For most, the home reflects one’s passions and sense of self. For Chuck Swaney, owner of Found Antiques in Harmar Village, the home reflects his eclectic style and his love of our city’s history. Originally from Marietta, OH, Chuck only recently moved back to the area in 2005 to spend time with family and to become more involved in the community. He purchased the old Tornes Bros. Building in Harmar and opened up shop in 2007, renovating the upstairs as a loft apartment. When I asked Chuck why he chose Harmar Village, he smiled: “Look out the window, I’ve got a brick street and a railroad car parked across from me. I mean, who has that? Very few people.”
The loft is a well-curated manifestation of Swaney’s love affair with the city: “I’ve really re-fallen in love with Marietta since I’ve been home, so my loft is reflective of my Marietta collection.” When I asked Chuck which was his most interesting piece, he pointed me to a new favorite of his, an 1875 Washington County Atlas. This well-worn book is a pictorial history of Marietta and Washington County, with illustrations of grand buildings of a by-gone era. Marietta’s Original City Building is shown with its 2,000-seat auditorium, an excellent example of the money that was invested into this city in that day and age. All of the cities in the county are included, each with a township map denoting all of the most prominent businesses and residents: a perfect time capsule from 1875.
Chuck’s loft is filled with amazing stuff – a collector’s dream. A pump organ that was built in 1907 just a block away. A set of scales from the Union Hardware Company formerly located on Second St. A can of varnish from the Marietta Paint and Color company, probably made in the 1920s. A Botanical catalogue published in 1895, its illustrations cleverly displayed on a glass window that is serving as a room divider above the organ. One of my favorites is a coffee table made from a salvaged wooden door, its glass top protecting a collage of stationary from old local hotels. The Bellvue, the Lafayette, The St. James, The St. Cloud.
Doubling as a personal museum, Chuck’s loft is a peak into our past: A glimpse of the city as it was with its lit arches spanning Putnam Street and a wealth of local manufacturers lining the streets. Lucky for us, we have people like Chuck and a new generation of makers and do-ers who are passionate about this place we call home.