Hello Friends and Family,

Pioneer Living History Museum, Part 3

Link to this year's index by clicking here.

Early in the 1900s, John and Emma Meritt moved their family from Missouri to Arizona, acquiring a 100-acre plot of land near the fairly new Arizona Canal where they established a farm, raising cotton, corn, wheat, alfalfa, grapefruit, oranges, apricots, plums, peaches, lemons, figs, cattle, and sheep. The youngest child was born on the farm and she lived in this house until 2008 when she donated it to the museum. The residence plus the farm buildings were moved to this location where they could be enjoyed by a generation of kids who have no experience with farms.

This stately old Saguaro cactus stands in the front yard — a sight that the family would never have encountered in Missouri. To them, this land must have seemed an alien place.

This is obviously their residence — consisting of three rooms with a large pantry that was later converted to a bathroom. The porch wraps around three sides of the building providing additional space to escape the scorching heat of an Arizona summer. Even in the embryonic urban areas of the state, residents often slept on their porches as a consequence of the heat which continued long into the night.

Eventually, John Meritt wired their house for electricity — note the ceiling lamp in the middle of this room. Another improvement was a solar water heater in the attic, one of the first in Arizona.

Here is the view of the back of the house. The small outbuilding was their "summer kitchen" — separated from the main structure to keep the heat out plus to reduce the danger of a cooking fire spreading to the entire residence.

Here we see the back porch that at one time was enclosed in sections for private sleeping quarters for the aging children. Those separations have been removed so that the house resembles its original configuration.

Here is one of the outbuildings, I believe this was their water tower in which water was stored for the farm. The sons raised pigeons in the base.

This structure was originally the carriage house — later converted to a garage — and now used to store farm machinery.

This small building was probably used for storage.

Close to the residence was the granary which was used to store seed and grain in the interior while chickens roosted on the outside of the structure. Eggs and chickens provided high-quality protein for the Meritt family.

Prior to installing indoor plumbing, the family would have used this outhouse as their bathroom. Note that it is a "three-holer" with one position sitting lower for the kids when they were young. In those days, toilet paper was not a common commodity but old Sears & Roebuck catalogs provided a free substitute.

To be continued...

Life is good.

B. David

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