The Story of a 100+ Year Old China Cabinet

I’m sharing the story of my mom’s oak china cabinet that is original to her 1912 home.

Mama’s home and this cabinet have stayed in our family through the years. In 2009 my mom started restoring her home and moved there in 2010. When she moved, this cabinet was returned to its original home.

Today I’m sharing the story of this cabinet and Mama’s home.

100+ year old oak china cabinet filled with green depression glass and 1968 china

I’m sharing Mama’s china cabinet story for this month’s Lifestyle of Love Blog Hop hosted by Cindy of County Road 407. This is an every other month themed series where we share our love of antiques and vintage.

Graphic for blog hop focusing on explaining how to use vintage items for home decor.

The theme this month is china cabinets and at the end of my post, you’ll find links to the china cabinets that my blogging friends are sharing. I’m really looking forward to reading what everyone shares!

If you arrived from Our Southern Home, welcome! Christy and I have been blogging friends for many years and I adore her classic southern style.

Mama’s Antique Oak China Cabinet

We’ll start with pictures of Mama’s oak china cabinet and then I’ll go into the history of this piece.

I want to thank my sweet Mama for helping me out with this post. She sent pictures and information for me to share with you today.

Welcome to Mama’s dining room furnished with inherited family treasures. See the footed glass bowl on Mama’s dining room table? My grandmother used it to make a centerpiece for the reception hall for my parents’ 1968 wedding.

The dining room table and chairs originally belonged to my paternal grandmother. My grandmother did the needlepoint on all of the chairs.

1912 Dining Room furnished with Antiques

This is the china cabinet that is original to the home. Mama doesn’t know if it was purchased when the home was new or if it was a piece that my great-great-aunt and uncle had when they built the home.

Antique oak china cabinet filled with green depression glass, 1968 china and crystal, and silver

When I visited Mama at Easter, this china cabinet was filled with my paternal grandmother’s china. Mama loves to redecorate and since Easter, she’s switched out the display to her 1968 wedding china (Franciscan Antique Green) and crystal, green depression glass, and silver.

Antique oak china cabinet filled with green depression glass, 1968 china and crystal, and silver

I love visiting my Mama because her home is choked full of antiques and almost all of them are inherited pieces.

The sconces over the mantel belonged to my paternal grandmother. Mama bought the chandelier in an antique shop when she was restoring her home. When I say she was restoring her home, I mean she did the work herself along with help from my cousin’s husband and other family members.

1912 Dining Room decorated with Antiques

The buffet was also inherited from my paternal grandmother. The silver cups on the buffet are engraved baby cups that belonged to me, my brother, and my dad. The silver spoons are baby spoons used to feed the three of us as babies. The Jefferson cups are awards from Mama’s teaching career.

I gave the mirror over the buffet to Mama as a gift. It was found in an antique shop in Roanoke, VA.

1912 dining room furnished with inherited antiques.

To the right of the buffet you can see some of my paternal grandmother’s national award winning Garden Club pressed flower projects. The sewing machine belonged to a family member. Usually Mama has a music cabinet in this spot but it appears she has moved it elsewhere.

Antique Buffet in a 1912 Dining Room

This corner hutch was inherited along with the table, chairs, and buffet. The plates also were inherited from my paternal grandmother.

Antique Corner Hutch in a 1912 dining room decorated with inherited antiques.

Mama filled this corner hutch with her Spode Blue Italian china and glassware.

Antique corner cabinet decorated with blue and white china and glassware

The History Behind the Oak China Cabinet

The story of the china cabinet starts with Jim and Sallie Scanlon building their house on Walnut Avenue in Waynesboro, VA in 1912.

Sallie Scanlon was my maternal grandmother’s aunt.

Couple standing on the porch of their newly build 1912 home in Waynesboro, VA on Walnut Avenue

Before moving to Waynesboro, Jim and Sallie lived in the Covesville area of Albemarle County, near the Nelson County line. Nelson County is where I grew up and where many of my family members on my mom’s side live.

Jim traveled a lot for work and Mama was told that he admired New Orleans style homes and he emulated that design when he built the house.

Mama recently framed the house’s building permit along with pictures of the house being constructed.

Building pictures and permit from 1912 Walnut Avenue, Waynesboro, VA

Mama’s house is now white with black shutters but originally it was painted red. Go to this post to see what the home looked like when it became Mama’s in 2009.

Newly constructed 1912 home on Walnut Avenue in Waynesboro, VA

Sadly, Sallie contracted Typhoid Fever in 1916 and died at the age of 39. Typhoid fever also killed her sister, my maternal great-grandmother Nellie, and my grandmother’s brother, Nelson. My grandmother was sent to live with another sister, Lillian, who raised her and was a much loved grandmother to my mom and her three sisters. Granny’s dad sadly was killed leaving Granny and her sisters all alone at a very young age. Sisters Frances and Nannie were raised by another sister, Emma.

Jim continued to live on Walnut Avenue until his children, Creed and Maggie Scanlon, graduated from Waynesboro High School. You can see their diplomas hanging in my mother’s stairwell here.

Eventually, Jim, Creed and Maggie moved to Pittsburgh and the house was rented until my grandmother inherited it from Creed in the early 1980s.

When they moved, a room was built in the attic to store the china cabinet. The room was sealed so that renters could not access the china cabinet.

Storage Room Added to the Attic of a 1912 Home

Maggie contracted polio as a child and was always somewhat disabled. She wore knee-high lace-up black boots to help stabilize her legs and never married. Maggie and Creed lived together until her death.

In the 1970s Creed married for the first time and his new wife wanted the china cabinet, so it was moved to Pittsburgh. When Creed’s wife died, he moved into a retirement home and gave the china cabinet to my maternal grandmother.

My mom and dad drove to Pittsburgh in my dad’s Ford F150 and moved the cabinet into my grandmother’s Nelson County home. It resided there until Granny died in 2002 and Mama inherited the cabinet. It was then moved to the home where I grew up. In 2010 it was moved back to its original home on Walnut Avenue.

This cabinet is a beast and moving it is a nightmare. It is a miracle that the glass was never broken in any of its moves.

Another Piece of Furniture Original to the House

Maggie’s piano is another piece of furniture that has been returned to its original home.

Maggie was an accomplished piano player. When the family moved to Pittsburgh, Jim asked Aunt Lillian who raised my grandmother to keep the piano until he could ship it to Pittsburgh. He never did ship the piano and my mother grew up playing it. The piano was moved to the home where I grew up and I also played it.

It’s now back in it’s original home.

100+ Year Old Piano

The photograph on the left is an aerial view of my grandmother’s farm and the one on the right my mom and dad’s farm. Mr. SP took me flying on one of our first dates and we took these pictures of the farms and had them framed for my grandmother and my parents.

Mama and I both have framed a lot of Maggie’s sheet music.

These are on display in Mama’s family room.

Framed WWI Era Sheet Music

Here you can see some of Maggie’s sheet music hanging in my formal living room.

Here is more hanging in my family room.

Corner of a family room with a leather chair and ottoman, pie safe, framed early 1900s sheet music.

Maggie is in the center of the second row.

Waynesboro High School Sophmore Class 1911

The picture is from Maggie’s 1911 Waynesboro High School yearbook.

1911 Waynesboro High School, VA Scout Yearbook

Maggie was a Sophomore in 1911.

1911 Sophomore Class Waynesboro High School, VA

A Mystery to Investigate

When Mama was in her attic taking pictures of the storage room that was made for the china cabinet, she realized that there may be a second storage area to open.

The graffiti is from the years that the house was used as a rental.

Hidden Storage Area in the Attic of a 1912 Home

Mr. SP and I are visiting Mama for Mother’s Day and we plan on removing a few of these boards to see if some family treasures may have been hiding in this area for 100 years waiting to be discovered.

UPDATE: On Mother’s Day we went into the attic and removed a board to see if there was anything hidden in this area. There was only an empty space behind the board that we removed. No treasure but it was fun to investigate!

More on Mama’s 1912 Home

These are the posts that I’ve shared about my mom’s house restoration over the years.

More Lifestyle of Love Posts to Enjoy

If you are hopping in order, next on the tour is Coco from The Crowned Goat. Coco is a talented decorator and I truly enjoy every post that she shares.

More China Cabinets to Enjoy

Click on the links below to see the china cabinets that my friends are sharing.

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter


    1. Thank you, Wendy! If you every swing by our dock, chances are that Mama will be there. Both of us would love to meet you in person and we can talk antiques for hours.

  1. I love love love her china cabinet and contents. Just beautiful.
    I’m glad you will be done with radiation. Continued prayers for fast recovery and complete healing.

    1. Thank you so much, Jackie! If all goes well, I’ll be DONE with radiation tomorrow, 5/11. Thankyou so much for your support and preayes!

  2. Your posts are always so much fun to read, Paula, and I love that you and your Mom collaborated on this one too. It’s the perfect weekend to celebrate your love of family heirlooms and antique finds. I’m always amazed at how many pieces your family has been able to preserve and keep together over the years. It’s truly like passing down a treasure hunt from one family to the next which is such a priceless gift. Sending you lots of hugs and continuing to add my prayers with the others for your health. I hope your weekend is a special one, CoCo

    1. Thank you so much, CoCo! I love our every other month Lifestyle of Love collaboration. I had a great weekend. Saturday I was able to work in my yard which was so good for my mind and body. Sunday I spent the day with my mom for Mother’s Day and we had the best time. I so much appreciate your support and prayers!

  3. What an rich family history you have, Paula! I absolutely love your stories! It would be amazing if you and Mr. SP would find treasures in your mom’s attic.
    I continue to keep you in prayer each day. Have a wonderful weekend!
    P.S. As a Pennsylvania girl, I got a kick out of reading that your great, great Uncle Jim moved to Pittsburgh, PA. I was born in Philly, reared in the suburbs, and live in Bloomsburg, PA. The only real town in PA. Our youngest son went to the University of Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh always reminded me of a very large town not a city.

    1. Thank you so much for your support and prayers. I have never had the pleasure of visiting Philladelphia or Pittsburgh but I would like to. Now I need to look up Bloomsburg because it sounds like anther PA place we would like to see. Usually when we stay over in PA, we are on your way to Vermont and stay in the Harrisburg area.

  4. First, I hope that you are feeling better and hope you are able to enjoy Sunday with your mom. Your post has made me so homesick. I can identify with all of the saved treasures and your Mom’s beautiful home. Please continue to feel better.

    1. Thank you, Jane! I felt pretty good this weekend and I had a wonderful day with my mom on Sunday. I am glad that you enjoyed seeing my mom’s home but sorry that it made you a bit homesick. I so much appreciate your support!

  5. That china cabinet is truly amazing. I love hearing all the history of furniture pieces, and the old photos add so much to rich historical connection. Your mom’s house is so wonderful, I’d love to see more. Hope you’re having a good weekend, Paula, take care and be blessed!

    1. Thank you so much, Debra! I need to go to my mom’s house and take 50 million pictures. She has decorated her home beautifully with family antiques and accessories. I had a great weekend and I hope that you did as well.

      1. This is such a fun post! I love to hear about your family and see that so many treasures have stayed with you and your mom. The framed sheet music is so cool. Thanks for shraing.

  6. This was such a fun post to read Paula! How wonderful that your grandmother did the needlepoint for the chairs. I love the idea of secret rooms. I really can’t believe that the cabinet was moved that much and is still in such great shape. My biggest regret is not having anything from my family’s history. I love reading about your though. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thank you, Kim! Both of my grandmothers lived through the depression and saved everything. On both sides of the family, little was thrown away and inherited items were always kept. It’s great for me because I adore family history and the antique treasures that have been passed down through the years.

  7. I enjoyed reading your family history through heirlooms! It’s amazing how heirlooms can help us reminisce about our family history and fond memories. It’s especially meaningful on this Mother’s Day weekend <3

    1. Thank you, Michelle! This was a great post to share on Mother’s Day weekend. I loved seeing your spring to summer hutch decor for this round of Lifestyle of Love. I adore your style!

  8. Oh, Paula! I always enjoy reading the stories of your collectible. Seeing your mom’s treasures allows us to see where you got your gift for displaying your love of vintage and antiques. That cabinet is quite the stunner. The needlepoint chair covers are quite impressive!!!

  9. This is such a fabulous story! You just can’t buy this…ever. There is no beautiful new piece of furniture in any showroom that is as valuable as that!
    Thanks for sharing this with the world:)

  10. You know I always enjoy reading about family pieces that you share. This cabinet is no different filled with treasures. I love that you ad your mom worked together on this. It’s wonderful having that, I miss my mom everyday. You have family history that goes on for days and what a special gift that is to have and you do a wonderful job honoring it all the time!

    1. I am so sorry that you no longer have your mom, Cindy. I love my mom so much and it pains me to even think about losing her. I lost my dad at age 27 and my brother at 32, so it is just me and Mama left. These devistating deaths definitely have made us super close. Thank you for your kind words about this post.

  11. I’m a sucker for old homes and family history so I loved this post. My mom was born in 1931 and we have a piano in our home that was in her home growing up. It’s made the rounds, but luckily at the current time, it resides with us. I can’t wait to see if you found anything behind the boards!

    1. It’s wonderful that you have the piano that your mom had growing up. I hope it stays in your family for generations to come. There was no treasure behind the boards in the attic. Rats!

  12. I simply cannot imagine the amount of history in your family treasures. I love that you have photos and sheet music and spoons and china and so many wonderful things. I don’t have any of that. Loved hearing the history of the hutch and seeing the other pieces like the piano thrown in. You mom did a great job! Thank you and her for joining us this month.

    1. You really need to come to Virginia to see Mama’s house in person. She would love that! It was fun to share the history behind the china cabinet. Mama and I both think that it is a neat story.

  13. I loved hearing the life and times of this antique china cabinet, Paula. So many times I wish there were trackers on all the furniture pieces I’ve redone over the years. A couple times pieces have shown up and I’ve remembered them. I can’t believe the glass never got broken; that’s what always makes me nervous about those pieces! It is truly a beautiful piece with a special history; what a treasure:)

    1. Thank you, Lora! The last time the cabinet was moved my cousin looked at Mama and told her that he was never moving that cabinet again. The stress over breaking the glass is too much!

  14. Such a lovely post. I used to have my grandmother’s bedroom set but unfortunately, I had to sell it when we moved countries. I love your green glass too.

    1. Thank you, Carol! I know you hated to be forced to sell your grandmothe’s furniture but sometimes we have no choice. The green glass is depression glass that Mama has collected since I was a child.

  15. What an amazing legacy and heirlooms. It’s wonderful that you know the history of it all. So precious. I think I would have to create a book with the history and photos to pass down for the next generation of family members. I was hoping for more surprises behind that room! Thank you for sharing!

    1. Mama has written a book about her experiences growing up. I think she needs to write a family history book. I’ll put that idea in her head.

  16. Paula, I always love reading the history behind the items you share. Your mom’s China cabinet and her home filled with treasures is fascinating. I think it’s wonderful that you both have so many heirloom pieces and that you actually know and cherish the history behind them. Thank you for the interesting tale of her beautiful cabinet. I’m also amazed that the glass has never been broken!

  17. What an amazing story Paula! The china cabinet is beautiful and I love the needlepoint on the dining chairs – your Grandmother was very talented!

  18. Talk about family treasures! You are wealthy and rich with history Paula! That china cabinet is stunning!! And the secret room is so interesting. It’s amazing that a room was built for that cabinet! And even more amazing that no glass was ever broken!

  19. What treasures you have from family with the history too. Most of my mom’s family things including papers, Bible and photos was destroyed in a fire. I’m glad I have a few things.

  20. What a great story. I’d hoped you had found treasure behind the walls. The walls are fun with the graffiti though. I’m off to read all about your mom’s house.

  21. This post was like visiting a museum, filled with your families rich history.
    You should charge an admission fee!

    The story behind the cabinet, and all the other pieces are truly a treasure. Thanks for sharing it with all of us at the FWF link party.

  22. Hi Paula,
    Wow, what a beautiful china cabinet and home! I can’t imagine inheriting, and living in such a lovely place! I had to read all the links too about it’s history and how your mom restored the home! Lots of work, to be sure, but what a lovely transformation! The china cabinet is so big too and filled with the most wonderful treasures! Thank you for sharing such a wonderful family heirloom with all of us.

    Sending you good healing and good wishes regarding your health. I’m so glad you are finished with radiation and I hope you are starting to feel better already. You are always in my prayers, Paula and I wish you the very best life has to offer. We are all rooting for you.

    Many hugs,

  23. What a fun post! It’s easy to see why you love vintage and I always love reading about the pieces collected by your family! Thanks for sharing at Vintage Charm!

  24. So very remarkable to find a collection of furniture, silver, china of a certain era that is similar to our inherited collection. The dining room chairs, could they be mahogany or with a mahogany stain? I think that might have been in vogue in the early 1900’s. Our dining room chairs are identical but not only did my grandparents and parents have them in their homes, but they are currently serving us, and they’re in need of some big love at this point. I love the needlepoint seats! Which we have specimens of in other wooden chairs. I’ve got silver baby cups, silver baby spoons that yes, were actually used. We inherited a similar china cupboard from my husband’s family, but it is without the extra decorative carving on your family’s. The beautiful piano, made of some soft-looking wood, perhaps walnut? Yes, there was one of those in my grandparents’ large front room; my sister is the current lucky owner. It could even be a Steinway, not sure. Even the photo of Jim and Sallie Scanlon remind me of my grandparents, and I feel the tremendous loss of Sallie, just as they were starting out; she of the Gibson Girl updo, like my grandmother, standing so posture-perfect and modestly next to her bursting-with-plans, going-places husband. The move to Pittsburgh–I’m from Youngstown, Ohio, an hour away from there (currently in New Hampshire). Your grasp of your family’s history is impressive and speaks to its importance and meaning to you. I was kind of expecting you to mention a museum about your family. Because oh boy, there’s a heck of a lot of my family history and community history in Youngstown, Ohio at the Arms Family Museum, which was started by my grandfather. James L. Wick, Jr. Your blog is not supposed to be about me, but I can’t help myself, the similarities were so marked, it’s brought tears to my eyes. It’s not just furniture, yours and mine; it’s history, family history, links back to precious times we knew and times we were only told about, and those links are all treasured. Hey, how’d I get to your blog today? I have no idea! But glad I did!

    1. This may be the best comment that I have ever received on my blog. I will ask my mom about the wood species for the table, chairs, and piana. My family is just a salt of Earth hard-working country people family. Mama and her sisters do have enough treasures to fill a section of a museum! Keep on leaving me thoughtful comments like this. You truly made my day!

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