Town & Country Antiques

town2The Town & Country Antiques building was built in 1885 and over the years has been used as a meeting hall, clothing store and  theater.  In the late 1800’s the first floor was renovated as an auditorium for the Lyric Theatre and the second floor housed the Grand Room where the International Order of Odd Fellows Lodge had their meeting hall.  The theatre showed silent films and hosted vaudeville acts and competed with The Opera House which was located across the street where the Green building stands today.  The building was owned by John Darbee and the street that runs from Main past the Downtown Barn bears his name.

The street level was returned to a store function as “Town and Country Sportswear”, and it’s distinctive geometric facade was constructed in 1953.  Liberty suffered economic downturn as the resort industry faded and the building suffered, as well.   In the 1990’s a Department of Transportation intersection improvement project slated the vacant and deteriorated property for demolition to build a parking lot. Luckily an action group of local residents investigated the history of the building and discovered it to be one of the oldest surviving buildings on Main Street.

In 2005 Eric Liepens purchased the building and in preparing the north side for painting and power washing, they exposed a ghost sign for Gold Medal Flour.  It was under a coat of paint from the 1930’s and faux brick probably put on in the 1940’s.  They were left with a decision:  pretend like they didn’t see it or restore it.  They were encouraged by many, such as the late Alan Berube to restore the sign.  And what a beautiful restoration it turned out to be!   As Mary Ellen says, “it is a part of the fabric of Liberty’s history.”   GM_sign.header

Being in the antique business the Liepens family is all about preservation. They are the “caretakers” of things that can be passed on to other generations to enjoy.  Browsing through their store will bring back many memories, and browsers are always welcome.  Visit them at 1 North Main Street in Liberty.

1 North Main Street, Liberty, NY


open Thursday, Friday, Sunday 10AM – 5PM
          Saturday 10AM – 3:30PM
closed Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday
Online at


5 thoughts on “Town & Country Antiques

  1. Jennifer Diehl says:

    I remember walking with Alan Berube store to store with an idea to make nice displays in the store fronts and clean the building fronts . Alan believed in Liberty and believed that making the storefronts nice would bring buyers or tenants. He loved this building and between the two of us we made a nice antique display in both sides. It wasn’t much later that the building was bought. It’s nice to know people like Alan still exist.

    Liked by 1 person

      • Fran Kurpil says:

        Yes, Alan Berube was a priceless person. I suppose there are those who have the vision…but Alan didn’t just talk….he acted. I remember he had store front rules, sign rules and kept a close eye on things that were not kept properly along Main Street. I was re-reading an old Sullivan County Record Weekly and reading the push to destroy this beautiful old building….back 20 years ago. I think the article was written by Debra Conway. Special thanks go out to the Liepens family for buying it, restoring it and keeping it as a beautiful center piece in our Village. Thank you Eric and Mary Ellen Liepins. Keep up the Spirit.


  2. “Ghost signs” are old hand-painted advertising signs that have been preserved on a building for an extended period of time. The sign may be kept for its nostalgic appeal, or simply indifference by the owner. Ghost signs are found across United States. Ghost signs are also called fading ads and brick-ads. In many cases these are advertisements painted on brick that remained over time. Old painted advertisements are occasionally discovered upon demolition of later-built adjoining structures. Such signs were most commonly used in the decades before the Great Depression. The painters of the signs were called “wall dogs”. As signage advertising formats changed, less durable signs appeared in the later 20th century, and ghost signs from that era are less common.

    Ghost signs were originally painted with oil-based house paints. The paint that has survived the test of time most likely contains lead, which keeps it strongly adhered to the masonry surface. Ghost signs were often preserved through repainting the entire sign since the colors often fade over time. When ownership changed, a new sign would be painted over the old one. Conservators today are being asked to preserve the original signs rather than painting over them. New products for consolidation are available that structurally stabilize both the components of the paint and the masonry substrate.
    (from Parvin-Clauss Sign Company)


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