Hello Friends and Family,

Pioneer Living History Museum, Part 2

Link to this year's index by clicking here.

Here we see the carpenter shop for the village, modeled after an 1880 Prescott shop. Today carpenters primarily build or remodel structures — primarily the wood interiors of walls, floors, and roofs. In those days, carpenters also made furniture, cabinets, display cases plus doing repairs on anything made of wood.

Inside the carpenter shop, there are lots of woodworking tools — most of which were donated to the museum. I used to have a small home woodworking shop and I recognize most of these tools even though mine were the modern equivalent. I most admire the lathe which is in the foreground and operated by a wheel in the background turned by a helper or apprentice (mine was powered by an electric motor, of course). This tool is used to "turn" pieces of wood to make round legs, spindles, and even bowls. I think it is great fun to turn pieces — feel free to stop by my house and see the globe stand I made (as a Christmas gift for my dad) featuring turned legs and a large ring encircling the globe.

While I was visually exploring the carpenter shop, the carpenter (one of the volunteers who help provide authenticity to the Museum) entered. Since I was the only visitor in the shop at the time, I was able to chat with him about the shop and what kinds of things he enjoys doing. He, like me, enjoys turning which he was demonstrating on the smaller foot-operated lathe you see here. As you might guess, he has his own modern shop at home but does enjoy employing his skill on the older tools here.

Just outside the carpenter shop was a wagon, perhaps used to carry hay, wood, rocks, etc. This looks like the type of wagon where the driver stands in the front of the bed controlling the horses with long reins. This was probably built by a local carpenter (with help from the blacksmith) many moons ago.

Scattered about the Museum were various farming implements. In 1837, John Deere began making plows more suited for the thick prairie soil. I suspect other companies also went into the manufacturing of agricultural machinery in the same period. Local blacksmiths could handle the repairs but building such tools from scratch would have been a bit of a challenge.

Even Sears & Roebuck sold farm equipment via their ubiquitous catalogs. These items show that the machinery was evolving in complexity as the state of the art progressed in agricultural machines.

I have seen a modern version of this tool used to cut the grass along the sides of country roads. Purely an amateur guess, but it could probably be used to cut hay too.

Wandering about, I entered what you might call the town — the place where the center of commerce would be found. The Hummingbird Hotel and Saloon offered food and drink as well as a soft bed for the night. According to the sign nailed to the window frame to the left of the door, they also offered a gambling room and a billiard parlor. The sign to the right of the door offered "Cold Beer".

Next door to the hotel is the Sheriff's Office as well as the Telegraph Office. That strikes me as an unexpected, but interesting combination.

This building houses a business that, according to their sign, provides shoe and boot repair, buckboard and wagon rigging, headstalls, duffels, and moccasins. The second storefront offers the registration of claims to ownership of mining claims.

The business is the green building is the Oriental Cafe which offers "Gourmet cooking and the food's not that bad either". The attached blue building is the undertaker's business. They had quite a fun time with the sign naming the proprietor "Will E. Plantum, Undertaker". Note that the "Special Funeral" only costs $39.

Here stands the town bank which is used in the gunfight show that occurs later in the day. To the left stands not the "OK Corral" but the "Alright Corral". Snicker, snicker.

Last for today is the Assay Office that would test the ore that miners brought in to determine the content of precious metals such as gold or silver. You don't want to waste your time digging up pretty rocks that turn out to be worthless.

To be continued...

Life is good.

B. David

P. S., All photos and text © B. David Cathell Photography, Inc. — www.bdavidcathell.com