"" Writer's Wanderings: Mini Road Trip - More of Greenfield Village

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Mini Road Trip - More of Greenfield Village

Built in 1871 in Dayton, Ohio, the Wright home eventually became a part of Greenfield Village. I didn't get a picture of the front of the house because it was decorated for the Halloween festivities going on during evenings on the weekends. I was fascinated though in the parlor when I saw the painted walls and the wallpapered ceiling.

Susan Wright never got to see her boys fly. Maybe that was a good thing. As a mother, it could have been very scary. Their father, Milton, supported their bike shop and their experiments with flight. Neither boy went to college but their sister, Katharine, did.

The Sarah Jordan Boarding House built in Menlo Park, NJ, in 1870 was one of the first homes ever to be wired for electricity. Perhaps that's because many of the men who worked at Menlo Park stayed in the home run by the widow, her adopted daughter and a maid. Since Bob is always sensitive to booking a Bed & Breakfast with an ensuite bathroom, I couldn't help but chuckle and point out that this place was definitely not ensuite as indicated by the two out buildings in the back yard.

One of the more unique and unusual homes in the village is the Mattox House. It was built around 1880 in Bryan County, Georgia. The family lined the walls of their home with newspapers to insulate against the cool Georgia nights in the winter. Amos Mattox worked a variety of jobs to provide for his family during the depression--shoemaker, farmer, barber and preacher. His wife, Grace, was known to help feed the needy.

There were several buildings dedicated to educational history. A large log cabin, the McGuffey Schoolhouse and a smaller log cabin, the McGuffey birthplace. Yes, that McGuffey. The one who wrote the readers that have been around for 200 years. Across from the log cabins is a brick building, the Scotch Settlement School where Henry Ford sat next to his friend, Edsel Rudiman. Apparently the boys enjoyed playing pranks and eventually John Chapman was hired as teacher and paid an extra $5 a month to keep the boys in line.

What struck me most about visiting the school was what was said in the recorded information that played upon entering the door. The school was where morality was taught as much as the three Rs. How far would that go today? And is that perhaps where we've fallen short as a society? Enough. Climbing down from soapbox now.

There were so many good things to see. I could go on and on. The print shop, the tin smith, the weaver (where they had a version of a "computerized" loom using punch cards), the pottery, the train yard. Another favorite spot was the general store with all sorts of interesting items that would be for sale in the late 19th century and early 1900s. The store was often the only place that had a phone and was available to the public. Of course how many other people had phones? So who would you call?

We were pretty tired but when we discovered, by way of Facebook, that one of the kids we had watched grow up at church was working for Ford and just around the corner, we couldn't resist meeting him for dinner. And of course, the younger folks know the best BBQ places.

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