Northridge : Americana Antiques Highlighted at Sale

Old-time parlor stoves, malt machines, big brass weighing scales and hundreds of other items fill the Discovery Shop in Northridge as volunteers convert it into an antique store.

Thirty-five volunteers will wear pioneer costumes to recreate a slice of Americana for the shop’s single largest collectible sale on Saturday.

Marshall F. Wiltgen, 83, of Larchmont, a retired streetcar operator and bus driver, donated to the American Cancer Society more than 200 antique pieces, ranging from Radio Flyer wagons, pillboxes, sleds and quilts passed on from his aunts.

Wiltgen moved to California from Minnesota with his wife, Laura, in 1948, and for almost 20 years he built his large and unusual collection on his days off.


It all started when his daughter-in-law, Bonnie Wiltgen, formerly of Van Nuys, told him how much she enjoyed antiques. So the collector would go to garage sales on Saturdays to browse and shop.

“I liked a few things, and she was so interested in them. She loved all that,” Marshall Wiltgen said. “I would go back to Minnesota and pick up things everywhere, then crate them and bring them back.”

Eventually, his apartment became crowded with his array of antiques, so he stored them in Bonnie’s garage until she recently moved to Colorado.

“He collected 10 of one thing, or three or four of another thing. He just accumulated them,” said Jill Angel, the shop manager. “It’s the most wonderful, incredible assortment of things I’ve ever seen.”

More than 50 volunteers have been working for five months cleaning, pricing and organizing the items, which date from the 1870s to the 1930s.

The shop, which is owned and operated by the ACS, is located at 9719 Reseda Blvd. in the Northridge Garden Plaza shopping center. It will hold the sale in Wiltgen’s honor from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.