He has owned the shop for three years, after owning another in the 1990s. He stocks it entirely with his own finds and especially loves horse-drawn items, which explains the number of sleighs on hand.
One sleigh is intended for a special purpose: Sponseller is donating it to nearby Hanover, where local officials will use it to transport Santa Claus around the borough at Christmastime.
This year, the Hanover officials will use the sleigh in its current condition and cover it with a blanket. Next year, the sleigh will be restored to its original condition.
“I’m excited to see that people will get some use out of it again,” Sponseller said.
On the other side of town is America’s Past Antiques (114 Lincoln Way East). The vibe is homey, and visitors quickly learn that’s because it’s the first floor of Cary Murphy’s home. Murphy opened the shop in 1988 as a part-time business and has been running it full time for the past few years.
He walks around the shop, explaining that every piece has a unique story. He points out an “orphaned girl” lamp, which gets its name from the base carving of a child who was orphaned during the Civil War. In another room sit two spinning wheels, one for a child and one for an adult. “There were no K-Marts back then,” he joked.
Murphy said he started antiquing as a child because of his love of history, and he has stayed in the business because of the interesting people who stop in his store.
“People have all sorts of interests, and with antiquing, they’re always on the hunt,” he said.