One of the oldest businesses in Cardington, Haycook Upholstery, spanned two generations. I remember people taking pieces of their furniture to 223 West Main Street for repair and renewal by stripping, varnishing, sewing or whatever it took to make a piece of furniture look new again.

The building, constructed in 1885, was the site of the Farrington Grocery Store from 1906 to 1913. There is no record of occupants after 1913 until 1930 when Charlie Haycook, born in 1896 in Sparta, came to Cardington as an entrepreneur, first making egg cartons for Donovan Grocery, side curtains for touring cars, installing isinglass and placing leather over the seats, working from several downtown business places.

Charlie was a carpenter and a fine wood finisher and this was the direction he went in 1920 when he began to refinish furniture. He purchased furniture from estates and brought it home to refinish.

As his business and family (seven children) flourished, he moved his business to three different sites before settling at 223 West Main St.

It was his daughter-in-law Esther Kreis Haycook, wife of his son, Kenneth whom he mentored in the upholstery business. Esther learned to sew, strip, refinish, and cut lumber under Charlie’s direction. She even brought her two young sons to work.

Esther, who was organist with St. Paul Lutheran Church for 50 years, said, “Everything was a challenge to me. When Charlie would go on a break and go uptown for a cup of coffee or pursue one of his other interests, I would take the piece of furniture he was working on and complete it.”

When he returned, he would give his keen critique and tell her what, if anything, was wrong. He purchased rooms of furniture from estates and it would be stored upstairs. The first and second floors of the building were crammed with furniture, said Esther, whose favorite wood was cherry or walnut.

Charlie worked as a mail carrier, clerked auctions, sold Victrolas, heatrolas operated a gun club and had a booth every year at the Morrow County Fair.

Charlie died April 23, 1944. Esther continued to work in the shop until 1991 when she decided to close it and an auction was held. Among the items sold was an old post office sign attached to the Cardington Post Office when it was located on the corner of the square, selling for $410. Gas lights which were once on horse drawn fire engines sold for $550.

The building is vacant today but I can still see people carrying their furniture in for repair by Haycook’s Upholstery and others carrying the repaired pieces out to a waiting vehicle.

Looking back

60 years ago July, 1959: Robert Akron was appointed as a member of the Morrow County Draft Board. Closed for more than a year, the Cardington Lumber Co. was sold to three Mansfield men, Patton, Peyton and Powell.

50 years ago 1969: Construction began on a one-story brick office building on the southwest corner of the square in Cardington for Thomas Ray, attorney.

40 years ago, 1979: Candy Norman was one of the top winners of the talent show held at the Cardington Street Fair, performing a baton routine to “Fifth of Beethoven.”

By Evelyn Long

Contributing Columnist

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