The walls are a little more bare than they used to be at Oklahoma Territory Antiques.

The walls are a little more bare than they used to be at Oklahoma Territory Antiques.

The 23-year-old company will hold an auction Aug. 11 before it closes its doors.

“It’s been pretty well stripped. It’s not what it used to be because we’re moving out, we’re clearing out,” said Wallace Lale, the owner of the antique store and building. “Everything, hopefully everything, will be sold.”

Lale sold the building to his wife’s sister and her husband who will open Oklahoma Territory Mercantile in the same spot.

“I appreciate it because it gives us the privilege of coming and going when we want to,” Wallace’s wife Mary said. “I think they would continue to carry it on cause they’re very much into the history of the building.”

Wallace said the building was built in 1903 by his great grandfather John F. Leap. According to a newspaper clipping from when he bought the building in 1995 that Wallace keeps in a scrapbook, the building was originally constructed to house a feed and seed store.

Despite the building’s age, though, there have only been three owners in its history: Leap, Lale and the Unzner family.

“They actually started on Bell Street and moved here,” Wallace said. “There were three generations of Unzners. The elder came from the old country, Germany. He wasn’t too pleased with Shawnee. He didn’t think it would be very progressive or whatever.”

The Unzners took ownership of the building in the 1920s. They opened a shop which saw three generations of Unzners.

When the last owner died, his daughters came to Wallace and asked if he wanted to buy the building.

“At that time, it was full, I mean full, of merchandise,” Wallace said. “There was so much stuff in here, they wanted me to buy it lock, stock and barrel, but I couldn’t see trying to sell a hundred moccasins and all that.”

The Unzners sold their stock and Wallace took over the building. The wood floors that slanted were replaced with concrete, but not everything was replaced.

The show tables the Lales use now were used by the Unzners, and Mary said they’ve been finding Unzner history on the second floor for quite some time.

But when Wallace and his late wife Rachel were looking at the space, they weren’t super sure what they wanted to do with it.

“It was a matter of, ‘okay, we’ve got it, what do we do?’” Wallace said. “We’ve always been antique people, so that’s what we decided we would do.”

And thus Oklahoma Territory Antiques was born.

Mary said as they’ve been clearing out merchandise and going through the building, the Lales have found bits and pieces of history.

“There’s still all kinds of remnants from the Unzners’ leather goods...on the second floor,” Mary said. “Just about a week ago, he sold...a stitching saddle.”

Mary said Wallace and Rachel were very good about preserving history. She said she even found one of Wallace’s report cards from his school days.

“What kind of grades did I get?”

“Good (ones),” Mary said.

The two believe preserving history is a very important task. Wallace keeps a binder of the history of downtown Shawnee — it includes when the buildings were built, what stores are in them now and anything else he can find out about them.

“History, if you don’t have documentation, it’ll eventually disappear unless there’s generations of people that experience and keep it going,” Wallace said.

Mary said Wallace is the last of the Lales. His daughter, who lives in Grapevine, Texas, holds papers pertaining to the Lale history and will make a scrapbook of it.

Oklahoma Territory Antique is located at 214 E Main Street.