Born and raised on a farm in Whitefield, Elmer's first job was with Ed Howe at the famous Howe Fur Company on Main Street in the Coopers Mills section of our town. Ed Howe's business rivaled L.L. Bean's. Their merchandise, catalog and customers were very similar. In the work with Howe, Elmer became acquainted with firearms and soon was buying and selling new as well as old guns.
As Ed's business evolved into a more antique firearms business, Elmer began supplementing the auction materials with antiques other than guns. He began searching the countryside - buying tobacco tins, advertising items and other relics that appealed to the many buyers at their nationally famous auctions.
When Ed Howe died and the Fur Company folded, Elmer was in the antique business full time. And when the Howe home and buildings came up for sale Elmer knew that they were for him.
In dealing with the wide variety of antiques and used materials that Elmer has become noted for, he began to "see" things in the farm implement parts and pieces of architectural trim that his customers expected him to stock. A cow's pelvis bone and a tree branch would strike Elmer and in his workshop he'd piece together his vision. Without training in Art or even much exposure to "museum art" he felt moved to create.
An ornate cast iron stove door mounted in the center of a wood gate crafted from old fence boards makes a handy cat's entrance.
A metal wagon rim frames a piece of Victorian wood trim. An old dolls head stares mysteriously from an ancient wooden box.
He has standing orders with local woodcutters to look out for the right branched trunk that will make his next vision a reality.
Elmer can be found most days at Elmer's Barn on Rockland Road (route 17) in the Coopers Mills village of Whitefield. 549-7671.