The photo of a small cedar box tacked on to the end of a Facebook post grabbed Theresa Ann Russo’s attention. The post from The Museum of the Big Bend in Alpine, Texas, said: “From out of the vaults: a cedar Keepsake Box, measuring 9-by-5-by-3 inches left over and then donated to the museum by the Alpine Furniture Store in 1972.”
Russo, who lives in Baton Rouge, had no connection to the Alpine Furniture Store, but she did have an identical cedar box. Well, almost identical — Russo’s box was stamped with “Kornmeyer’s” instead of “Alpine.”
Kornmeyer’s, a furniture store that operated in the capital city from 1880 to 2007, started out on St. Ferdinand Street and eventually opened a store off Florida Boulevard in what is now known as Kornmeyer’s Plaza.
For decades, Kornmeyer’s sent Russo, along with all other Baton Rouge area graduating high school senior girls, postcards offering a free cedar box if they visited the retail furniture store. Though no purchase was necessary, salespeople encouraged girls and their families to look at the store’s selection of hope chests while there.
If they bought one, even better. If they didn’t, they’d still leave with the small cedar box.
“These boxes were manufactured by Lane Furniture, the largest furniture company in the United States