Pretty much every town in the country, big or small, has at least one antique store. So a drive an hour south of Jacksonville to see "any old antique store" would not seem very practical. But Elsie Bell's in Palatka is not an ordinary antique store, its history makes it incredibly special.
Just like every antique store on Earth, it has all the great, old stuff you'd expect.
But perhaps the most impressive antique at this store, is the store.
"It was built in the early 1900s as a funeral home," said Shanti Hall.
Hall has worked at Elsie Bell's for two years now. She's a college student who has immersed herself in all the lore this store has to offer.
"The store is it's haunted," she said laughing.
But the laugh was not to indicate disbelief. In fact, she is quite sure Edgar Johnson, a former and long gone owner of the funeral home, still hangs around his old stomping grounds.
Hall recalls a time when she was in the store's far back display room, what was once the casket show room for the former funeral home.
"I was all alone in the store, and then out of nowhere something falls and breaks," she said pieces of the broken item were scattered all over the room.
"So I called [the owner] Debbie and she said, 'Oh that's just Edgar.'"
Other than Edgar, plenty still remains here from the store's original days. The light fixtures are the same, the decorative ceiling, some flooring and even the embalming room is still used -- just not for its original purpose.
"The embalming room is now the owner's office," Hall said.
Elsie Bell's is at 111 North 4th Street in Palatka. You can click here to check out there Facebook page for contact information and hours.