Thursday, September 16, 2021

Greenfield Village 2021: The Summertime Visits

Summertime summertime USA,  as the old song by the Pixies Three goes:
School is out and we're glad that we passed,
summertime is here at last...
And there are few places I'd rather spend my summers than at historic Greenfield Village,  that amazing open-air museum filled with not only historic homes from the 1600s through the 1930s,  but of presenters who bring the past to life by doing chores of the season as well.  My visits are nearly always wonderful and I have learned so much.  I've also shared my historical research with presenters as well - most of the presenters and I have a mutual respect for each other's knowledge.  And I have to say that it was the workers at the Daggett House and,  to another extent,  Firestone Farm,  that have taught me much in my visits over the years;  presenters such as Roy,  Sharon,  Larissa,  Gigi,  and numerous others I give credit to in helping to garner my interest in period farm activities and chores along with daily life in the past.
You see,  it was by my frequent Greenfield Village visits over the past nearly 40 years that really helped me to understand more completely the Seasonal  activities and chores of the past,  which do not always coincide with our 21st century seasonal activities.
Yes,  I've been going to Greenfield Village with my wife for 38 years as of 2021  (and I even visited before that,  but not quite as often).
Now,  for today's posting you will find my 2021 summertime excursions,  dropped here month by month.  Even though most of September is technically a part of summer,  the general consensus tends to lean that fall begins on the first of that month,  and judging by the leaves on the trees,  the usually cooler days and nights,  and the way the shadows from the sun lay,  I will have to agree that the celebration of fall can begin at that point and I will leave September,  October,  and November for a later post.
Shall we,  then,  begin our summertime journey to Greenfield Village with June?
Patriotic fervor begins in earnest as the calendar turns from May to June.  
Clip-clopping through the streets lined with historic homes of the past is one of the best ways to see the Village.

The tavern  (on the right)  and the general store.
I have visited the original locations of  these two structures.
Over the past couple of years I've been making it a point to visit the original locations of the local structures that have been removed to the Village.  I have visited most but I still have a few more to go.
You will see a blog posting about it probably sometime over the winter here on Passion for the Past.

The weaving shop  (1840)  and the pottery shop  (1787)  across the pond.
The weaving shop,  on the left  (originally from the Richmond Hill plantation in Bryan County,  Georgia),  once housed cotton gins used for separating the seeds from the cotton.  At that time,  most of the first floor was open,  allowing access for horses to the drive mechanism for the gin.
The pottery shop,  on the right,  was 
originally situated on the Fairfield Plantation at the Waccamaw River near Georgetown,  South Carolina,  and once housed the threshers, grindstones, shafts, and pulleys needed for the miller to do his job of threshing the grains of rice.

Few places show farming past better than Firestone Farm.
You always know what chores are done not only per season,  but per month...and sometimes even per week,  just as would have been done in the 1880s.

Larissa was out picking raspberries on this June day.

I saw this and it looked like a painting.
Yes,  the farmers at Firestone will oftentimes purposely leave certain equipment and tools out in the fields to help create a bit of a scenario.

What would a visit be to Greenfield Village be without a stop at the Daggett House,  my particular favorite?  I cannot remember not stopping here at least for a walk-through each time.

Roy,  Chuck,  and Jan - the welcoming team at Daggett.
As we move into later June we see preparations for the Great American Holiday occur,
such as not only the buntings  'neath the Ford house windows, 
but in their flowers as well.

And colorful red,  white,  and blue ribbons tied upon the tree branches.

Cindy is always happily greeting visitors into the Ford home.

The house where Orville & Wilbur Wright were born,  originally in Dayton,  Ohio, 
stands patriotically majestic inside Greenfield Village.

Even JR Jones decorated the front of his store.

The Smiths Creek Depot,  a stop along the train line in which Thomas Edison rode
daily as a youth,  as it now sits inside the Village.
One would think it was the 4th of July with all of the red,  white,  and blue.
Ahhh...but that holiday is coming up next - - 

Let's revisit the 4th of July - America's birthday celebration!
Now,  I did an Independence Day post back in July when a few of us visited Greenfield Village while wearing our period clothing,  as I've done for years.  But what I plan to show here are a few photos that were not part of that posting:
Well,  someone delivered this broadside to me.
The colonies are declaring their independence!
They need to win the war first.

As a member of the Provincial Congress and leading Whig in Sudberry,  I felt it my duty to read the declaration to the local citizens.

Could this be Anna Daggett and her son Isaiah?

My best
I see there's plenty of work to be done in the fields...

A few of the ladies gathered in the garden.

Jackie stops and smells the was such a busy day!

Later in July...
The Ford home -
This was the home in which Henry Ford was born in 1863.
I've also been to where this building originally stood.

Back to Daggett in late July.

I took this picture looking through one window to see out another.

The back kitchen garden is really flourishing.

Since this Cotswold Cottage is from 17th century England and was not moved to these shores until the 1930s,  this could be an English scene from the later 18th century.

This was taken from inside the Logan County Courthouse looking across the Village Green toward the JR Jones General Store.

The Henry Ford  (Greenfield Village)  recently acquired the Vegetable Building that was once a part of Detroit's Central Farmers Market,  originally built in 1860 and opened in 1861, saving it from demolition.  Like the farmers markets of today,  the Detroit Central Farmers Market was a gathering place – a commercial center,  a hub of entrepreneurship and a community space where family,  friends,  and neighbors congregated and socialized. 
The Vegetable Building from Detroit's Central Farmers Market as it looked in 1888.
Due to the acquisition,  this farmers market will once again become a destination - a resource for exploring America's agricultural past,  present,  and future.
In the above pictures we can see the rebuilding of Detroit's Central Market as it looked in late July.
And in the photo below we see how it looked in early September:

It's exciting to have a new-old structure coming to Greenfield Village.  It's been since June of 2000 that the last historic building,  the Detroit,  Toledo,  & Milwaukee Roundhouse,  officially opened there.
I am so excited to see how it will be utilized,  especially in the fall.  Wouldn't it be cool for them not only to sell heirloom vegetables there,  but heirloom vegetable and flower seeds as well?
We'll find out in spring 2022,  for that's when it will be ready for its grand opening!

Let's move up to the next month:
There is always a hint of fall in early August.  In fact,  August begins with an important day in the farming calendar:  Lammas  (or Loaf Mass)  Day,  the day in the Book of Common Prayer calendar when a bread loaf baked with flour from newly harvested corn or summer wheat would be brought into church and blessed.  It's one of the oldest points of contact between the agricultural world and the Church.
Many colonial farmers celebrated the holiday  (or holyday,  as these special days of celebration or worshiping were called)  on August 1st,  which marked the first major harvest of the beginning fall season.  Even though it is still technically summer,  August was,  at one time,  also considered one of the months of harvest time.  As such,  Lammas Day was a sort of Thanksgiving, and so it remained for many colonial families until a national Thanksgiving Day was proclaimed toward the end of the 18th century. 
On a colonial-era Lammas Day,  it was customary for the head of the household to bring to church for a blessing the first loaf of bread made from the new crop,  which began to be harvested at Lammastide,  which falls at the halfway point between the summer solstice and the autumn September equinox – roughly being August 1st.  That loaf was then used as the center of the family’s Lammas Thanksgiving feast. 
Lammas Day is still somewhat celebrated in England and throughout the British Isles and elsewhere throughout the world,  though it is a forgotten holyday by most here in America  (though a variety of Pagan religions also still celebrate it).
So it is on this Lammas Day we look at the Loranger gristmill. 
Henry Ford purchased this 1832 building,  originally located on Stoney Creek near Monroe,  Michigan,  and it was one of the few structures moved to historic Greenfield Village in Dearborn,  Michigan without prior disassembly.

Meanwhile,  over at Firestone Farm,  the chores continue on~
We see Tom mounding potatoes at Firestone Farm.

The Firestones had a kitchen garden as well.

Some of the late summer harvest in the Firestone Cellar.

Tom is carrying pig feed,  I believe...
Firestone is a real working 1880s farm where the chores of men and women can be seen as would have been done by the season.

The corn is a-coming up rosy on this late August day at the Ford Farm!

Looks like Tom Turkey decided to roam about the Village.
Thanksgiving's a long ways off!

Here we see the hearth from the Plympton House,  of which a brick near its center is dated from 1640,  telling us when it was built.  The wooden structure that is constructed around this fireplace,  however,  is from the early 1700s,  erected after a fire destroyed the original house,  the hearth & chimney being the remaining remnant left of the original.
This is the hearth from the Plympton House.
Pay close attention next time you are in the Plympton House and let your historical knowledge run away with your imagination,  for as you notice the  "…nest of iron pots of different sizes,  a long iron fork to take out articles from boiling water,  an iron hook with a handle to lift pots from the crane,  a large and small gridiron with grooved bars and a trench to catch the grease,  a dutch oven  (or bake pan),  skillets of different sizes,  a skimmer,  skewers,  a toasting iron,  tea kettles,  a spider  (or flat skillet)  for frying,  a griddle,  a waffle iron,  tin and iron bake and bread pans,  ladles of different sizes,  brass kettles of different sizes for soap boiling, &c.,"  you may also  "notice"  by way of historical imagination the once familiar scents of herbs drying,  a suet pudding bubbling on the hearth,  possibly ducks roasting,  perhaps a meat pie or a stew hissing,  or maybe even the less alluring aroma of milk souring into cheese and the continual process of drying out baby flannel.
As for the bricks,  Henry Ford's chief architect,  Ed Cutler,  mentioned upon tearing the house down to be shipped to Greenfield Village:  "They were all little old hand-made bricks.  Of course,  to an ordinary person,  a brick is a brick,  but these were little hand-made things and were crooked as the dickens...there were four of them that had markings on them.  I think one was 1640,  and the other was W. X. P.  In erecting the fireplace,  I put those things  (the marked bricks)  right in the front so they could be seen.  That was not quite like the original,  but we wanted those bricks to be the center of interest."
Yes,  this unassuming house,  painted in red,  has plenty of stories within its walls.

And just past the Plympton House we find,  once again,  the Daggett House from the mid-18th century.
On this cloudy summer day,  we find Jan a-waiting visitors in the Daggett doorway. 
That is the Farris Windmill to the right.  Named after the Farris family,  who ran this mill for three generations,  this windmill,  built in 1633,  was once the oldest on Cape Cod  (in Massachusetts).  It now stands at the southeast end of Greenfield Village.

Jan and the others work consistently in the kitchen garden. 
I love when they will give a tour of the heirloom plants.

The table in the Daggett parlor.
I see a horn cup,  a leather cup,  a pewter plate,  a teapot,  a rush light with
a candle,  playing cards,  and a pipe.

Here we see another rush light in the parlor of Daggett.

Inside the Daggett parlor a few of what may remind one of the  lady of the house's
treasures a-top of the cupboard..

And we have Roy working the shave horse.

So I did something I've been thinking about doing for quite a while:
I,  for the first time,  turned a couple of my blog posts into a book!
As you may know,  I have this infatuation for the Daggett House - that  "saltbox"  built about 1750 and presented as in the 1760s.  In my book I included a ton of pictures  (smaller than I'd like,  but...)  and a tightened text taken directly from two postings I published in this Passion for the Past blog  (HERE and HERE). 
I wanted to show my friends who work in the historic home,  so I brought it along with me.  I mean,  what better place to take a photo of the book than inside the house it is about?
No,  it is not for sale.  It was a bit expensive to do,  and it took me quite a long time to research and write what I have.  How can I put a price on that?
I wanted to have a concise collection of Daggett information at my fingertips,  and that's why I did it.
Pretty cool.
We'll end our summertime visits to Greenfield Village there.  September began a new month,  and,  yes,  a new season,  and,  of course,  I will have a slew of new photos of my fall time there.
But you'll have to wait until December for that one.
In the meantime,  until next time,  see you in time.

 ~   ~   ~


Olde Dame Holly said...

Greenfield Village could be called "The Williamsburg of the Midwest!" I had never even heard of it until I was lucky enough to find your blog. What an incredible place! Thank you for documenting your year so beautifully and sharing these summer memories.

Historical Ken said...

Williamsburg and Greenfield Village pretty much opened up around the same time-period. In fact, Williamsburg asked Henry Ford if he would financially sponsor Williamsburg's restoration but he declined because he was working on Greenfield Village.
You should come to Dearborn and visit it - it is truly an amazing place.

Lady Locust said...

Wow! Lots going on. That is an incredible building to move and what a great addition to the village. Congrats on your book even if it's not for sale. It's an example of something you enjoy and can be passed on. It probably seems crazy to you, but I think the Plympton House suits me. We could be neighbors :0) So many amazing pictures - everyone looks like they are enjoying themselves.