ODESSA, DEL. – Local resident and antiques dealer Paul Thien has been selected by the Historic Odessa Foundation to open a gallery in one of the town’s historic buildings, where he will showcase Delaware pieces and share his passion and in-depth knowledge of the local furniture output.
The new gallery, which will be called Paul*Douglas Fine Antiques, is being housed at 116A East Main Street, Odessa, in the historic Pump House, circa 1780, part of the foundation’s Historic Houses of Odessa. It is located directly across from Cantwell’s Tavern and next to the storied Corbit-Sharp House, circa 1774.
A special three-day “soft” opening for the new gallery is scheduled for Friday through Sunday, June 26-28. Thien will also host a celebratory reception at the gallery on Wednesday, July 1, from 6 to 8 pm.
“The realization of running a traditional shop, offering period antiques and accessories, in a historic town like Odessa is a gratifying experience for us and will hopefully contribute to the colonial experience of those visiting the Village of Odessa,” said Thien, who also owns and operates Firehouse Antique Center in nearby Galena, Md.
The Odessa gallery will concentrate on Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century furniture, paintings and associated accessories, with an emphasis on Delaware material.
Thien, who lives in the historic Enos House in Odessa and restored the home’s frame structure, bought his first antique as a 12-year-old living in Lewes, Del. – a lifelong passion was born.
In addition to his antique business, he is working toward a master’s degree, with a focus on Delaware cabinet makers and the state’s early architecture, through the University of Delaware and Winterthur Museum and Gardens. Some of his research has concentrated on the furniture-making specific to Eighteenth Century Odessa (which then was called Cantwell’s Bridge) and architectural historiography.
“Opening this gallery is the culmination of a longtime dream,” Thien said. “I’m eager to build on Historic Odessa Foundation’s ongoing commitment to preserving and protecting the town’s rich history.”
The gallery space served as a garage for H. Rodney Sharp in the 1930s as well as several other purposes over time. Sharp gave the Corbit-Sharp House to Winterthur Museum in 1958 along with an endowment for its support; additional properties were donated to Winterthur by him and his descendants over the next 50 years.
The Historic Houses of Odessa were operated by Winterthur from 1958 until 2003 when it was permanently closed to the public. In 2005 Sharp’s granddaughter and granddaughter-in-law graciously stepped forward to establish a new foundation for the support and stewardship of the site. The Historic Odessa Foundation opened to the public in December of 2005.
Today, Odessa is a National Registered Historic District and is also home to a National Historic Landmark and two National Parks Service Network to Freedom Sites. The Historic Odessa Foundation continues Sharp’s groundbreaking work, preserving and interpreting the past through tours, exhibitions and living-history programs for children and adults.
For additional information on Paul*Douglas Fine Antiques, call 410-708-4085.