Hello Friends and Family,

Pioneer Living History Museum, Part 7

Link to this year's index by clicking here.

The center of most western towns was the Community church. This structure was reconstructed patterned after St. Paul’s Methodist Episcopal Church from Globe, Arizona. The original church was torn down in 1927 and the property sold.

The reconstructed church was painstakingly crafted based on church records, original photos, newspaper clippings, personal interviews, and over 1500 hours of research. The church holds Sunday services and is available for rent as a wedding venue.

Two of the original pews were donated to the museum and were used as patterns for the replicas seen here.

Every country church had a bell with ropes hanging down by which it was rung to notify residents that it was time for Sunday services. I still remember visiting my grandmother who lived out in the county at which time I was invited to pull the rope attached to the bell — quite exciting for a youngster.

Nearby the church is the one-room schoolhouse. As most know, all the grades were together in this one room but were taught grade-specific material by the teacher while the others studied or did homework on their own. This structure also reminds me of my grandmother who taught three grades in a slightly larger schoolhouse. I was able to go with her to school a few times when I had a break from school while her students were still in session.

The pay for a schoolmarm was not very good — the community probably couldn't afford much. However, they often provided a home for the schoolmarm to live in as well as providing farm produce — vegetables, chickens, eggs, milk, etc. to offset the meager pay.

Here we see the town's cemetery.

If you look closely, you may note that these tombstones are not those of the old town's fictitious deceased residents but former employees, interpreters, and benefactors — their actual gravesites are actually elsewhere but these are quiet tributes to folks who helped create and maintain the museum. What a nice gesture!

Continuing my walking tour, I encountered a well — telling me that I was approaching another homestead containing a couple of nice surprises.

The first surprise was that the residence was a true log cabin. Note the logs notched near the end interlocking with its 90° partner. Logs this thick probably kept the dwelling warm in the mild winters and somewhat cooler in the hot Arizona summers.

The biggest surprise was the farm wife, posing for a portrait. Actually, she was a model and was here with a photographer for a photo-shoot. I arrived just as they were finishing up and we chatted while the photographer was loading his gear in his station wagon (an antique by today's standards but an anachronism nonetheless) and she agreed to let me take her picture. It turned out quite nice and I really appreciate her willingness to pose for me.

To be continued...

Life is good.

B. David

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