Article and photos by Savanah Mandeville
There’s nothing quite like antiques to transform a house into a home.
Mother and son team Betty Ryland and Sean Ryland know how priceless a one-of-a-kind historical treasure can be. That’s why the pair are devoted purveyors of high-quality home décor and furnishings of days gone by at their store, Somewhere in Time Antiquities.
Somewhere in Time is a large, two-story antique store located in a beautiful, historic building on Route 66 in Baxter Springs, Kansas. The shop is bursting with character and is divided into two sections – one for antiques and one for flea market items – so it has something for fine collectors, bargain hunters and everyone in between.
“We have an eclectic collection of furniture and collectibles from different eras and traditional to shabby chic,” Sean said. “Booth renters and consignors, we are selective about what we allow in our store. We’re on the lookout for statement pieces. They have to be in operational condition as best as it can be for its age and it has to be presentable to our customers, as well.”
Somewhere in Time Antiquities is also unique in that is offers 60 different kinds of craft root beer, 25 flavors of saltwater taffy and Cleay’s old-fashioned hard candy.
The Rylands opened up shop in September 2016, but the story began when Betty was a youngster in her early 20s.
“I had a friend named Roberta Smith who taught me to appreciate old stuff,” Betty said. “When I started collecting, I wouldn’t let anything get away. Old post cards, old Valentines, old photographs – if someone said they were going to throw them out, I would buy them.”
Over the years, her collection grew and grew. Just over 10 years ago, she opened up shop at her home in Carl Junction.
“My husband built me a building on our property in late 2007, early 2008, that was meant to clean out his garage and barn, but I still collected. I ran it at home for several years.”
Meanwhile, Sean was living in Kansas City and working in retail.
“Mom would come up on weekend visits, and we’d go to antique stores, flea markets, garage sales, you name it,” Sean said. “I’d never been that big into antiques, but on those visits, that’s when my appreciation began to grow.”
Finally, Sean caught the antique bug and was hooked. That’s when the pair hatched a plan to open their own store.
“We wanted to be on Route 66 and we wanted an old building,” Sean said. “We looked at buildings all over the area, and while older buildings are more affordable than you might think, they require a lot of work. We happened to find this one in Baxter Springs and the price was right. It fit our vision. We wanted to make sure the building was just as much an antique as what we have in our store.”
Built sometime in the 1880s, the building was originally an undertaking business. The Rylands even found some original embalming fluid under the floorboards during remodel. The building’s history also includes a stint as Grantham Music Store in the 1920s and 1930s.
“We have an old record cleaner that would’ve been given with the purchase of a new Victrola, and it says Grantham Music Store on it,” Sean said. “It’s stuff like that that gives you goosebumps.”
That’s not the only thing giving goosebumps at Somewhere In Time Antiquities. The shop has its own ghost, too.
“We had a medium come in, and she told us we have a ghost named Elmer,” Betty said. “He’s pulled several stunts. He changes stations on the radio, turns lights on and off, and the rotary phone has dialed itself. We’ve had customers tell us they’ve encountered things. Two of them told us they had encountered something upstairs.”
Ghost sightings and all, Betty and Sean Ryland have said they love owning an antique store together and can’t imagine doing anything else.
“Mom keeps the store decorated really beautifully, and she doesn’t want me doing any part of the decorating,” Sean said with a laugh. “And I keep the vendors happy and do the business aspect of it. So we work together very well.”
1041 Military Avenue • Baxter Springs, Kansas
Monday-Saturday, 10 am -5 pm • Sunday, 12 pm-4 pm
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