Refurnished Thoughts

Discover Vintage America - FEBRUARY 2018

Picturing history

We recently attended the annual awards banquet of the Jackson County Historical Society in Kansas City and would like to add our congratulations to outgoing Executive Director Steve Noll, who administered the organization for the last 13 plus years.


The JCHS has a long history itself and works to find common ground among the various historic sites, museums and attractions that can be said to form the historic tourism foundation in the metro area. Noll has worked to reach out to any and all groups to bring them into a more cohesive alliance.

Noll was instrumental in acquiring a massive collection of large frame photographic negatives and prints, known as "The Wilborn Collection," after photographer Chris Wilborn, who accumulated the thousands of images of the Kansas City region throughout the 20th Century. See images at It's one of the most significant photo collections assembled in Kansas City.

"We are in the process of organizing and digitizing the massive collection to make it available to the public," Noll said. "We hope to scan and digitize the most important and historically significant images as our project supporting Missouri's bicentennial in 2021." 

Sounds like a good retirement job!

No doubt antique purists are shaking their heads on our choice of cover story this month. "Star Wars? Really?" might be the comment. I realize that the whole Star Wars milieu may seem a little "new" for a publication that uses the word "Vintage" in our name, but the force of the Star Wars phenomenon has been with us for more than 40 years now. And collectors have been snapping up the resulting merchandise ever since.

The first movie 'Star Wars', now re-titled as 'A New Hope' debuted in 1977 and it was the first "out of town date" for me and the lady who became my wife. So for us, Star Wars has sort of punctuated our adult lives. And, thinking back on that, I'm feeling pretty vintage again.

Those Star Wars movies changed the way kids relate to films, and consequently how adults did too. They were the first films released that were accompanied by licensed products in stores for kids to bring home. That just created a whole new genre for collectors, of whom Larry Pillman of Spring Hill, KS is a leading example.

Don't worry we haven't forsaken "real" antiques. They will be back on our cover before you know it.


In the January issue in the Mid-America News section, the owner of Vintage Sisters in Burlington, KS was identified incorrectly. She is Janet Frye. We apologize for the error.

Leigh Elmore can be contacted at
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