Keeping History

Interestingly ironic as it may seem in this time when the shiniest, most up-to-date, and technologically tricked-out everything tops the must-have lists of everyone from millenials to baby boomers, furniture restoration, repurposing, and antique collecting have all become a hot trend; and some of the most in-demand items have pits, chips, and imperfections that give them charm, character, and a sense of history that can never be manufactured.

It was his own appreciation for antiques that first led Bob Sumner to open an antique shop in 1968, offering restoration services and dealing in 18th and 19th century antique furniture and accessories after returning stateside from serving a tour in Vietnam. Having learned the business from his father, who ran a shop in Houston, Texas, Bob knew well what to look for and how to bring even the most care-worn treasures back to their full glory.

Bob’s shop operated for 11 years, finally closing its doors in 1979. But his love of antiques never wavered; and in 2014, he opened Creekside Farm Antiques and Restoration, showcasing the largest selection of quality 18th and 19th century furniture in the area and specializing in American Federal and Tennessee and Kentucky furniture. His expert eye is constantly at work, taking him all over the country to find the pieces that speak to him.

Over the years, he has certainly had his hands on interesting pieces of history, and those storied pieces are the ones that fuel his passion the most. “I think my most favorite pieces were a pair of period Chippendale dining chairs that once belonged to Governor Breckenridge of Kentucky and an oak altar that belonged to Sir William Strickland and his wife, Ladye Frances Finch. It was engraved with the date AD1638 and had a sliding door that was designed to hide the family’s communion set,” he recalls.

It is Bob’s expertise in not only finding excellent pieces that make his business successful, but also his expertise in antique furniture restoration and his ability to provide custom upholstery. “The work that I do is quality and respects the beauty of the original pieces,” Bob says. He’s a revivalist of sorts bringing magnificence back where once it was lost. And in keeping those things alive, he’s preserving a part of history too beautiful to lose.

Creekside Farm Antiques and Restoration is located at 1057 Belmont Road, Clarksville, Tennessee 37040. Open Tuesday- Friday 10:00 a.m.- 5:30 p.m. and by appointment only on Saturday. For more information, call (931) 648-2540 or visit Member of the Better Business Bureau.