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Would you spend a few days in the rural 1930s?

Discussion in 'The Home Front Woman' started by St. Louis, Feb 18, 2015.

  1. St. Louis

    St. Louis Practically Family

    Technically I think this thread belongs in a different part of the forum, but I was hoping to float this question in the ladies' lounge first. Then if there's any interest at all, perhaps the moderators would consider moving it (or it'll fizzle out on its own accord!)

    I know a family in Illinois who own a collection of historic log buildings. They've put them together into a little village, complete with a general store, a school house / church, a jail, and a collection of cabins. For years now, a bunch of friends and I have been meeting there once or twice a year to recreate daily life in the 19th century. These events have been a lot of fun and quite educational -- we try to be as authentic as we possibly can, and not to bring in any modern stuff. For me personally, I'm more interested in the 1930s, though, so I was wondering whether it might not be fun to do a depression-era event. I.e., how about recreating a rural village for a few days? I imagine this would include wearing 1930s clothes, cooking 1930s food, and doing 1930s social events & suppers.

    I was just speaking with the daughter of the owner, who would very much like to see us use the village more regularly. So I was wondering whether anyone would be interested in a 1930s daily-life event? There's no electricity and no running water inside the village (you fetch potable, city water from an outdoor pump) and the cabins are fairly primitive. It would really be like visiting the 1930s in every way. The cabins are furnished, but you'd have to bring your own bedding and dishes.

    The event itself shouldn't be expensive, though the family does ask that we pay the insurance costs and reimburse them for water and firewood. For 20 people, that comes to about $20 per adult person.

    Here's a link to the web site: http://www.independencepioneervillage.com/

    I should also explain that the village is about an hour south of Champaign / Urbana, and about 45 minutes east of the Indiana border. I think for people outside the Midwest the easiest way to get there would be to fly to Chicago and drive to the village.

    According to the family, we could have the village for as long as we wanted (i.e., a week or so) but I imagine for most people a few days would be feasible. So what do you think? Would there be any interest in doing something like this?
  2. I can't pretend to commit right away, but I'm definitely intrigued. Add some chickens around the yard, and you might pass it off as my grandparent's farm in Kentucky. ;)

    What time of the year do you hope to do this? Will cabins be shared among the attendees? Where will the (period appropriate) food be coming from? cooking on an open fire? Bastible pots? Wood Stove?

    I'll chew this over with my partner...
  3. Sigh, if I still lived in Illinois I would be there in a nano-second! I would, however, love to see photos and stuff as each event happens!! Though as I look at the map, it's sort of on our way home from Kansas to Indiana......
  4. St. Louis

    St. Louis Practically Family

    About the time of year -- this pretty much would have to be done during reasonably warm weather. Since the cabins aren't insulated it can be too cold in winter. Any time from mid-March through early October would work. Normally the cabins tend to be shared among people who know each other and who want to live together as a family. If we got 20-25 people, then this would break out to about 4-6 per house. Several of the houses have upper floors and separate bedrooms. The one I normally live in is just a one-room log cabin built around 1860.

    Most of the houses do have functioning hearths (what is a bastible pot, by the way??) Folks who live in the houses that don't have an indoor hearth usually cook on an outdoor fireplace nearby. For me, that's the best part of the whole event. I love cooking on a hearth.

    I guess I should also say that there is a modern bathroom attached to a house outside the village, though at night we use chamber pots. The village is nestled among trees, and you really don't know that there are modern structures outside the village confines.

    The food -- we have different solutions for different people. Many of us bring and cook our own food. We do also have a couple of guys who run the village tavern -- they're excellent cooks. But I have no idea whether they'd be interested in cooking for 1930s events. I have a feeling they might enjoy it. They do really good period-correct meals, which they serve in the main store in town.

    I usually teach school, so kids are of course very welcome. And we do sometimes have chickens! It depends on who's driving in and willing to bring them.

    One other thing -- all of the buildings are historic. Most date back to the early 19th century, with one or two a little later.

    For me, being out in the middle of nowhere, listening to the owls and coyotes at night, with a fire crackling in the hearth -- there's just nothing like it.
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2015
  5. Yes! ... providing young children are welcome (toddler age) and depending on the time of year. It actually sounds quite exciting!

    Late summer for us would be out. I may have travel restrictions from my OB coming up, which makes the whole thing phooey as far as my participating. I know I wouldn't be able to travel from mid-June through the rest of the summer, as they don't want you to travel when you are in your last month.

    I would be driving (perhaps sans husband, as he has a heavy work schedule now) from NY state, and it looks like a 12 hour drive, which I think I could do in two days with an overnight stop or two. I've driven to Virginia (8 hours) with the toddler in tow (actually a baby then) and we survived. I'd have to honestly look at the cost of flying. My daughter, since she is now two, is too big for a lap child and therefore I'd need to purchase two tickets; which leans me towards driving.

    So we may be out this year, but it is something we are interested in. :)
  6. That sounds amazing, what a fantastic idea! If I lived in the States, I'd be there. I might look around the see about similar things here in Canada now that I'm thinking about it.

    Please do keep us updated on the process if it goes through!
  7. St. Louis, you may have figured this out on your own by now, but a bastible pot was a big cast iron, covered pot that hung from a metal swinging arm in front of the open hearth. You'd swing it over the fire to cook (obviously) and could swing it back away from it to stir etc. I associate it with old Irish cooking, but I'm sure it was around generally too.

    This pic isn't too good, but it's the only one to really show the the "arm" well.


    Anyway, looking forward to updates on your plans. Still haven't had the chance to talk it over here yet, but also still interested!
  8. St. Louis

    St. Louis Practically Family

    Oh, I see! Interesting. I've never heard that name before, but we do have some of those pots & rigs in the village.

    As to plans -- that would depend one hundred percent on the folks here. We would need about 20 people to keep the village in an affordable range. Technically there's no rent, but the family ask that we pay the insurance costs and reimburse them at least partly for firewood and sanitation. I think the insurance is about $500, so 20 people would pay $25 each. I don't know whether folks consider that a high price? For me, it's about right for 2-4 nights' stay (as I said above, we could stay as long as we liked) but others may have different views.

    If we could get 25 adults, the price would drop to $20 per adult. Kids are free, of course.

    Maybe next year some time? I would be happy to plan it, but as I said, to make this work we'd have to get at least a couple dozen adults.
  9. Ah, sorry I let this drop. Will talk to Carmen about this tonite...
  10. We'd be up for it next year. :)
  11. Fofi

    Fofi New in Town

    I've just stumbled upon this thread while reading through the forums... What a great opportunity! I've been dreamin of such a village for years... Unfortunately I'm not from the US but I'd love to know if you finally managed to organize something? Please keep us informed, I'd so love to read about your experience!
  12. St. Louis

    St. Louis Practically Family

    I'd love to organize an event like that. It's not particularly hard, because I know the family who own the village and find them wonderful to deal with. The problem is that the rental is $500, most of which goes to insurance and water. We would have to get at least 20-30 people involved to keep it affordable. This is especially true because most people would have to fly to Illinois & then rent a car to get to the village.

    I just haven't figured out how to get the word out. I wouldn't know how to get enough people together. The great thing is, we could have the village for an entire week for that rental price. I think that would be very interesting.
  13. Fofi

    Fofi New in Town

    Have you thought about posting an event on the Fedora Lounge Facebook page? Maybe it would reach more people...
  14. Next year might be doable for me. It would be amazing!
  15. That would be interesting!
  16. Helena Grace

    Helena Grace New in Town

    I understand that one would have to pay one's way to it - but what about experience? For instance, I would adore doing something like this, but due to lack of money the only true vintage things I have are some gloves and then some netting for a hat veil thing (I rescued it). So living in a Thirties reenactment thing would be impossible if I were expected to be properly dressed for the decade on my own ability? Just asking - if this even is still active....

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