If there’s one thing Old Towne Orange is known for, it’s antiques. There are so many antique stores scattered around the Old Towne Plaza Square (which is actually a circle, and known locally just as the Orange Circle) that the neighborhood itself has become rather synonymous with antiques, even though it also contains a Masonic Temple, a Christian Science reading room, a beauty school and a few other unlikely establishments.
From cutesy antique boutiques focusing on one era to two-story antique malls, a sturdy shopper could spend hours browsing the stores in the circle. As long as you don’t have a very specific item in mind, you can find most anything you want in The Circle, provided it’s old, eclectic and pre-owned.
Because of the wide variety of STUFF in each shop and the constant renewing of the old, it’s hard to say that any store is necessarily better than another. It’s best just to spend a day browsing – the malls are a good place to start, though most tend to lack some of the character of the individual stores. There are a few places that warrant a visit just for the experience. The following stores all specialize in one type of antiquing and each has its own personality – the sort of thing that makes browsing through old stuff special.
114 North Glassell
Wednesday – Sunday, 11 am – 5 pm
The vast collection of fancy furniture under vaulted ceilings makes this the second-most likely store to call up feelings of “look don’t touch!” but if you’re going to be in the area, but all means, look! The pieces are in excellent shape (many look restored or even new) and range from neo-classical to craftsman in style. In a world covered in metal and plastic it’s refreshing to see beauty manifested so intricately in and wood and glass. Vintage books are scattered quite naturally on tables and in bookshelves as well, waiting to be discovered.
Tony’s Architectural Salvage
123 North Olive
Tuesday – Saturday, 8:30-5 pm, Sunday 10 am – 5 pm
If you walk all the way back through George II, you’ll find yourself in a similarly impressive array of wood, glass and sculpture, except instead of finished pieces, Tony has all the spare parts. Through meandering corridors both inside and out, you’ll find rows and rows of doorknobs, latches and windows. There are amazing old mansion doors leaning up against the walls, neon gas station signs above in the rafters, as well as religious statues, crucifixes and old paintings and stage props. It’s a sight to behold.
Mr. C’s Rare Records
148 N Glassell St.
This is the number one most likely store to call up feelings of “look don’t touch!” The store is basically a small pink room, usually staffed by Mr. C himself and chock-full of old rock and roll records. Not the kind you find in thrift stores, either. We’re talking original pressings of Sergeant Pepper, just to offer an easy example. There are records worth hundreds of dollars and Mr. C knows all of them. It’s not just old music, it’s music history.
140 South Glassell
At first glance it seems that this store specializes in chrome. With a theme of ’50s Americana, there’s plenty of sleek, shimmery lines to marvel over, from juke boxes, to old gas station pumps, to an entire wall full of gumball machines. There are plenty of stores with homey, folksy and sometimes quite shabby antiques for sale. This isn’t one of them. Everything is glossy, metallic in tip-top, museum-quality shape and it shows on the price tags. Smaller items like license plates and light switch covers are a bit more reasonable, however.
The Orange Circle is located at the intersection between Chapman Ave. and Glassell St