Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Wolcott Mill 2012: The Reenacting Season Doesn't Have to End in the Fall

Here it is, nearing the end of October, and the "official" reenacting season is done. This past weekend was the wonderful Wolcott Mill event and it never fails at being a great way to end the season.
Wolcott Mill is a beautifully restored grist and feed mill built back in 1847 and is located in the northern rural portion of Macomb County here in Michigan.
Wolcott Mill
With plenty of trees and land surrounding it, it is a fine spot for a reenactment, especially during the autumn time of year. The temperatures were on the cool side and rain fell off and on for the first part of the weekend, then the sun appeared for Sunday - this really gave it that fall flavor.
It was great that members of both units I belong to - the 21st Michigan and the Michigan Soldiers Aid Society - all camped together in the same row...er, street. Both groups are top notch at living history and the friendships intertwine.
Anyhow, Rod Stewart once said every picture tells a story. Well, as usual, I took plenty of photos, and each one has a story to tell
Here is our "street." Being surrounded by trees and a gristmill gives this event that realism that many locations cannot.
Mr. Smith, the fiddler, kept us all entertained with the fine music of the day
My wife and I had our likeness taken from a traveling photographer. You can see him here setting up his camera on the tripod.
He has us in his sights...
...and here is the outcome of our image. (This is a picture of the tintype - the original is so much brighter and clearer, but, unfortunately, I have no scanner to scan photos.)
Some of the ladies had a quilting bee. Mr. Smith, the talented fiddler, entertained this time with his concertina. He is quite the talented man.
Getting ready to travel into town: Mother holds the mirror while her daughter adjusts her bonnet. 
A young lady spends her Sunday afternoon reading her favorite book, the Bible.
Mrs. Krewer is preparing to take a trip into the city and proudly wears her fancy new traveling dress.
The patriotic men of the 21st Michigan pose for a photograph. It was a tough battle but they survived.
A brother and sister sit quietly to have their image taken. A splash of color was added to give it depth.
A fine cookstove can also be a warming stove on such a cool, damp, fall day. Mrs. Root made a fine beef stew which warmed us greatly on such a cool autumn day.
All of the cooking utensils needed to cook over a campfire or open hearth are here, including a dutch oven and a reflector oven. Notice the fine pumpkin pie that was baked in the dutch oven. Yes, it was delicious!
Citizens from the mill area have their likeness taken
The Lovely Ladies of the milltown gather to share the latest news of the men off fighting in the War
Friends gather at Wolcott Mill to say, "See you next spring," for we know this will be the last big reenactment until May for reenactors here in Michigan. 
Well, at least for some.
Though many store their woolies and dresses away for the next six or seven months, there are those of us who plan to continue our time-travel excursions over the late fall and early winter with period Christmas celebrations (click HERE and HERE) as well as participating in a number of more private friendship gatherings/parlor days that we do for our own pleasure in the late winter and early spring. (click HERE).
And even period dress unit meetings (click HERE).
If you read the above links to a few previous postings from earlier this year and from last Christmas, living history doesn't have to end. There are ways and means to keep it going, whether in your own home (even modern houses look "period" with the right decor and furniture with candle and oil lamps), or by putting together a Christmas of the Past with your local historical society.
Just a little effort can keep our passion for time-traveling alive.
Here's to the fine season of reenactments we just had!
And here's to the upcoming winter season of living history!



Gina @ VictorianWannaBe said...

Hi Ken! When I read your posts, with the old looking photos and period clothing, I truly feel I have stepped back in time. Thankyou for those opportunities for me to do so through your wonderful blog. The mill with its water wheel is so pretty and a great setting. Looking forward to your "parlor days" post. Gina

An Historical Lady said...

Great post Ken. Sure makes you want to be there! Love every single photo~

Historical Ken said...

Thank you Gina.
I appreciate the kind words - that's exactly what I hope my photos do!
Mary -
I wish you could join us some time at a CW event. And then we could join you at a RW event!