Saturday, August 08, 2009

Living History: the Ranch House

Ben Hansen and his crew should be happy -- I am totally dependent upon The Courier to keep abreast of events that might inspire interesting posts. And thus I learned of Living History at Sharlot Hall Museum; mind you, I've lived hereabouts more than 26 years, attended many fetes at the museum grounds, but had been completely unaware of the Living History programs. Second Saturday of every month, FYI, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Volunteers in period costume to describe life in pioneer days and answer questions.

With a brief respite from the terrible heat, I didn't mind walking down the hill to the museum -- and here's where I started: the Ranch House, one of three small log cabins. It was built in the 30s, under the guidance of Dame Sharlot herself, per the sign below.

Two volunteers were present to answer any questions I might have; I suspect they had a presentation as well, but I was an audience of one, intent upon getting pictures. Hardly the glamour girls of the local Victorian Society or the Shady Ladies, but then the women represented here dealt with more basic matters of survival in an unforgiving wilderness world.

One volunteer decided to step out; she nearly forgot to put on a hat! Bad form...

The table, chair and kitchen cabinets in the background. Note the leather strips that form the seat of the chair.

Isn't that tinwork absolutely the greatest? The piercings allowed a certain amount of air circulation in the cabinet. Below, a food and utensil storage cabinet, including a coffee grinder and simple earthenware containers.

The dry sink.

And look at that honey of a cookstove; I'll bet that corner on the far side of the stove was warm and cozy in the winter! The fireplace (below) supplemented the stove, both for cooking and for heat.

The bedstead, covered with a quilt in the pine tree pattern; below is a braided rug and a sewing/knitting basket. And all this living in one small room.


Anonymous said...

The piece with the tin work is called a Pie Safe. The women would put their pies inside to cool, and the flies couldn't get at them.

When I lived in Phoenix, I wanted a pie safe. But, the ones in the antique stores were well over $1,000 each, and looked just like the one in the Sharlot Hall Ranch Cabin.

I found a modern pie safe in a Mesa oak furniture store for under $500, and still have it today. The tin work does not compare to the old originals, though.

~Anon in AV.

Steve said...

Interesting post. I bet they were happy that you stopped by. You didn't mention their names. Were they shy about being named in your blog?

Both my Grandmother's had many rugs like those.

Anil P said...

Most interesting I haven't seen tin work grace cupboards so.

I was intrigued by the cookstove, seems like quaite a bit of engineering went into it.

Curious to know what's the dress they're wearing called.

Lovely little tour.

Granny J said...

Thank you, anon av, for that intel. I tried The Google but didn't have the right words to get further information. Imagine how many pies that cabinet would hold! Yummy!

Steve -- As you may have noticed over theyear, I do very little IDing of individuals unless they are professionals who can take advantage of the publicity.

anil -- cookstoves were indeed well designed to deliver both ambient heat and cooking heat -- beautiful old iron works! As for the dresses, I gues syou would simply call them house dresses.

Lucy said...

I love the longer interior shots particulalrly, they look like paintings. You#ve given me an urge to go and visit a flok museum quite near that I picke dup a flyer for the other day.

Interesting about the hollyhock volunteers. We see the flowers sometimes down the central reservation of the motorways, I wonder if there is something similar here?

And I'm very envious of your big eyed moth!

Granny J said...

lucy -- I'm most happy to have decided it was time for museum photos; I've got some wonderful things in my archive. As for the hollyhocks, I'll be yours are volunteers too -- and if they aren't this year, they will be next year and the year after that. The moth ... dumb luck (and such luck!)

Avus said...

Interesting post, Granny. My own Granny had a stove very similar to the one pictured. She religiously black-leaded it once a week. It slow cooked a wonderful casserole.

Granny J said...

avus -- I am presuming that somewhere in that stove's innards is a big oven?

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