We rented an
1,800 sq. ft. store front in a new small shopping center at 6115
South Cass in Westmont about 10 minutes drive from Hinsdale.
Scot and I began to buy fixtures, equipment, and building supplies.
Somewhere along the line we met Ed Sarnaki, a colorful guy who had accumulated
several acres of the oddest assortment of wonderful old
architectural artifacts. It was a gold mine for us from which we
gleaned oak whisky barrels, hanging scales, beautifully weathered
barn siding, real butcher block counter, a country school black
board, several massive barn beams, and lots and lots of other stuff
we could use to build a beautiful home for Moss Hill.
want ads we found someone selling an original oak walk in cooler
from an old tavern and bought it sight unseen. It had six glass
doors on the front with badly rusted heavy hinges and door clasps.
My childhood friend Bill Wallin, excited to play a part in the Moss
Hill vision knew of a shop that restored chrome plating for vintage
automobiles and he took all the hinges, handles, and clasps there
where they were beautifully restored to shiny new condition. The
walls, doors, and compressor of that old cooler sat in a rented
truck in my driveway for two weeks before we could install it in the
My dad taught me
how to use wood working tools at an early age and I could have
probably built the interior of the store alone, but without Scot,
who had recently seriously taken up wood working, Moss Hill would
have never looked as beautiful as it turned out. We had great fun
working long into the night building that store as Scot’s table saw
buzzed spreading sawdust everywhere.
bowling alley’s were transformed into 20’ long countertops. Barn
beams hung from steel rafters above and were secured to the wall.
Retired 2 X 10 concrete covered cement form boards were wire brushed
cleaned and oiled back to life to become beautiful display cases.
We rented a floor sander to refinish old barn beams bolting them
together 4’ wide placing them on top of old oak barrels to make
display counters. The old schoolhouse 4’ x 8’ oak framed blackboard
was mounted behind the check out station.
We build an
enclosed room for grinding fresh flour with an old farmhouse Dutch
door and window so people could see it in operation. Inside we
installed two stone grinding mills with electric motors on spring
mounted supports with ventilation.
Behind the long
bowling alley counter we placed 24 wooden barrels which held all
sorts of nuts, seeds, grains, and beans. An antique curved glass
display case sat upon the counter in which we displayed freshly
baked hand made breads. The checkout counter was the old 8’ by 4’,
4” thick maple butcher block upon which sat one of those old
mechanical cash registers.
Drawings by Becky Schmidt
Go to Chapter