Photos contributed by Eartha Kitsch of the Ranch Dressing blog.
Chester Deck knows his way around glassware and dishes.
The owner of Deck’s Glassware has a penchant for addressing all of his male customers, friends and acquaintances as “dad,” rolls his own cigarettes and talks very knowledgably about each of the thousands of types of glassware, vases and collectibles in his rambling Dodds Avenue shop.
“Now that piece there, it came out of Indiana,” he says in his Southern drawl while puffing on a cigarette. “Daddy bought up the whole factory when they was goin’ out of business.”
4118 Dodds Ave.
Monday – Friday
10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Decks’ shop is a treasure trove of all things ’40s, ’50s, ’60s and ’70s in the name of glassware, brands like Fiestaware, American Whitehall and Pyrex. I bought a set of groovy avocado green glasses that Deck reminded me were available if you cashed in your S & H Greenstamps. Wow. And the prices are right at Deck’s too. I bought a dozen “chubs,” short, stubby juice glasses from Fostoria, for $1 each. We left with a whole raft of glassware the first time for 50 bucks.
I took my second trip to Deck’s in a week with a friend who had gone with me previously. I went back because I missed getting a couple of items the first go-around when I was there with he and our best friends over the weekend.
During our first trip, my husband and I wandered through the warren of old buildings that once made up a bakery in Chattanooga. My friend thought about getting some new dishes, but couldn’t make up his mind because there were so many to choose from.
“Aunt Nell’s Fostoria,” I cried as I saw the beloved glass my favorite aunt used for years. “I must get Aunt Nell’s candy dish.”
My husband looked at some amber colored hob nailed glasses his family used while he was growing up on Signal Mountain. I missed getting those and the candy dish during the first trip, so I had gone back. This time, Deck was joined by two friends who seemed to be hanging out at the shop.
“Chester knows his way around glass,” one of them said to me. Amen.
As I was getting ready to purchase the candy dish, Deck said, “Now mam’ did you get the candy dish or the potpourri dish?” I replied I had no idea and he swooped back out in the front room of Deck’s and picked up a second, similar-looking dish.
“Now this is the potpourri dish,” Deck said, pointing out that the piece of Fostoria had little openings around the lid to allow the scent to escape. “Did you want that one or the candy dish?” he asked me.
“Give them both to me,” I said. To which Decks responded, “What a blessing!”
A trip to Deck’s is always an adventure. There is just so very much to see in what has to be the best-kept secret in the Southeast. The first day we went a couple had arrived from Indiana after reading about Deck’s on a blog my friend had found too. I predict once the word gets out on this place, people will be flocking from all over the country to snatch up a piece of glassware history.