by Julia Pearson
People enjoying a breakfast or lunch at a window-side table at the Artists Colony Inn can look through the glass and see others lingering at the antique shop at 39 East Franklin Street, just a few steps from Van Buren.
Cathy’s Corner, a little shop of curiosities, was opened nine years ago by Cathy Haggerty with the help of her son, Bill, who pitched in with needed elbow grease to install cases and shelves. Cathy painted a mural of Hooks’ Hill with its well-known red barn on the wall, giving it her own special Brown County touch. Fearrin’s Ice Cream Depot and the Lawrence Family Glass Blowers are established business neighbors. Visitors taking a tour of Nashville can catch the trolley right in front of the store.
Cathy’s Corner specializes in unique and collectible items that are beautiful, quirky, nostalgic, or just plain fun. They bring unusual stories and people together, which prompted Brown County antique enthusiast, Shirl Malina, to tell Cathy she is a “contadora”—a keeper of stories. The constantly changing inventory has an eclectic selection of art, glassware, volumes written by Hoosier authors like Gene Stratton Porter, James Whitcomb Riley, and Lew Wallace; estate jewelry, headpieces, purses of silk, beads, and leather; and old toys. There is always a wide array of wonderful metal tractors, cars, and trucks; dolls and doll furniture; authentic early versions of popular card and board games, jars of old marbles; and dishes perfectly sized for a child’s hands. Cathy is known to invite folks to “Come down and play with us.”
Browsing in Cathy’s Corner brings comforting memories of life in previous decades, when appliances had cords and were made of seemingly indestructible steel. Young children especially will love shopping trips to Cathy’s Corner and hear from grandparents about a time when household items were not disposable, but repaired, and then handed down to family members just setting up housekeeping.
The women of the family collected dainty tea cups and saucers, knowing that special occasions were made more so by using china pieces or table linens carefully cross-stitched and stored in hope chests. Sewing baskets had multiple notions, spools, and tools necessary for knitting, crocheting, tatting, mending, and other fancywork.
There is always the spontaneous game of seeing an article and wondering, “Can you guess what this is?” In fact, if there are any “What is this?” items found in attics and barns, bring them in and see if Cathy’s Corner can help identify them.
At this writing, the store has a collection of over two hundred straight razors available for purchase. So homeowners who love country style décor can display several in the guest bath.
Jewelry shoppers will find themselves fascinated and enthralled with the selection of antique jewelry. There will also tales of the previous owners of lockets, rings, and brooches that bring smiles or goosebumps. Vintage and estate jewelry is also offered through a website: <www.rubylane.com/shop/cathyscorner>.
Being born in Lafayette and growing up in Carroll County, Cathy Haggerty is a birthright Hoosier. She was number four in a family of five children born to Fay and Frank Hodge. Attending Indiana University in Bloomington, she has a degree in Visual Arts and is certified to teach K-12.
For 13 years, Cathy stayed at home tending her growing family—sons Whylee, Bill, and Jake. The first store Cathy and her husband, Tom, owned and operated was in Bloomington and dealt primarily in used furniture.
Combining both their names, the store was called Tomcat Alley. Cathy’s Corner is the third store owned by the Haggertys. Their re-sale stores are located in Bedford and Bloomington.
Cathy continues to teach art to all ages and all levels of experience. She has an open studio at Meadowood Retirement Community in Bloomington on Wednesday afternoons. On Friday afternoons, she holds a class at the St. Agnes youth building in Nashville. Her students thrive with her encouragement and enthusiasm and even feel confident trying new mediums. Those interested can reach by phone at Cathy’s Corner.
She hopes to offer more art at Cathy’s Corner. Presently the store has a piece of stonework for sale—a limestone gargoyle. There are other original pieces as well as antique paintings, prints, maps, and pottery.
Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, except Tuesdays when the store is closed. But when the unpredictable winter storms bring school closings and the roadways themselves are taking “a long winter’s nap,” Cathy’s Corner might close its doors early. Shoppers can call ahead at (812) 988-4091.