Waller House buffet comes back home

A piece of furniture which stood in the Waller House dining room for decades has returned to its previous place. First moved into the home by Viola Tanner, it was sold to Sandy Morse at auction in 1979. Gathering together to witness its return are (from left): Ed and Lucy Tanner, Sandy Morse and Raquel Lundberg.

A piece of furniture which stood in the Waller House dining room for decades has returned to its previous place. First moved into the home by Viola Tanner, it was sold to Sandy Morse at auction in 1979. Gathering together to witness its return are (from left): Ed and Lucy Tanner, Sandy Morse and Raquel Lundberg.

Furniture returns to Little Falls bed and breakfast

 

by Jennie Zeitler, Staff Writer

 

Sold at auction in July 1979, a dining room buffet which once sat in a proud spot in the Waller House in Little Falls during prior decades has returned home.

Previous owners Ed and Lucy Tanner were on hand to watch as the buffet was moved into place. When the Tanners sold the house and had an auction, the buffet was sold to Lucy’s lifelong friend, Sandy Morse, who is now selling her home and no longer has room for it.

“It was just natural to come to the auction, but I don’t know why I bought the buffet,” Morse said. “It was shiny black with gold trim. I had it refinished.”

The buffet had originally belonged to Viola Tanner, Ed’s mother. The Tanner family had called the Waller House home for three generations.

The house was built by Alexander Davidson in 1897. His wife, Laura, was a Tanner. The house changed hands a number of times, but eventually Ed’s grandmother, Effie Tanner and her husband, Leigh, bought it.

Ed reminisced about the home, recalling that his parents remodeled in the 1950s, converting the upstairs to an apartment.

“When my grandmother lived upstairs there was no inside stairway,” he said. “(Judge) John Simonett and his family rented the upstairs when I was a senior in high school.”

Ed remembers the drapes that were in the dining room doorways, hanging from rods which are still in place.

When the family gathered for Thanksgiving, a large piece of plywood was strapped over the dining room table and a white tablecloth was put over it.

According to the Little Falls Daily Transcript, the auction was estimated by clerk Bill Johnson to be the largest of any furniture auction he’d seen in 10 years. The eight-hour sale included 287 bidding numbers, with auctioneers Pete Newman, Cliff Mitchell and Gary Dehler spelling each other.

Fast forward to 2013, and Morse let Lucy know that she was moving. Lucy contacted current Waller House owners Scott and Raquel Lundberg to ask if they were interested in buying the buffet.

At the time, the Lundbergs’ bed and breakfast was hosting a guest who stayed 13 weeks.

“She heard my husband and I going back and forth about whether to spend money on a piece of furniture we didn’t need,” Lundberg said.

When the guest bid her goodbyes, she pressed money into Lundberg’s hand and told her, “You go get that buffet.”

“It was meant to be,” Lundberg said.

  • Rhonda M. Schmidt

    Yay! It always makes me happy to see a piece of history restored! Our society today does not value history like we used to. I’m so happy that the Davidson/Tanner/Waller/Lundberg House has an original piece back in it. Woohoo!

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