A few Chillicothe residents saw a familiar face poking around the community hunting for antiques.



Frank Fritz of The History Channel’s American Pickers TV show wandered around town without the camera crew in search of goodies recently.



He was without his fellow picker, Mike Wolfe from the show, but had a helper.



Toni Markwalder saw a sign at the Freedom Oil gas station in Rome about Fritz being in the area. She encouraged her husband, Tex, to give him a call. Tex works with Placher Auctions.

 


A few Chillicothe residents saw a familiar face poking around the community hunting for antiques.

Frank Fritz of The History Channel’s American Pickers TV show wandered around town without the camera crew in search of goodies recently.

He was without his fellow picker, Mike Wolfe from the show, but had a helper.

Toni Markwalder saw a sign at the Freedom Oil gas station in Rome about Fritz being in the area. She encouraged her husband, Tex, to give him a call. Tex works with Placher Auctions.

“Over the years we have collected stuff — rooms of stuff,” Toni said with a laugh.

While some may not watch the show, the Markwalders keep up with the mens’ adventures.

“We’re avid watchers,” said Toni. “We don’t miss it.”

On Aug. 4, the Markwalders became part of an adventure when Fritz called and asked where he could find them.

Once at their home, Fritz bought from Tex a metal, battery-operated robot from the early 1960s, a desktop pencil sharpener from the 1940s, and a turn-of-the century mission oak umbrella stand from Toni.

He roamed all over their home in search of treasure, including the basement, garage and spare room.

Fritz braved the spare room, which Toni said Tex has full of his collection over the years.

“‘You’re the only one that’s been in that room other than Tex,’” Toni said she told Fritz. “I would be embarrassed to have any of my friends go in there.”

But that room may just be a good thing for the couple.

“We call ourselves the ‘Chillicothe Pickers,’ and we’re going to get that room cleaned up,” said Toni.

The Markwalders’ home was not the only place Fritz stopped.

He also poked around Ron Hensley’s home for about an hour.

“It is kinda cool ‘cause no one knows about it,” said Hensley.

He watches American Pickers too, which then makes him claim, “I have better stuff than they do.”

Hensley owns Hensley’s Antiques and Curiosities in downtown Chillicothe.

Without cameras and Wolfe, the picking was low-key.

“That’s all it was — two guys in a pickup truck,” said Hensley.

That pickup truck also came to the door of Mayor Troy Childers Sr., where Fritz bought an electric barbecue grill.

Childers said Fritz was knowledgeable about a variety of items from dolls to cars.

He walks around with a little flashlight, checking ever nook and cranny for a lost gem.

Childers said Fritz was very polite, give a first response price, and eventually goes up if he wants the item.

“He doesn’t give you the opinion that he’s in a hurry but he keeps going,” Childers said of Fritz, who walked through his building, including the upstairs in about a half hour.

While Fritz was at Childers, Jimmy Mattox stopped by and told him he had some items Fritz may like.

Mattox said Fritz said he was in a hurry, but Mattox pointed to his place just up the street.

“He was a pretty cool guy,” said Mattox, who also watches the show.

Fritz ended up buying a couple metal corn signs and old stop signs with glass marble letters for reflecting.

Along with giving money for his purchases, Fritz also gave the Chillicotheans autographed photos.

Chillicotheans who know about Fritz being in town say they hope he will come back to town and bring the TV crew for an episode.

Chillicothe was mentioned in a recent episode, “One Pony Town,” about a spooky collector who traveled to sales between his home and Chillicothe.