A 1930 wood-frame glass showcase from the Saginaw Company in Michigan, used by Tom Rickman to display valuable merchandise in the general store, was rescued from destruction and returned to the historic building in the Cowee community this winter.
Habitat for Humanity stumbled upon the piece in 2008, when Macon Bank invited the nonprofit to tour a property in foreclosure and take what they could use. The showcase was found on the porch of the house with the glass broken and full of junk.
Craig Bridge, volunteer with Habitat, suggested that the showcase be fixed up and pressed into service at Habitat for Humanity’s thrift store. Bridge made all the necessary repairs to bring the piece to useful condition, and the showcase was used for displays at their re-sale store for three years.
Mack Brogden, grandson of the late Tom Rickman, recognized the piece and shared many stories about his grandfather’s general store in Cowee making it evident to the folks at Habitat for Humanity that the old piece of furniture had great historical value for the community.
After several conversations with Habitat and the approval of its board, the piece made it back to Cowee in January of this year. Friends of the Rickman Store, Jerry and Joyce Starr arranged the return of the showcase to the Rickman Store. Volunteers from both organizations helped in the move.