Searching for unique items? Chesterton might have the ticket
By Janna Odenthal Post-Tribune correspondent June 22, 2012 3:00PM
The exterior is shown of one of the four former rail cars being used for the Stop 301 Shoppes in Chesterton, Ind. | Andy Lavalley~Sun-Times Media
If you go
What: Stop 301 Shoppes
Where: 301 Grant St., Chesterton
Hours: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday;
9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday
Contact: Jennifer Fedor, 309-8011, also on Facebook
Updated: July 26, 2012 6:07AM
A red knapsack tied to a long twig rests on the back of a small vintage traveling trunk. Inside the suitcase, decorative felt pins, handmade hair décor and other items are displayed. This “Hobo Girl” booth is one of many in Stop 301 Shoppes, located within four 1920s Pullman railroad cars in Chesterton.
Jennifer Fedor began moving items into the spacious refurbished locomotive earlier this year.
“I’ve always admired this building, the uniqueness, and saw that it’s been vacant off and on for so long,” said Fedor. “I thought the cars were a unique way to display unique items.”
Antique and modern items, collectibles and other unique goods fill the space within the railcars. In one car, an 1899 Singer sewing machine, antique radio and box of player-piano rolls sit adjacent to a DVD player. Nearby, an antique National-brand brass cash register is displayed near a modern beauty salon dryer and pedicure chair.
Vivian Ploense of Hammond recently purchased an antique lamp for her mother and a doll-sized wicker chair set for herself. Her husband, Carl, perused the World War II and Marine Corps memorabilia.
“This is really nicely laid out. It’s very nice, very attractive. (Fedor) has some nice looking, quality stuff. Her stuff is clean and not overpriced,” said Ploense. “Good use of four railcars.”
Rare nautical equipment, firehoses and western saddles contrast with the hand-made quilts, candles and lace doilies. Other unusual artifacts available include a bobcat, boat-rowing squirrel and other mounted animals, a Victrola, mandolin and other musical instruments.
Treasures from various eras include metal lunch boxes, jewelry, LP records and 8-track tapes. Toys range from wooden sleds, porcelain dolls and tea sets to Star Wars Monopoly, Wii games, scooters, and more.
Valerie Martinez of Chesterton visited Stop 301 Shoppes on her way to the European Market. She purchased a toy for her son, Leo, 2, and a paint set for her daughter, Bianca, 5.
“This is our first time here since (the railcars) have been reopened,” said Martinez. “It’s interesting to look at from the outside; it’s an interesting building. There’s also now a lot of interesting stuff to look at in the inside. It’s the type of place you could come in to find something for that little spot in your house.”
Mary Lou Marshall of Chesterton bought a plastic truck for her grandson.
“There’s a lot of stuff in here that I remember, and there’s stuff in here that will fill a little niche in your house,” said Marshall. “I’ll definitely stop back in to see what else they have in the future.”