Monday, August 7, 2017

Postcards from the Lake: A Little Museum

When my mom and her sister were younger and spending their summers as teenaged girls and young women at the lake, they often would go to the Chatterbox Cafe. I remember mom telling me of how they'd go into town and just talk, chatting about who knows what. One summer, before it closed, my cousin Mutty and I went there too, talking about our moms, remembering.

So imagine my delight when I discovered a booth from the now long-gone Chatterbox at the Otsego County Historical Museum!

The menus, the jukebox, the neon, the booth itself with its log cabin wall -- all there!

Oh, that's just the best thing to see the first step into a little museum! Not quite as good as seeing the real Chatterbox and savoring a grilled cheese sandwich -- but pretty darned good!

The historical museum is quite small -- basically a storefront with a back room on Main Street, but it has a good deal to offer, covering the various small towns within the county.

Some of it was quite personal to me. For example, I remember hearing stories of how my grandfather would take the train up to the lake each weekend while my grandmother and their kids were summering at the lake. It was fun for me to discover a postcard of the train station where he would get off and walk to the cottage.

Then there were the seats from the movie theatre. We spent a lot of time there as kids!

I love displays that look like rooms with all the bits and pieces of daily life. So I was particularly fond of the kitchen scene.

I loved the stove.


And all the details!

And I can't resist a vintage sewing machine!

The school room was fun, too.

I wonder how many countries on that globe no longer exist or have new names?

Time to move on, but to those finding themselves with a rainy afternoon and wanting to get away from the lake, this one is definitely a good choice.

And then -- beach time!


  1. Hello this historical museum looks very interesting. I like the exhibits, the jutebox is cool and the old booth. I love the old stove and the singer sewing machine. Awesome vintage items. Happy Monday, enjoy your day and new week!

  2. What a fantastic place you visited - it's like walking into a history book. Hugs, Valerie

  3. The museum looks ike an enjoyable visit.
    Loved the kitchen . . . the table and chairs remind me of one of my early homes.
    Liked the authentic booth, log cabin wall, and memorabilia . . .
    Jukebox brought many a memory back of my HS hangout, the El Rancho . . .
    Oh my, the stories.
    I find memory trips, pictures, sharing so much fun!
    Fun Postcard Post Jeanie!

  4. What a great little museum! I love that so much of it meant something to you!

  5. This reminds me of our Historical Society, only smaller. But yours is SO personal to you. I could tell from both the photos and the way you reminisced over the various displays. So glad to see all these things that have so much meaning to your younger life.

  6. What a lovely tour of the former restaurant. It is just my kind of place. I hope you are enjoying the last days of summer. The smoke filled skies remain over me but the weatherperson is cautiously optimistic about change this weekend. Hugs. xx

  7. What a charming place. I love the jukebox. And that school room is cool with the teacher welcoming you. Oh, I sure smiled when I saw the Singer Sewing Machine, as my mom used to make a lot of my clothes growing up. She was such a good seamstress. I really like that stove too and all the kitchen items. A step back into time, Jeanie. : )


  8. Oh what a delightful trip down memory lane. I love being able to see old things that a person saw or did. Preserving the past is wonderful. So glad that you are enjoying your time at the Lake.

    Have a great rest of the week.


  9. Loved this. What a neat museum. It's nice when some of the "old" is kept for the older generation to remember and the younger generation to see how it was.

  10. Museums are fun and fascinating anyway, but how wonderful that you had the added enjoyment of all those memories connected to some of it!

  11. I love the idea of a museum filled with local artifacts from history people still remember.

  12. What a wonderful discovery for you find so much that shares your family's history at the museum. I bet you enjoyed all those memories on that rainy day! Hope you are enjoying your lake time.........

  13. Whoever put that museum together had a brilliant idea. I think every town should do that because it is great for people who remember the places and also a nci way to show those who have no memories what it was like. I think little dips into the past like that are fun, informative and also really needed as the world changes so quickly. Glad you shared this Jeanie. I wish we had more things like that around here. Hugs-Erika

  14. WOW! To hold the past in your hands, this menu, these places that evoke thought and memories, Jeanie! OH MY, I think I need to stroll through my memory lane before I go back to school so I can continue a small prose poem that I started....

    Enjoy the journey.

  15. What fun, to find a place with so many vignettes that remind you of your childhood! Hooray for people who take the trouble to find, preserve, and display these objects. Thank you for sharing the museum with us.

  16. What a charming time capsule! So great that is has been preserved for visitors.

  17. Way cool, Jeanie. I love your postcards from the lake.

  18. Wonderful post, Jeanie! I'm so glad so many of the museum's artifacts had a very personal meaning and connection for you! And I love that you have such a long history with the lakeside community and lake house you still enjoy so much!

  19. What a interesting looking place. Hope you had fun and enjoyed.

  20. Wasn't "Chatterbox Cafe" the name of the restaurant in Lake Wobegon? It sure seems like it was -- I'm too lazy tonight to look it up. Whether the name was the same, it surely had the same spirit as this one that's been preserved. I loved seeing that old juke box. When I was in junior high, we could go to the YMCA for lunch on Fridays, and feed quarters into the juke box and dance. Good times!

  21. What a wonderful place and it holds so many memories for you. It must have been fun to visit and remember the days back then.
    xo Julia

  22. What a fun museum. I love museums that have reproduced rooms. They really make the visitor feel like they are stepping back in time. Oh summer time, wishing it wasn't so busy.

  23. Oh my, just my kind of place to visit. Thanks for sharing the photos, it's almost as good as being there. The stove is quite charming, although we probably would not enjoy cooking on it all the time!

  24. I am very impressed that they were able to save a piece of the restaurant. I can't imagine finding pieces of mine like that. Whenever I go back to my town everything is always so different. Thank goodness for the museum Jeanie. I noticed this was in New York, is that where you live?

  25. That is really cool that they have preserved the history of the area that you have so many fond memories of. How cool to see the booth of the diner. I love the old kitchen set up. We have a museum in St. Paul that has a small old home within it. It's really cool to see how people lived in the past (the rooms were SO TINY!

  26. The Chatterbox is such a cute name. I love little museums like that. When they're done well it doesn't seem to matter that the space is limited. And I agree with you about the displays that are set up like rooms. They're so much fun to see. Glad you're enjoying your time at the lake.

  27. Wow, so nostalgic! I remember many of these things. I can feel you excitement and understand the interest you had in these places.
    My great grandmother had a wood burning stove. Wish we had pictures but we don't and it no longer exists.
    You are right about the globes. Many changes I'm sure. I gave my son his from 30 years ago. I hope he saves it. Changes from it also and it isn't as old as the one you have pictured.
    The old school desks are neat too. I sat in some of those.
    Oh, and the movie seats I remember too. We have a new theatre in town and the seats are like huge recliners! I was amazed.
    Have a great week, Jeanie.

  28. Jeanie, I love receiving your post cards from the lake. What a wonderful step back in time museum. I can imagine your surprise to see the Chatterbox Cafe! The generations of your family that have enjoyed the lake is so special! Have a wonderful weekend!


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