Buying up old Sedalia

Travis McMullen - Contributing Columnist

Travis McMullen

Contributing Columnist

I occasionally like to peruse my friendly neighborhood online auction site for deals. Just the other day I bought a video game poster from Venezuela.

But eBay also has some local offerings, even if very few of them are being sold by people in Sedalia. Yes, you can put the word Sedalia into the eBay search box and most of the results are relevant to our very own Sedalia. There are a number of cities throughout the country with the same name, but our Sedalia is easily the most relevant.

There are lots of postcards, pictures, flattened matchbook covers and lots of people selling tickets for various acts that will be performing at the Pepsi Grandstand at the Missouri State Fair. And nestled in among that are a few legitimately interesting Sedville artifacts.

There’s one individual from the United Kingdom who is apparently relieving themselves of their collection of old-fashioned hotel room keys. Of their 5,000 offerings, mostly from chain motels located all over the United States, there are two keys from Sedalia motels: Room 137 at the Holiday Inn and room 234 at the Ramada Inn.

At least two Sedalia room keys made it overseas — and we could now see them get purchased by locals and shipped back.

It’s an impressive collection, and it made me wonder how one would accumulate such a collection — do you slowly steal them, one by one as you travel across the country? Do you talk to the manager and see if you could just try to buy one? Is there some sort of nostalgic company that buys these sort of things and sells them to the excessively nostalgic? Maybe you’ve got to subscribe to a newsletter that aggregates stories about hotels shutting down or modernizing their key systems.

Imagine travelling around the country just to buy the vital bits of old hotels.

I’m also learning about long shuttered Sedalia businesses that I have never even heard of — someone is offering a large metal tin advertising “Warnsburg Lard,” courtesy of “Sedalia. MO.” based own “Roseland Meats, INC.” Now my kitchen feels incomplete without authentic Sedalia animal fat.

There’s a lot of 1940s tokens that are marked “Sedalia Bus Co.” that have the natural holes to make perfect additions to a necklace or even a belt. I’m almost a little sad the whole bus token thing fell out of style, because they’re aesthetically very interesting. There’s also a token from the Pacific Cafe.

There’s a Pettis County ballot sack from Aug. 2, 1960, “for the County Health Center Election.” There’s a pair of Sedalia cigarette tax stamps, and there are collectibles from some of the various organizations that have chosen to have their meetings on the Missouri State Fairgrounds.

There are at least three different offerings of Sedalia Police Department shoulder patches, each with a seller assuring us these are just reproductions.

I think some of the most interesting results are two lighters that have been engraved with “Missouri Emulsions.” One is from 1978 and the other one is from 1982, and despite a few scratches, those reliable little Zippos are probably still just as reliable as they day they were awarded to Missouri Emulsion employees. It’s a little tough to search on the Internet because the name is so generic — most of the results make reference to the former home of Missouri Emulsions being a former Superfund site. But with a name like that, it’s not too surprising that some serious cleanup needed to happen.

Thanks to the Internet you can buy old Sedalia piece by piece.

Travis McMullen is a longtime Sedalia resident who shares his views on the city through his weekly Democrat column.

Sedalia Democrat

Travis McMullen is a longtime Sedalia resident who shares his views on the city through his weekly Democrat column.

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