Friday, June 29, 2012
Hale Farm Outing
I would like to share with you a Saturday outing with my older daughter-in-law Janet and youngest grandchild Kylee. A couple of Saturdays ago, we spent the morning exploring Hale Farm Village in Bath, Ohio.
Having been to Hale Farm several times in the past 20 years, it was fun to once again explore the farmstead.
A little history about Hale Farm:
Hale Farm & Village, located in the Cuyahoga Valley near Bath, Ohio, is an outdoor living history museum and a premier collection and property of Western Reserve Historical Society. Daily mid-19th century life is depicted through dozens of historic structures, farm animals, heritage gardens, cooking demonstrations, and demonstrations of Early American craft and trades.
Jonathan Hale - The Settler
In 1810 Jonathan Hale, a farmer from Glastonbury, Connecticut, arrived in the Western Reserve. As a gesture of good faith, Hale guaranteed the debts of a friend in Connecticut. Unfortunately for Hale, the man was not able to settle these debts, thus forcing Hale to pay them. Hale was forced to sell his house and farm in Connecticut, and with $1,250.00 left from his shrunken assets, he purchased 500 acres of land and ventured to the Western Reserve.
Upon arrival Hale found a squatter settled on his property. Respecting the work the man had done, such as clearing the fields and building a cabin, Hale gave him his horse and wagon in exchange for his efforts and hence began the Hale Homestead.
In 1825 Hale began construction a sparkling three-story red brick house using materials from his property. At the time of completion, this was one of only two brick homes in the Cuyahoga Valley. Three generations of the family lived in this house and farmed the property.
Today the entire Hale Farmstead is a Living History.
We began out tour with the cabin that was built on the property by the squatter. Jonathan Hale lived in this house, sending for his wife and several children, while building the large brick home that they would all live in eventually. The bricks which numbered in the thousands were poured and fired right on the property. The walls were double bricked for insulation from the hot summers and very cold winters. This is the original cabin. There was a ladder going up to the attic in which the children in the family would have slept. Very hot in the summer and very cold in the winter. Harsh conditions they all lived through!
There is a chamber pot under the bed, which was the only form of bathroom facility in those days before the outhouse was invented. A younger child in the family would have been responsible for emptying it and placing it back under the bed.
Next, we went over to the spinning and weaving cabin. Outside two volunteers were carding and spinning wool to be used for weaving. We all got the chance to card the wool. The tool looked like two large curry combs that would be used to groom a horse. Another woman was dying yarn in a large pot of boiling water over an open fire. Nuts, berries, onion skins, insects, etc. would have been used to produce the dyes. On the cloths line were examples of dyed wool that the volunteers had produced. The colors were very beautiful and natural looking.
On the other side of the cabin was the candlemaker. He was in the process of hand dipping candles. An average family would use over 200 candles yearly for lighting. These were all made by hand on the farm.
As we had been at Hale Farm for over three hours by then and the temperature was hovering around 90 degrees with hot sun, we decided to call it a day and stopped back at their visitor's center for lunch. We had a pulled pork sandwich and chicken fruit salad sandwiches on a croisant. Very good and reasonable.
We will certainly come back to Hale Farm, maybe in September for their Fall Festival, or one of their reinactments.
If you are planning a trip to Northern Ohio, you might want to consider stopping at Hale Farm for a Day. There is so much more to see than we got to explore in our short time there. This past winter we all participated as an extended family in one of their Lantour Tours at night. They give you a real lighted candle lantern to explore the village and at evrey stop a new scenario unfolds with volunteer actors in costumes speaking as they were really living in those times. It was a Christmas Eve program. Lots of fun and with 20 relatives in our group, lots of stores to tell afterwards.
Until next time,
Rosemary, Garden Gate Designs
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