* This article originally appeared in the Charlotte Observer.
What is it about a yard sale on East Liberty Street? Every summer Saturday, yard-salers are out and about all over historic downtown York, slowly cruising past sales and gauging whether it’s worth parking to look. Long-time pros can case a sale in three minutes flat; sellers’ kids have figured out that free lemonade is an extra draw. There’s always a good turnout. But stick a sign in an East Liberty yard and even more will come. The idea of getting a peek into one of the historic mansions, plus the hope that recently discovered treasures are there, must be too much for people to resist. Earlier this spring, a multi-day estate sale at 206 E. Liberty morphed into a huge social event. Long-time friends greeted each other over Mrs. Wiley’s slipcovered sofas, traded gossip while haggling over the china table, and laughed sharing memories of the house and its family. The nicest thing about the sale was that people took home a memory with their bargains. Janet Ebersold’s sale at 200 E. Liberty on July 14 was just as big a hit. Ebersold and her family have lived in the three-story Carpenter Gothic house for 19 years. She’s decided to sell the house because, “now that the kids are grown, it’s time to move on.” She’s moving to a newly built home in York. “I’ll miss the character of the old houses downtown, and I’ll miss the neighbors. But I’m ready for a change,” she said. Ebersold’s house was built in the 1890s from a kit. The architect, George F. Barber, had it shipped from Tennessee on a train and assembled here. The original plans are framed and hanging in Ebersold’s hallway. There may have been added interest in this sale because Ebersold is an artist and art teacher at Griggs Road Elementary in Clover. Who knew what might be found! At 6:30 a.m., hard-core yardsalers started trickling in. One of the early customers was Rick Davis, who was on his way to work at Hella Lighting. “There’s so much stuff here, I may have to call in and tell them I’ll be late,” he said. Among the items: stained-glass pieces, a sword in a red-velvet scabbard, old cameras, a brass bed, hundreds of children’s and art books, a microscope set, an old-fashioned pink dress edged with lace, a bullhorn, Carolina pottery . . . Sale items were displayed all over the yard, in the dining room, the hallway and one of the parlors. Doug Leatherman, owner of Hattie’s Antiques in York, scooped up an old toy train and tiny, sterling-silver salt shakers. Mike Sexton of York, who collects and sells items online, bought a Dansk creamer, medallion necklace and a pewter cup. Brandon McKinney of Titusville, Fla., stopped by. Brandon, 20, had spent the day before roaming the streets of Rock Hill, taking pictures of historic buildings He was visiting his grandmother, Mary Rowland of York, while taking a break from restoring a house museum in Titusville. On this day, he was looking for antique items to furnish the house, and he dug up a dusty pair of andirons. “These are perfect,” he said.