Sunday, November 2, 2008

Adams Family Home (formerly known as Adams House and George Matthew Adams Birthplace)

This birthplace of George Matthew Adams (1878 - 1962), the son of a Baptist minister, was built in 1833 in Saline, Michigan, and was reconstructed inside Greenfield Village in 1938. George grew up to become a well-known newspaper writer, and Henry Ford took great pleasure in the inspirational writings of his faith-oriented "Today's Talk" column. On several occasions, Adams visited Greenfield Village and stayed in his childhood home while there. Many of the furnishings are original to the home.

Front Parlor looking toward the back parlor

The Adams home, as presented in the Village of late, represents life as lived in the 1870's, around the time of Adams' birth. In the decades following the Civil War, middle-class Americans bought mass-produced goods that poured from the factories of a rapidly industrializing nation. Nearly every room of this house exhibits the comfort and luxury the industrial revolution brought to the Victorian family; they walked upon machine-woven rugs, sat on machine-cut chairs, drank from machine-pressed glassware, and hung machine-printed lithographs on the walls. The handwork of the lace doilies, embroidered tablecloths, and sketches done by Mrs. Adams indicate the increased amount of leisure time for women and how they chose to spend it.
The front parlor of this home were formal and would have been used for entertaining guests, weddings, and funerals.

Front Parlor

The back parlors were places for the family to relax.

Back Parlor looking toward the front parlor

The melodeon, seen below, must have given the family many evenings worth of entertainment.

Back Parlor

Of course, the dining room was as elegant as a typical middle class family of the 1870's could have. The hanging oil light in the photo below could be pulled lower to the table by a pulley if the user needed a brighter light.

Dining Room
Dining Room

Another fine example of historic presentation done right, Greenfield Village has period-dressed presenters cooking on the period stove in the kitchen while explaining to the patrons about life in the later Victorian era for the woman of the house. This house always seems to have that aroma of good food floating in the air.

The scent of home cooking fills the air in the kitchen

The wood stove is actually used to cook the docent's dinner and supper

At Christmastime the house is decorated very appropriate to the period.
On a personal note, the Adams house is perhaps my favorite house in the Village mainly due to the fact that it is a house that I could see myself living in had I been around back then. It is very typical of a middle class home of the 19th century and, to me, it just feels like I'm "home" every time I enter it.
I hope they continue the presentations here.

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