Whitlock’s next-door neighbors in Warren when Michael Garvey was growing up.

NOS Youngstown Kitchen

Ben Casado, the seller in Galt, California, built custom crates for all of the components in the kitchen cabinet set.  The crates arrived in Warren in late-December, through coordination of shipping by the management and staff of B. J. Alan Company, a nationwide wholesaler and retailer of fireworks owned and operated in the Mahoning Valley, and Historical Society Board member Scott Zoldan. B. J. Alan happens to have a distribution center in Sacramento, CA, which is near to Mr. Casado’s residence.

NOS Youngstown Kitchen NOS Youngstown Kitchen

The crates arrived at the Tyler History Center on Tuesday, January 17, 2016, and the Youngstown Kitchen components and GE Airliner electric range were carefully unpacked and inspected.  The cabinets were installed in a temporary exhibit in the first floor Exhibit Gallery at the Tyler History Center  that opened Saturday, January 30.  This preview exhibit runs through April 30, 2016. The Tyler History Center, located at 325 West Federal Street in downtown Youngstown, is open to the public Tuesday-Sunday from Noon to 4:00 p.m.  Admission is $4 for adults, $3 for seniors (over 60) and college students, and $2 for children.  For more information, visit www.mahoninghistory.org or call 330-743-2589.

We asked Bill Lawson what the reaction in the community has been, and he replied:

Reaction from our community has been very positive…lots of visitors have been drawn to the Tyler History Center specifically to see the Youngstown Kitchen set.  In the future, we want to work with other local historical agencies, libraries, museums, etc., in the Youngstown-Warren area on traveling installations so that more people have an opportunity to see this nearly perfectly preserved kitchen set.

So great to hear!

Shipping: A return trip on the same rail line?

Pam also reached to Ben — who is a friend by now — to ask how he felt now that the cabinets had found a new home. He replied right back:

Hi Pam!

I think the last time we spoke, I was in the process of closing the deal with Mahoning Valley Historical Society. I was pleased to announce to you and to all others concerned that this kitchen set was bound for Ohio its place of origin. Little did I know: The work was about to begin!

Working with Bill Lawson from Mahoning Valley Historical Society was a real pleasure, and things were moving real smooth. I think we both felt that this transition was going to be easy. Well, it’s so happens that shipping an entire kitchen set, a very fragile 1948 kitchen, across United States wasn’t going to be that easy for us. Our first thought was using a moving van (Mayflower etc.), but that idea fell through… Our next idea was maybe to use a common carrier, the problem with that was the expense $$$.

So, Bill Lawson went to work on the transportation situation, while I stayed busy packing and palletizing making ready for the journey.

To make a long story even shorter! Two months gone by, everything is palletized and under a tarp and ready to hit the road. I finally get the call from Bill, his first words were, “Good News!” We found somebody to help us get the kitchen set back to Ohio. This was a real relief for me — the rains had just started to fall in Northern California, and I was really concerned with the threat of an El Niño winter (lots of moisture on a fragile old kitchen set covered with tarps)…

I said goodbye to all that old/new kitchen stuff as it was riding away on the back of a semi flatbed truck. From what I understand, from my property it would be delivered to a truck terminal, from the truck terminal it would be moved to a railroad yard. And ironically, it would be loaded on to a rail car and shipped back by rail to Ohio. Probably the same way it was shipped from Ohio to California 70 years ago.


It makes us SO HAPPY that these cabinets found a new home — one where they can be seen and appreciated by many for years and years to come.

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CategoriesSteel kitchens
  1. Heidi E. says:

    Glad it worked out so well. :). Now why, oh , why can they not make faux marble countertops that look as cool as those ones today?

  2. So glad to see that these kitchen cabinets were saved. My Dad worked for Youngstown Kitchens when I was a kid, We had them in our own kitchen. We even had a sink and dishwasher combo. I had a toy size version of the dishwasher. We also had a roll up cabinet that was over the stove. I remember that this company every year would have a family picnic outing at Idora Amusement Park there in Youngstown. All the rides were free for the whole day. They even supplied food and drink for the picnic. This company seemed to be very family oriented. Hopefully some day I will get back to Warren and get to see this display.

  3. Mary Elizabeth says:

    I am amazed and delighted, and then delighted and amazed all over again. I remember the discussion of the cabinets and am happy to hear they are in their “forever retro home” instead of going “over the retro rainbow bridge.”

  4. Gus Luttrell says:

    Woo-hoo! I, like everyone else probably, was obsessing over this story since you published it last year. Rooting for this masterpiece to end up in a museum all along. Kudos to all involved. Thanks for the denouement, Pam. This will be the best story I read this week. (And I look forward to a Youngstown, OH adventure in the future!)

  5. katie says:

    I was so excited to see the update! I live about 45 minutes from the there so I am going to try to get out and see them. I am a kitchen designer so I have a double interest in seeing them!

  6. Rick G says:

    This is way beyond kool !!! what fantastic find & story – thanks so much Pam & everyone involved – your the best of the best.

  7. Richard Douglass says:

    Such a great story with a totally happy ending. Kudos to Pam for getting this rolling.

    Some readers with a sharp eye might recognize the vintage Waring Beehive blender sitting on the counter… they still work just fine after all these years.

  8. Sara in Youngstown says:

    Check out the second picture of the cabinets being unpacked at the Tyler History Center–behind the sink top is a car from the Wildcat, which you may remember was the super-popular roller coaster at Idora.
    Definitely come back and visit the museum!

  9. Jennie says:

    That’s great! Through the power of social media a museum can use 21st century funding tools to stay relevant.

  10. Judy F says:

    Pam, I am sooo puzzled by the stove’s “burner” in the back with the hole in it. What was that used for and how did it work? I love these old appliances with the odd pieces on them!

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