Wilson Remembers Man Who Built Antique Industry
Posted February 8, 1999 6:00 a.m. EST
WILSON — The city of Wilson is famous for at least three things - tobacco, barbecue and antiques. Tuesday night, friends of the man who put antiques on the map in Wilson remembered his life.
For antique lovers, Wilson is heaven on earth. There are more than 20 dealers, and people come from all over the world to shop. However, the antique mecca would not be what it is today without Edgar Boone, a tobacco auctioneer and Air Force veteran who turned a love of antiques into millions of dollars for Wilson's economy.
"Antiques came here because of Mr. Boone," says antique dealer Bobby Langston. "If he hadn't started what he did, we wouldn't have any of the antique businesses here. I would hate to mention the figure that antiques bring into Wilson every year."
Edgar Boone died last weekend after a long fight with cancer. His death is a reminder to many of the impact he had on the Wilson of today.
Boone put Wilson on the map for antique buyers when he opened a small shop in 1949. Friends say his big moment came when he introduced the town to international antiques.
"Before he ever went to London, England, to buy the first time, people said 'Mr. Boone, there's nothing left. Don't you go over there,'" says salesman James Jefferson. "Tell Mr. Boone he can't do something, he's going to do it, and he did it."
Boone also leaves behind long time employees like Lenzie Coe who is still working at the shop after 37 years.
"It just developed into this, so, as I say, working for these people they are very understanding," Coe said. "They're easy to work for, and it's been a lot of fun. If he walks into a building, he lights it up. And when he leaves, they hate to see him go."
Boone may have left his showroom for the last time, but the memories of what he did for the town will be there for generations.