Kitchen Island of Salvaged Historic Material – a New Item Built of Old

Three unrelated historic salvage projects contributed to the construction of a feature piece of furniture for the Historic Shupe House.  We recently finished and installed a new kitchen island and are very pleased with the outcome.


The legs were cut from a single hand-hewn structural beam collected from a house on Beaver Court here in Amherst.  Thanks to a generous donation by Ed Fridenstine, we were able to acquire a few nicely preserved hand-hewn beams.  Renovations by Mr. Fridenstine led to the opportunity for us to salvage some of these structural items.  Interestingly, several 19th century shoes were also found in this Beaver Court residence, as a Mr. Uthe once operated a cobbler shop in a portion of this house.  The bead board that comprises the sides was salvaged from Amherst’s first town hall and union school building. Originally a two-story wood frame house built c. 1830, the building was donated for use as a town hall and lecture room by early Amherst settler and prominent citizen, Justice of the Peace Josiah Harris.  The structure, after having multiple uses over the years, had been moved once and suffered two large fires during its history, was demolished in 2015 to make room for the new Brew Kettle restaurant next to the Amherst Theatre.  We were able to retain the original green/blue paint color and unique painted numbers on the boards, once we reassembled them on the cabinet.  The two drawers were salvaged from the historic Wadsworth House in Wellington.  D. L. Wadsworth built the house c. 1866, and after having been moved with intentions to save it, the house was demolished in 2012.  We repainted the drawer fronts white and stripped most of the paint off of the unique metal drawer pulls, leaving some green paint as accents.  The white drawers and hardware accent the other features of the island quite nicely.  The only “new” and purchased item incorporated into the island is the beautiful green, white, and rust-colored granite top we ordered.

From planning stages to the finished item, the project took just a few months.   We are very pleased to have been able to not only salvage these important items but to create a new piece of history with materials of such historic significance.  Old history is now creating a brand new item.  What a neat historically-oriented addition to the Homestead!  February 2016.