Antique toys featured on home tour
by MARY L. KIRBY
May 12, 2013 | 1236 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Mirror Photo / Mary Laschinger Kirby<br>
JOINING NICOLE ERB at the loom in the front room are her daughter, Briana, standing, and younger son Matthew at the loom. The cabinets are lined with antique toys of all types, a favorite source of pleasure for Mrs. Erb at their home on the Historic Upshur Museum tour Sunday, May 19.
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Antique toys feature prominently at the home of Nicole and David Erb, 1708 Greenway in Gilmer. They will attract the attention of visitors to the Historic Upshur Museum’s Tour of Homes on Sunday, May 19, from 2 to 4 p.m.

Two other homes on the tour are those of Marie Yazell, 719 North Street, and Red and Mary Jones, 1005 Camellia Street.

Tickets cost $10, and be purchased from any Historic Upshur Museum board member or at the museum.

In addition, the museum is offering for $1 a chance at a stay at a bed-and-breakfast in Dallas, the Corinthian House, owned by Sharon Hasten Penfold, a cousin of Jeff Baird’s. The drawing to determine the winner of the overnight stay will be made during the home tour.

As one enters the Erb home, the visitor is struck by the large loom in what normally would be the living room. All the chairs and cabinets around the loom are filled with toys. Opposite the front door is a decorative quilt done by a great aunt who died at age 104.

For the tour, a large doll house rests on a child’s table with matching chairs. In winter, when the Franklin stove is active, the grouping rests elsewhere.

Some of the toys on display belonged to Nicole’s grandfather, Herman Dale. One she especially likes has a clown doing handstands on a gymnastics bar, which is over 100 years old.

Other toys on display, such as the large Steiff bear with a leash and muzzle, are more modern, and ones Nicole Erb has collected herself. The muzzled white bear is but one of four bears in this front room with a bear in a sailor suit, another in a baby bed, and one looking much like Raggedy Ann.

On top of the cabinet is a wire pram for carrying babies (or baby dolls) such as was common a century ago. A complement to the pram is the goat cart in the dining room, which could carry a young child about as a goat pulled the vehicle.

Another prize toy from Herman Dale is a non-electric pinball game, a mere 12 X 24 inches, still functional as a spring-operated toy after 100 years.

While Mr. Dale taught at East Texas State University in Commerce before it joined the Texas A&M system, his parents were from Wisconsin and Ohio, with the paternal grandmother of Norwegian descent.

Nicole and David Erb have lived in Gilmer over 20 years. Her parents are Mike and Brenda Westfall.

Nicole taught school when she first came to Gilmer, and her oldest child, Briana, is a college student who graduated from Gilmer High.

Jonathan Erb, who recently was inducted as an Eagle Scout in Troop 314, attended kindergarten and first grade in Gilmer.

When the youngest Erb, Matthew, was born, Nicole decided to stay at home and homeschool the two boys.

Proceeding to the left of the living room is Jonathan’s room, clearly indicated by the Texas historical map and the Eagle Scout materials on display surrounding a rolltop desk from Pine Bluff, Ark.

The bedroom suite belonged to his grandfather, Herman Dale, with toy soldiers marching on the fireplace mantel.

An antique top hat crowns a display of hats on the end table. Among the hats are a replica of a Trojan helmet with a red roach.

On the dresser, “guarding” the Boy Scout memorabilia are two crossed swords, making the room truly a boy’s delight.

In the opposite corner, Albert Bearstein, a bear version of Albert Einstein, rides a western saddle, with a trusty electric guitar at his feet. A Coca Cola clock belonged to his maternal grandfather, Boonie Westfall of Pine Bluff, Ark. It came from a gas station he operated there.

Leaving Jonathan’s room, to the right of the living room entrance is Briana’s room, a simple study in reds and gold since many of her things are away at college. A 4-poster bed has a bedspread of red with gold flowers and matching curtains.

The letters “B” and “E” for Briana Erb rest above the mirror on her compact dresser.

Matthew’s room next door has a sturdy regular-size bed with a red-and-white check bedspread and complementary red-and-white plaid curtains. A froggy clock by his full desk and cows by his bedside table point out this is the room of the youngest Erb.

At the end of the hall on the left is the master bedroom, a study in red, black and white, with a quilt in those colors the dominant decorative element as it hangs to the left of the entry. Silhouettes of a man and a woman and the initials “D” and “E” emphasize this is the parents’ room.

The cabinet is from the Civil War era and serves as a linen cabinet, while beside the bed is an antique chair serving as a bedside table.

The master bath adjoins.

Opposite the living room is the dining area, where in addition to the goat cart and a corn sheller are a John Deere child-size tractor and a red fire engine found.

Under the window, which looks out on the deck on the west side of the house, is a built-in cabinet where Nicole displays a salt and pepper collection belonging to Mavis Dale. Among the most unusual are a toaster set with light and dark toast (salt and pepper) and an electric mixer dating from the 1950s.

At the top of the window is a section from an old window which was removed when Herman Dale remodeled his house and created a screened- in porch. The window has a snowy scene painted by great aunt Susie Dale, with children playing with a snowman, a favorite thing to behold on a hot summer’s day.

South of the dining area is the family room or den. A cart has been converted into a coffee table in front of the sofa.

Opposite the family room is the kitchen, another favorite spot. On the wall by the serving bar, Nicole has a collection of five crosses, including a souvenir of her trip to Salamanca, Spain, a Christ the King in a white robe on a black background outline mounted on a cross covered in a punch decorated metal.

Another cross, a large turquoise wooden piece, is decorated with a rusty rose, a found art piece she bought in San Antonio.
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