The Tin & Pewter Shop began its life some hundred years ago.Â The building originally stood on a farm on S. Main St., south of Ritman, Wayne Co. I happened to drive by the “abandoned” farm in the early spring of 2009, and spotted the very interesting looking building. I talked to the few remaining neighbors and learned that the Morton Salt Company had been buying many of theÂ local farms so they could mine for the areasÂ abundantÂ underground salt. When I contacted the head of operationsÂ at the Ritman headquartersÂ of Morton Salt, the company very kindly donated the building to the museum.Â
Originally the building stood next to the farm’s main house. It was built as a bunkhouse/sleeping quarters for hired summer farm help. The second floor was/is unfinished and may have been used for storage or for sleeping on cooler summer nights. The first floor was paneled and painted light grey, with a darker grey chair rail. There is also a closet, with a very early door and latch, under the stairs. The help staying in the building shared meals in the main house’s summer kitchen.
When tractors came into use, summer help was no longer needed and the building was moved into the south field. The owners tore off the front wall and replaced it with a garage door. And they replaced the wood floor with cement. The building was then used as a garden tool/tractor storage shed for the many surrounding community gardens that the farmÂ rented out to the “city folks” of Ritman.
With the help of several friends, most notably Harvey Freeman Silver,Â I removed the roof and second floor of the building and cut the walls into 10′ sections. We then loaded the pieces onto a thirty foot trailor owned by Ward Cox. We got the building safely home after a 17 mile drive. The building was reassembled and restored, using flooring and siding from several condemned victorian houses in Medina, several months later. It now serves as the museum’s tin and pewter shop.