Issue: 2015-07-23 PHOTO: Teresa Vander Meer-Chassé
Sid van der Meer with one of many wartime souvenirs in his Bordertown Garage & Museum in Beaver Creek
Sid van der Meer’s Bordertown Garage & Museum is composed up of numerous themed rooms. One room is themed as an old general store and post office. “I made the General Store because I had all this stuff pertaining to an old store. Those stores had everything, canned goods, tobacco products, lamps, shot gun shells and ammunition.”
As we wander through the large room we see vintage cash registers ready to take payment, garments (such as moccasins and hide jackets) hung throughout the store, as well as a wall covered in cans. “I just wanted a place to display it and a space to look like an old general store from a hundred years ago. I like the pots and pans hanging from the ceiling and there’s a good variety of stuff in here,” Sid says as he points towards the hanging objects.
As we walk around the island table toward the back of the store, Sid moves towards the far right corner. “I even have an old post office in the corner with old mail boxes with letters, really old letters. Some go back to 1898 and some go back to the 1920s.”
Dotted around Sid’s Post Office sit unopened letters and unanswered postcards. “I get them at antique stores. I collect them for the content; if the dates are old they are even better. Usually get letters and postcards from the 1950s on down.”
Sid has collected these letters and postcards from his many travels. Collecting letters that are post marked around the Gold Rush Era and postcards from far reaching areas.
Walking from one corner to the next Sid stops in front of a large wall of cans reaching from the hardwood floor to the ceiling. “I found [the cans] in the bush, in old abandoned cabins. When I first came up here [to the Yukon] there was lots of old caved-in cabins. That’s where you’d find that kind of stuff. Old bottles came from there too.”
Picking a can from the shelf Sid tells us, “All old tobacco cans, found them all over the place. Most of them, now, you can’t find too many because they’re all rusted and the labels wear off.”
Placing it back on the appropriate shelf, he continues, “All the stuff in the store is from everywhere. From all different places that I’ve collected over the last 50 years. “The fi rst business in Beaver Creek was Livesey’s and it started in 1949. The stuff I got from Livesey’s is in another part of the museum, not in the General Store. Most of the stuff I have in the General Store is older than the Livesey store. I have the original sign for Livesey, it was too big to place in the General Store. Ask me about it and I’ll point it out.” “I created the General Store to have a false front. Where it looks like an upstairs but there really is no upstairs. I also created a sagging awning, that’s really actually solid. “I had enough stuff to stock a store.”
Visit Sid’s General Store before he boards up for the winter months. Sid plans to head south in mid-October.