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Showing posts from November, 2008

Chapman Family Home (formerly known as John Chapman House)

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Originally built in 1860 in the same city that Greenfield Village is in - Dearborn. Throughout the decade that the Village was open, Henry Ford had many projects going on at the same time, adding structures numbering in the 60's. While he was adding to his Village, it seemed he nearly forgot a home brought here back in 1929 - the home of a former school teacher who once taught at the Scotch Settlement School ( http://gfv1929.blogspot.com/2008/08/scotch-settlement-school.htm ), John Chapman. Mr. Chapman is said to have been Henry Ford's first teacher as Ford himself wrote so on the back of a photograph of Mr. Chapman. Others disagree and say a Miss Emilie Nardin, who roomed with the Ford family, was. Still others suggest it might have even been a Mr. Frank Ward. I believe we'll go with Henry's memory - after all, it was Chapman's home that he installed in Greenfield Village, not Nardin or Wards'. Mr. Chapman kept his pupils from 9 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. daily wit

Weaving Shop (formerly known as Cotton Gin Mill, Textile Mill, Textile Shop)

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This building, built in 1840 and 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. A hundred years after it was built it found itself in its new and permanent location north inside of Greenfield Village. When it was initially rebuilt inside of the Village, the first floor remained open, but by 1944 the lower level had been enclosed. It now houses old weaving machines that date from the colonial period through the 19th century, and are demonstrated by skilled weavers. An experienced fly shuttle loom weaver can produce about a foot of fabric an hour. Also on display are a modern electric powered loom and knitting machines. Today, the process of weaving cloth is demonstrated, from colonial hand methods to 20th century power looms. Presenters demonstrate the skill of weaving on a c

Pottery Shop (formerly known as Fairfield Rice Mill)

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Once situated on the Fairfield Plantation at the Waccamaw River near Georgetown, South Carolina, this building housed the threshers, grindstones, shafts, and pulleys needed for the miller to do his job of threshing the grains of rice. William Alston had erected this brick building 1787 ( Fairfield Web Site ).  Once situated on the Fairfield Plantation at the Waccamaw River near Georgetown, South Carolina, this building housed the threshers, grindstones, shafts, and pulleys needed for the miller to do his job of threshing the grains of rice. A rice huller or rice husker was an agricultural machine used to automate the process of removing the chaff and the outer husks of rice grain and, although I have no positive proof of this, was more than likely used in this building. ~The master pottery maker working at his craft~ The building is now the pottery shop where visitors can watch artisans complete the traditional process of making pottery, from mixing and forming the cla

Wright Cycle Shop

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"It was December 17, 1903, a cold, windy day on the sand dunes at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. Two inventors stood by the aeroplane they so carefully made. The engine was started and the over-sized bicycle chains began to turn on the two specially designed bicycle sprockets. The bicycle spoke wire used to hold the wings taut was checked. The modified bicycle hubs on the skid were pushed back and forth by the wind. Orville lay down on the aeroplane and braced himself. Wilbur held onto the end of the wings to steady the aeroplane. A restraining wire was released, and the engine and propellors increased in speed. The aeroplane began to go forward then started into the air. The machine took off on its own power for twelve seconds and 120 feet. The bicycle and aeroplane builders had done what no man had ever done before - Orville had flown in a heavier-than-air machine on its own power with a safe lift off and touchdown." (From the book " The Wright Brothers: from Bicycle to B

Wright Brothers Summer Kitchen & Outhouse

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When Henry Ford purchased the Wright Brothers home for relocation to Greenfield Village, he also bought their summer kitchen and the outhouse as well. A summer kitchen was a separate entity from the main house, used mainly in the warm weather months for cooking as it was too hot to cook big meals inside the house during the heat of summer in the days before air-conditioning. Orville arranged with his father to use the small out-building for his printing endeavors (during the cool winter months he used the dining room inside of their home). At one point he darkened the tiny building and used it to develop photographic slides. ------------------------------- Have you ever noticed that there is usually a small, shed-like structure off to the back of these historically restored homes? That under the beds in their bedrooms are porcelain bowls? Have you ever noticed that homes from the early part of the 20th century and before do not have indoor bathrooms? Mr. Webster defines this st

Wright Brothers Home

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Transplanting the birthplace and home of pioneer aviators, Wilbur and Orville Wright, as well as their Cycle Shop, to Greenfield Village in 1938 was one of the most significant projects of the 1930's. Originally built in 1871 and located at 7 Hawthorne Street in Dayton, Ohio, Henry Ford and Orville Wright were heavily involved in the restoration process and wanted every minute detail to be perfect to the year 1903, the era of their first airplane flight. Orville (b. 1871) and Wilbur (b. 1867) grew up in this house along with their sister Katharine. In fact, Orville and Katherine were born here. The brothers added the front porch; on a neighbor's lathe Wilbur personally turned the big posts and Orville made the small turnings. They also re-made and rearranged an inside stairway in the sitting room, along with other changes to the house. The following two photos are of that same stairway and of the sitting room itself. The opposite view in the sitting room The home was up-to

Ackley Covered Bridge

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"At one time covered bridges were as much a part of any journey as are today's traffic signals." So says noted Americana historian Eric Sloane. Henry Ford knew this and when the opportunity arose to have one placed in his ever-growing Village, he didn't think twice. Seven miles from William McGuffey's birthplace, near West Finley Pennsylvania, one such bridge spanned what was then known as Enlow's Fork of Wheeling Creek. It was built in 1832 by Daniel and Joshua Ackley, from whose land the great oak timbers came. There was much help from the men of the community in its construction. One can actually see, feel, and hear what it was like to cross Ackley Bridge by horse and carriage Forrest Samuel Ackley writes about the Bridge... This account comes from Adolphus W. Ackley’s “The Book” which is a family genealogy written and compiled by “AW” for his heirs and the family. The Ackley Covered Bridge How it was Built and a little History  In November 19

Adams Family Home Mourning Presentation

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Full mourning dress (right) and second stage mourning at the Adams Home ( All photographs were taken by me at the Adams home except the one of male mourning ) The death of a loved one in the 19th century was treated far differently than it is today. During Memorial Day Weekend (known at Greenfield Village as Remembrance Day ), 1860's era mourning is presented inside the Adams House. One must understand that death happened quite frequently during the Civil War, and not only due to the battles; more Civil War soldiers on both sides died of disease than getting shot ( a total of over 600,000 men died either in battle or of disease during the four years of the war). Too, infant mortality rate was extremely high, in some cases nearly 30%; death during childbirth was the number one cause of a woman's death; and then there were the "everyday" causes: consumption (TB), influenza, cancer, pneumonia, dysentery, etc. As you can see, death during the 1860's was so