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Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Historical villages



I admire historians, the keepers of history.  I work with the young man who directs our local historical society.  He and I were sorting old records one Saturday, several years ago.  There was no usual chatter that day, he was quite distracted.  I joshed him good naturedly and he just exploded:  I found his invoice! I knew he designed this building, but I couldn’t prove it, and now I’ve found his invoice!  The building is my town hall, the BostonTownship hall, the architect was John Eisenmann, rather famous in his day, and the stick style building was erected in 1887. His research led to an historical marker from the State of Ohio for the building, but I really smile about that happy historian on a Saturday morning.

Nearby to us are Century Village in Burton, Ohio and Hale Farm here in the valley.  They are collections of structures so typical of the Connecticut Western Reserve; farm houses, barns, school houses.  Hale Farm has grown to national prominence since its acquisition a decade or so ago by the well funded Western Reserve Historical Society; many buildings of local significance have been relocated to the grounds and exhibits change constantly.  Century Village remains a charming snapshot of a place in time.

Over the weekend we went the west side of Cleveland to see a quilt show.  On the way I spotted an inelegant little sign, Frostville:  Event Today, and knew we must stop there on the way back.  And, we did. Frostville is an historic village in the making, organized, according to a diagram of the structures currently in place, by the Olmsted Historical Society.  

The buildings are arranged around three sides of a square, and we traipsed through a muddy parking lot to look around.  Perhaps the event was just getting underway; the organizers seemed disorganized.  They were more underfoot than anything, but we persevered, looking at their old buildings. Jan and I observed, from the number of husbands in evidence on the grounds, the Olmsted Historical Society was where the male members went to build stuff.  We had to smile, what with men with stuff to do and women in costumes and little to do, until a crowd might appear.



Father Frost stood at one turn of the road, and told Laura and Emily they would ask for shoes for Christmas if they were 19th century children and that would be the only gift they would receive.  Shoes cost one month’s wages. Jan and I caught up with them and rescued them from a pedantic historian who did have candy canes to pass out.

Up one side of square, across the top and down the other we looked at the six old farm houses and cabins on the site.  The best display, in all its hope and enthusiasm, was on the far leg of the U shaped road. Site of the schoolhouse the men would build. 


We added to the collection box.


And so, home.  The parking lot was filling with patrons coming to support Frostville, a good sign.




19 comments:

  1. You really capture that happy young historian for me...

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  2. Nothing like a smile on a historian face! The building is lovely.

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  3. Looks like you had a fun outing ;-)

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  4. Amazing what one can find in their own back yard and appreciate and learn from as well.

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  5. Sadly, they don't build 'em like that anymore.

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  6. Looking forward and back at the same time...Janusville would be more appropriate!
    Jane x

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  7. Nice that the kids are interested...although...shoes for Christmas in this day and age would probably be looked at askance.

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  8. Just wonderful buildings. I love history.

    I like to stand quietly and listen in case there are voices of the past. Your friend and you are making that happen by compiling history for the future.

    Thanks.

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  9. I do love visiting historical villages. Thanks for taking us with you.

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  10. What a wonderful outing. While at school I did not like history believing it to be all about dates. I know now that history is about people and how they lived and am fascinated by it. I do wish it had been better taught when I was young.

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  11. I'm like Elephant's Child, a latecomer to the appreciation of history. And I keep asking myself, as she has done, why schools couldn't do a better job of making it interesting!

    Well, you're doing your part to help us catch up :)

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  12. Beautiful old buildings and a happy historian. Thanks for the tour - and I didn't even get muddy.

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  13. Imagine children asking for a pair of shoes for Christmas now!

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  14. I would love to visit your area! Such history.

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  15. What a wonderful virtual trip you took me on. Love it!

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  16. Olmsted - I assume Frederick Law, the landscaping designer. We just visited a big project of his - Biltmore House.

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  17. I loved this little snapshot of a historical village. Going back in time, even for a day, always reminds me to slow down my pace and enjoy life as it comes.

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  18. A great post and photo, Joanne! I love history of villages and towns.

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