Johnston Historical Society tag sale a success



That was Dan Brown’s common cry Saturday during another special success story for the Johnston Historical Society.

For inside of five hours or so, Brown, who is the JHS’ long-serving vice president, was summoned to various areas outside the Elijah Angell House on Putnam Pike to give his stamp of approval to the sale of individual items during the award-winning non-profit’s tag sale.

Whether it was approving the price of an item like a 1900s manual typewriter that went for what officials called a “real bargain for 25 bucks” or bartering with many Tag Sale goers, Brown again chaired perhaps the most successful event since he initiated the idea three years ago.

“I’ll take $30,” Brown told a woman who was looking over an unusually fine condition, old-fashioned sewing machine. “I’ll even take $25 and throw in that chair for a few extra bucks!”

Soon thereafter, Brown – while adjusting his blue cap that shielded his face from the morning’s bright sun – again chimed: “SOLD!”

By day’s end, Brown repeated that chant countless times, all of which resulted in the JHS raising what officials called “a small yet tidy” sum that the Johnston-based non-profit will put to good use in the form of various projects that benefit history buffs, or even improving the valuable property of the Angell House and adjacent Museum Barn located at 101 Putnam Pike (Route 44).

“I’m amazed with the number of quality items this organization has here today,” a man said while looking over an old-fashioned, wooden child’s school desk and chair that sold for $30. “Look at this; six wicker chairs for just $50?”

Brown, as well as people like JHS President Lou McGowan, greeted Tag Sale goers, thanked them for coming, and for their generosity in purchasing a number of items that ranged from hand painted pictures and even four pairs of western-style leather boots that didn’t last that long Saturday morning.

Those boots, in fact, were placed on top of a child-size bed and were, as JHS Board Member Anthony Ursillo said, “An example of the quality of each and every item that Dan takes in for this sale. The people who are here today know that we have nothing less than old-time quality items at our sales.”

Saturday’s Tag Sale also featured an old-fashioned wood mold and glassware was high on the lists of treasure hunters who walked around the well-maintained grounds of the Angell House. Some marveled as such sale stoppers as those “quarter parts of caskets” that some people purchased and said they’re actually going to use as end tables in their homes.

“The old saying you never now what one will buy at a yard sale was again upheld,” Ursillo said. “Hey, look at those [leather] western boots, they didn’t last that long today.”

The JHS Tag Sale also featured books as well as antique pots and pans, mirrors, baskets and even a singer sewing machine that Brown actually had to hold a bid-off for in order as not to offend any of the Tag Sale goers.

“We’d like to send a big thank you to all the people who donated their treasures that made today a great success,” said Ursillo. “Also, we’d be remiss not to thank Dan (Brown) for his efforts and Bel McGowan, Timothy Kee, Joe Jamroz, Kevin Brown, Walter Thibeault and Shar DiMaio for their valuable help in putting this (sale) together and working it, as well.”

One of the Tag Sale’s highlights, as Ursillo and McGowan wanted it known, was the efforts of Eric Carlson, son of JHS Corresponding Secretary Elise Carlson, who is a junior at Bishop Hendricken high school in Warwick.

He sat at a small table, from start to finish, informing people about the JHS’ monthly meetings, memberships and passing out brochures. Likewise, the younger Carlson sold T-shirts and history books but more importantly was proof of just how strong of a family-oriented organization the Society has become.


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