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Wonders From The Past set to open July 3

June 28, 2019
CJ Eilers - Editor ( , Traer Star-Clipper

Art fans and collectors seeking unique treasures will have a new shop in Traer to explore as Wonders From The Past opens on July 3, bringing a new business to the downtown community.

Located at 528 2nd Street, Wonders From The Past is operated by Jon Crisman, a retired auctioneer for Jackson International Auctioneers after 40 years with the company. After retiring in November of 2017, Crisman wanted to get back to "old-fashioned estate auctions" and seeking a property for a business. Initially set to buy a building in Waterloo, Crisman instead decided to start his business in a small town.

"I like friendliness, the fact everyone knows everybody in a small town," Crisman said. "I saw an add online for this building in Traer and wanted to check it out. After 10 minutes of walking through the building with my realtor, I made an offer."

Article Photos

Jon Crisman recently finished the outside of Wonder From The Past ahead of the July 3 opening.

The building, purchased by Crisman and his wife Carol last year, has hosted a diverse collection of businesses over it's nearly 150-year history, including several furniture stores, antique shops, a video rental story, was owned by the Traer Development Corporation from 2000 to 2005 and temporarily housed the Traer Public Library in 2003 while the library was renovated and the addition was made. Crisman himself has put in his own money and time to renovate the space to his needs since March 1. He even added his own winding staircase as a tribute to Traer's own unique staircase. While renovations took longer than expected, Crisman feels the community is ready and excited for the business to open.

"There's a lot of excitement in Traer from people who have been watching my ongoing work," Crisman said. "They can't wait to see the inside and what I have in store. I see so many people across the state stop to see the Winding Stairs here in Traer and decided I needed my own.

Thanks to his online sales through Ebay, Crisman can support Wonders From The Past as a retail business while also storing his items. The front gallery space will show off the items and the building will also host his auction business, Iowa Estate Auctions LLC, as an office.

"Since retiring, I've been selling items I personally own on Ebay and I've been doing well at it I decided to turn it into this business," Crisman said. "In the first eight months of having this building, I remodelled the backroom into a shipping room and studio for photographing, storing and cataloguing antiques. I wanted to take the front of the building and make it into a fine arts gallery, not just for antiques but for items of unique nature. I have a lot of experience with this field and I want to bring items to this building that people will enjoy seeing."

Wonders From the Past will be open Wednesday through Friday from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., 10 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, and will be closed on Monday and Tuesday. Check them out on Facebook at



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