TIDIOUTE - With 20 or so people milling around in front of Hotel Tidioute, the curiosity of the town folk was sparked Monday morning.
Word spread like wildfire, and before long, many people knew the "American Pickers" were in town.
A film crew and the stars of the History Channel's hit show made a stop in town to dig through Hotel Tidioute in hopes of finding antique treasures.
Patrick Haney of Tidioute, left, poses for a picture Monday with Mike Wolfe, co-star of the History Channel’s show “American Pickers.”
Photo by Lydia Cottrell
For those who are unfamiliar with "picking," the show's website describes it as follows: "Call it treasure hunting, dumpster diving, modern archaeology or recycling America. No matter how you define picking, this is definitely not your grandmother's antiquing."
Brothers Bill and Steve Stehle, owners of the former hotel and current bar, led the crew through the third floor and basement of the structure, haggling along the way over found items.
The hotel's appearance on the American Pickers goes back to a quasi-audition for another show.
According to Bill Stehle, the business was scouted a couple years ago for a ghost-hunting reality show. At that time, the scouting crew noticed the collections of "junk." Although the ghost show at the Hotel Tidioute never came to fruition, the scouting crew tipped off the pickers.
While the cast and crew remained mum on what was found hiding in the hotel, the Stehle brothers were impressed with the experience.
"This is unreal," Steve Stehle said. "They're pretty cool people and we're having fun dickering with them."
Outside Hotel Tidioute, fans of the show anxiously waited for a chance to meet pickers Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz.
Tidioute residents Ashley Haney and her mother Dixie, Angie Saxton and Nick Nansen took a seat at the neighboring laundromat and waited patiently.
Asked how she found out about the filming of the show, Haney said, "Patrick (her brother) called me."
Patrick Haney found out from another friend, and that is pretty much how the news spread.
Of all the fans waiting to meet the stars, Randy Blumling of Tidioute, was a contender for the most excited.
"These guys are my heroes," he said. "I watch their show every night it's on."
Blumling believed the pickers chose the right spot for a antique search.
"I said to my dad, there is so much stuff to pick in northwest Pennsylvania," Blumling said. "Back in the day you were just a junk collector."
He added, "This show has made the country aware of how much this junk is worth. And with this guys, the rustier the better."