DANSVILLE — The popular History channel television show "American Pickers" is interested in the Dansville area, and readers of the Genesee Country Express are being asked to contact producers for the perfect spot for the show to film and have a "pick."
Producers of the show told the GCE they plan on being in the area in September to film.
"Based on the responses, we will figure out a route," said Mary Weaver of American Pickers. "We let people contact us, if there is an area, we will stop for a pick."
The stars of the show, Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz and their crew, filmed in Wellsville in May 2015. Leading up to the show, several locations in Steuben and Allegany counties were considered. They show wound up doing a lengthy episode from the stop on Main Street."If they were looked over the last time we were in the area, contact us because we will be in the state," said Weaver. "The hosts are looking for people in your area with unique antique collections and interesting stories behind them.”
She said the show was trying to get the word out as soon as possible, so the sooner people with large collections reach out to it, the better.
“Please make sure people who have one of a kind items to sell reach out to us on our phone number 1-855-OLD-RUST (653-7878), or our email, which is AmericanPickers@cineflix.com,” she said. “Mike (Wolfe) and Frank (Fritz) only pick private collections so no stores, malls, flea markets, museums, auctions, businesses or anything open to the public.”
Paul Constantine Sr., the vice president of the Dansville Historical Society, said he hopes the show can film in Dansville and show what a beautiful area it is.
He said Dansville is incredibly unique because of the amount of historical businesses and people, but he warned finding hidden treasurers is not easy.
"Think of Rapid Grow, the publishing company, Blum Shoe Company — and we have samples of his shoes at the historical society — and it's top-quality stuff," said Constantine. "Obviously Foster Wheeler, all the different nursery's we had, the list goes on and on. When you put together this locality and all the things that happened, remember, we are off the beaten path. It took years for the canal and railroad to get here yet there was an amazing amount of jobs and industrialization."
Constantine also talked about Bernarr Mcfadden, as a statue is in Dansville and one on his daughters, Bernyce, is going up. McFadden's ideas for healthy eating and exercise he wrote about in his publications 100 years ago are not being used.
"We have everything from Butcher's Block Market to Mader's Market, and all sorts of tools. A lot of the tools at our historical society I one-time used," said Constantine.
As for the museum, he said, "We are focused on Dansville history, some of our pieces are very good, some are average some are below average. But they are all important. I've been to barn sales, you don't see much. This area has been visited enough so to speak. I used to go to garage sales and go get incredible buys."
The American Pickers could learn a lesson or two from Constantine.
One year in Hornell he bought a print for $2 and sold it for $2,500. He bought a pile of old prints for 75 cents and one was a Finger Lakes impressionist and sold for $1,675. He bought an antique lamp for $10 that wld for $2,200 and at a garage sale in Dansville, a grab bag box for $20 turned out to be $265 worth of sterling silver.
"Some of it is paying attention," said Constantine. "Last week, there was an auction in Naples, six different antique Oliver tractors and an Oliver bulldozer and mint advertising signs. It was an excellent collection. Those are the signs people pay a lot of money for, they are in mint conditions."
If you are a fan of history and want to learn more about the local area, the Dansville Historical Society is open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. the first and third Saturday of the month.
If you have a group who wants to tour, we will be there and arrange it," he said. "We are proud of our collection and history. Dansville has an amazing history, much more than other towns our size."
Collette Cornish of the Hornell Erie Railroad Depot Museum said she is very fortunate to not only see Erie Lackawanna Railroad items, but other interesting items the show would want to pick in the Hornell area.
"I think it's a great area for the show to look at, based on as much as people covent their memorabilia and tell me what they have," said Cornish. "I always think 'that is unique and incredible.' There are so many Erie items and train items in this area. There is a sub-culture that is wicked. The Erie-Lackawana is defunct yet its amazing what people have. They even have locks!"
One person brought a rusted, old lock and key from the Erie Lackawanna Railroad they found in the back yard while digging.
The rail road was severely damaged by the Flood of 72 and Conrail took it over in 1976, but the museum at 111 Loder Street opened in 2005 and is open to the public on Wednesday and Thursday from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. and on Friday from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. as well as Saturday from 12:30 p.m. to 3 p.m.
Cornish has a few interesting items on display owned by area residents the show might find interesting. Former rail employees, from engineers to dispatchers donate their time at the museum and are always available to answer questions and share stories, something the television show is known for.
During the Wellsville show, Wolfe and Fritz visited the Mather Homestead that had belonged to the late Barbara Williams, where they bought some items, and looked at a 1937 Cord automobile, but didn’t buy it. Barbara Cobb, Williams’ niece, inherited Mather Homestead and hosted the show’s crew during the visit. After a long day of filming, Wolfe and Fritz visited with residents who had gathered to see them, posted for photos and autographed and had several meals at the local restaurants.