Wednesday, April 29, 2009

One hump or two?

Thank you, Texas Day by Day! This made our whole morning!

Camels arrive for trial service in Texas

On this day in 1856, a shipload of camels arrived at the Texas port of Indianola. Secretary of War Jefferson Davis had urged Congress to bring the animals from North Africa to help the army in its Indian operations. Major H. C. Wayne sailed to North Africa in the naval storeship Supply in May 1855 and returned with the first thirty-three camels in April 1856. On June 4 Wayne set off with his caravan for the frontier posts. The expedition stopped for a time at Victoria, where the animals were clipped and Mrs. Mary A. Shirkey made camel-hair socks for the president of the United States. At Camp Verde experiments were conducted to test the camels' utility in chasing Indians and transporting supplies. Although more camels were imported, ultimately the experiment failed. Handlers found the animals smelly, obnoxious, and hard to control. Escaped camels roamed the desert for years and got into the folklore of the region.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Pioneer Times Innovation Awards--2009 Grand Prize Winner!

Log Cabin Village and the Log Cabin Heritage Foundation would like to congratulate grand prize winner Marisa Pope from Holy Cross Christian Academy in Burleson!

Kristin Pope (Marisa's mother), Marisa, and
Log Cabin Village Director, Kelli Pickard

Every 4th grade class who visits Log Cabin Village is eligible to enter the Pioneer Times Innovation Awards contest. Entrants are instructed to select from one of the following prompts:

· Students may design their own dream log cabin. This cabin can be as creative and contain as many amenities (historical, not modern—No GameCubes or Satellite dishes!) as the student desires. As the students imagine their dream cabin, have them consider what might make their lives easier or be useful in their small home based on their experience at Log Cabin Village.

· Based on what they learned about frontier living during their visit to Log Cabin Village, students may create an invention that would have made life easier in the 19th century. This invention does not need to be completely grounded in reality; the more fanciful the better (i.e. an automatic chalk-picker-upper for the school)! While it is okay for students’ inventions to be something that actually exists, the design MAY NOT exactly duplicate modern devices (i.e. drawing a Maytag washing machine). The design needs to be original!

Marisa's innovative cabin "destinker" design won her $1100 in savings bonds and the respect of all her peers. Her entry beat out over 500 other extremely qualified candidates! Great job, Marisa!

Marisa's prize-winning entry:

"Do you know how stinky it was in the cabin? In the winter, it was too cold to take a bath! Plus, the days were shorter, so more of the stinky candles were burned for light. I came up with something to make it smell better! First you get some flowers and spices from your garden and dry them. After that, make a fan, pedal, wire mesh, and wooden board. Place the dried flowers and spices on the board. Next, get the wire mesh and put it over the dried flowers and spices. After that, attach the pedal to fan and put it in front of the mesh. Every minute you turn the pedal is another hour of good smell! If you use this great device, you will never have to worry about the terrible stinking again!"

FYI: You can now join or renew your Log Cabin Heritage Foundation membership online!

Friday, April 24, 2009

It just makes cents...

Photo courtesy the U.S. Mint
As many of you have figured out by now, we are log cabin lovers. We love preserving them, we love showing them off, we love rebuilding them, we love teaching about them...and we love seeing artistic renditions of them...especially when these art pieces fit in your pocket.

Now before you think that I'm completely crazy (about cabins), let me explain. The year 2009 marks Abraham Lincoln's 200th birthday. To celebrate, the U.S. Mint is releasing a series of pennies to commemorate Lincoln's life, beginning with a log cabin penny representing his childhood.

Given the down state of the economy, however, the new log cabin pennies have been circulating more slowly than usual. Although released in February, we just saw our first one today!

And boy did we (me) get excited! Thanks to Michael (one of our Village people) for showing it to us...and letting me keep it in my drawer for luck.

It seems like Log Cabin Village should have some sort of promotion to celebrate the log cabin penny. What do y'all think? Ideas? ('ll have to do better than suggesting "one penny" admission... :) )

Thursday, April 23, 2009

On this date in Fort Worth...

Great info courtesy Texas Day by Day:

Seed of modern art museum planted in Fort Worth

On this day in 1892, a group of Fort Worth women received from the state of Texas a charter establishing the Fort Worth Public Library Association, a part of whose stated purpose was "the accumulation of paintings and artistic work of every character for the enjoyment and cultivation of our people. " The resulting gallery was named the Art Gallery of the Carnegie Public Library in 1901, the Fort Worth Museum of Art in 1910, the Fort Worth Art Center in 1954, the Fort Worth Art Center Museum in 1971, and the Fort Worth Art Museum in 1974. The current name was adopted in 1987. The museum, located in the Fort Worth Cultural District, houses the collection of the Fort Worth Art Association. It maintains a well-defined relationship with its two neighbors, the Amon Carter Museum and the Kimbell Art Museum. The Carter focuses on the art of the American West and American art in general until 1940, the Kimbell covers non-Western art and European art up to 1920, and the Modern Art Museum concentrates on European art since 1920 and American art since 1940.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Blogger's remorse (& some Howard pics)...

...also known as, "I really should have posted these pictures yesterday...and blogged about XYZ the day before that...and I hope everyone is still finding this content relevant...did I just do too many Twitter this thing on?"

Sigh. When did social media become so much like dating?

I suppose the dynamics of "making contact" and "keeping someone interested" don't vary that much in personal versus professional relationships. Anyone who's attended a networking event IRL (in real life--see how web savvy I am?) knows that it's just as much of a "dance" as going to the movies with a new friend (or significant other).

Here at the Village, we are trying to forge (no blacksmith pun intended) new relationships every day. When a recent poll indicated that very few museum visitors feel like museum staff actually care about them, we were stunned. Perhaps we've been living in an idealistic bubble, but we feel fortunate to have historical interpreters (our front-line staff) who TRULY love their jobs and truly love engaging our visitors. And our visitors seem to sense this contagious enthusiasm for both frontier life AND those who want to come experience it. We'd be crushed if our visitors thought we didn't care about them.

As the Log Cabin Village museum educator, my job is to help connect people of the present to our shared past. Recently this job has taken the form of social media ("Wondertwin powers...activate! Shape of...Facebook! Form of...Twitter!" By the way...if you don't get that last reference, you're too young. Google "Hall of Justice." :) :) :) ) It's easy to get mired down in one activity or the other. If you ignore your online presence, then you're doing a disservice to those relationships (which range from as close as one block away to as far as the United Kingdom). If you hang out on Twitter all day, then you may not be serving the people right outside your office door.

So how do you strike a balance? Is balance even possible?

All I know is that our visitors (our friends)--both on-site and online--are not just numbers to us. They represent the desire to do more, to teach more, and to reach more. And if we can do that successfully, then I guess it doesn't matter so much whether we've done it through a hands-on cabin or a Facebook update.

By the way, here are some photos of the Howard cabin progress--part of the reason for my remorse (because they should have been posted yesterday!!! :) :) :) ) The rest of the remorse stems from blog posts still churning in my brain, having yet been brought to life. In due time, in due time...

Saturday, April 18, 2009

All Sown Up in progress!!!

Well the weather and other competing events has made our attendance lower than usual at this event...but we're still having a great time! Here are photos...mostly of the blogger/tweeter/Facebooker/educator's wee one. HE had a great do most all kiddos who come to the Village!

Here are photos from today...

Friday, April 17, 2009

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Event reminder...

Just a reminder...we've got special events coming up this week! We'll be here rain or shine...

The roof decking is on!

This has been another busy week for the Howard cabin! The roof decking is on and the cedar shakes (shingles) are on their way! I haven't wandered down there yet today...but I'm sure much more progress has already been made!

Here are photos:

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Howard cabin--the rafters are in!

More great progress on the Howard cabin! The rafters are in and the framing has begun. We continue to be excited as new portions of the structure take shape. It's going to be a beautiful cabin!

Meanwhile our intrepid cabin builders brave wind and smoke from wildfires northwest of here... No one said that cabin reassembly was easy! :)

Here are the latest photos from yesterday and today...

I Pledge Allegiance?

An interesting discussion started in the office this morning: how did the "Pledge of Allegiance" get started? When did its recitation in public schools become commonplace? Was this phase of American history ushered in with the renewed patriotism of the early 20th century (when American flags started being displayed in schools)? Or did it start with our 19th century ancestors?

While the phrase, "under God" has certainly been contentious in recent years, apparently the Pledge has faced controversy throughout its entire history! As I was scouring the internet for information, one fact became crystal clear: no one can exactly agree and most accounts are incredibly biased one way or another. Some consider the Pledge critical to civic engagement. Others maintain that the government doesn't have the right to mandate allegiance to a patriotic symbol. Like all written history, each account carries with it the biases of time, culture, and historian. As each filter is applied, the resulting facts are skewed to the perspective of the writer. Trying to sort out the truth can be maddening! But then again...isn't that what history is all about?

For more information (and what appears to be a fairly unbiased account), please see the embedded link...

A Brief History of the Pledge of Allegiance
The Pledge of Allegiance has been the subject of great controversy over the last few years, but it is not the only time it has been under scrutiny since it was first published by Francis Bellamy in 1892.

Monday, April 6, 2009

It's opening day!

In honor of baseball's opening day, we present this entry from the Handbook of Texas online...

Batter up!

DALLAS-FORT WORTH MINOR-LEAGUE BASEBALL. Dallas entered a professional team named the Hams in the Texas League when it was formed in 1888. The team won the pennant that year, and minor-league baseball was tentatively established in Dallas. As was the case with many minor leagues in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the Texas League's early years were chaotic. Teams appeared and disappeared with great frequency. The Texas League failed to function in 1891, 1893, and 1894 and suspended play in 1898, at the outbreak of the Spanish-American War. In 1899 Dallas did not join the poorly reorganized Texas League when it resumed play. The league again faltered and did not reappear until 1902, when Dallas joined it and struggled to survive as the league warred with the newly formed South Texas League. Finally, in 1907, the stronger franchises of the Texas League and the South Texas League cooperated in forming a reorganized Texas League.

Throughout these years of difficulty, the Dallas franchise underwent a series of name changes. Fans cheered the Dallas Hams, the Dallas Submarines, or the Dallas Steers. Then, as the Texas League matured in the years immediately after World War I, the Dallas franchise became a bulwark in one of the stronger minor leagues in the United States. In 1922 a group of Dallas businessmen, including George and Julius Schepps, purchased the team. The 1920s were the golden age of baseball, and the Steers enjoyed enthusiastic fan support in a highly competitive league. In 1938, during the depths of the Great Depression, George Schepps bought controlling interest in the Steers for $150,000 and renamed them the Rebels. The Rebels did poorly at the ticket window but moderately well in the standings during Schepps's ownership, and in 1948 he sold the team to Richard Wesley Burnett for $550,000. Burnett, who also purchased the Steers' ballpark in Oak Cliff for an additional $265,000, promptly renamed the team the Eagles and the park Burnett Field. Under his brief leadership (he died in 1955), the Eagles flourished. They won three pennants and the Dixie Series, a best-of-seven-games contest between the champions of the Texas League and the Southern Association, in 1953. Burnett also integrated the Texas League in 1952, when he brought David Hoskins to the team and, using the Cotton Bowl as a baseball park, engineered an all-time attendance record of 53,578 for a Texas League game in 1950. Burnett upgraded Burnett Field into one of the best minor-league ballparks in the United States as he sought to bring major-league baseball to Dallas. After his death, his wife and daughters operated the team until 1959, when they sold it to J. W. Bateson and Amon G. Carter, Jr. The new owners transferred the team to the AAA American Association.

In 1960 the Dallas Eagles and their old archrival, the Fort Worth Cats, were combined into one team as the Dallas-Fort Worth Rangers and competed in the American Association. During its years in the association, the team split its home games between Burnett Field and LaGrave Field in Fort Worth. Then, when the American Association disbanded in 1962, the Rangers joined the Pacific Coast League. The Dallas-Fort Worth team competed in the Pacific Coast League in 1963. Fort Worth businessman Tommy Mercer bought the franchise and returned Fort Worth to the Texas League in 1964; Dallas remained in the Pacific Coast League.

During this time when the Dallas and Fort Worth clubs were switching from one league to another, major-league teams were moving to nearly all sections of the country, and expansion franchises were becoming an alternative to a third major league, the Continental League. Throughout this period minor-league baseball remained in the Dallas area, but it was apparent that it was stricken, as local leaders constantly maneuvered to bring major-league ball to the area. In 1965 the Dallas and Fort Worth teams were reunited into the Dallas-Fort Worth Spurs and competed in the Texas League. The Spurs played their games at the newly completed Turnpike Stadium in Arlington, with only mixed success but with good fan support. In 1971 the Spurs joined the AA Dixie Association, and when the Washington Senators moved to Arlington in 1972 to become the Texas Rangers, the Spurs were disbanded.

Minor league baseball thus began for Dallas and Fort Worth in 1888 and ended in 1972. The Dallas team won or shared twelve Texas League pennants, competed in the Dixie Series five times, and won it three times.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Robert Obojski, Bush League: A History of Minor League Baseball (New York: Macmillan, 1975). Bill O'Neal, The Texas League, 1888-1987: A Century of Baseball (Austin: Eakin Press, 1987). William B. Ruggles, The History of the Texas League of Professional Baseball Clubs (Dallas: Texas Baseball League, 1932).
Larry G. Bowman

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Howard cabin--nearing the end of the "log" phase...

Wow! We're already very very very close to having the final logs in place (in fact...they are placing them as I type this)! Here are photos as they draw closer to the end of the log portion of the reconstruction.

Don't worry...there's plenty more to come--including roof framing and assembly, floors, doors, windows, chimneys/fireplaces, stairs/ get the picture!

Fascinating blog series...

For those of you who are Civil War buffs, please check out this five-part series about a well-known photograph. Very interesting stuff!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Special events for April...

April 17, 2009
10:00—11:00 a.m.
Featured story: Covered Wagon, Bumpy Trails by Verla Kay. Follow a family on their covered wagon trip west in this lyrical tale of bumpy trails! $3 fee includes a story, fun activities, and a craft, all geared towards 3-5 year olds. Please call 817-392-5881 to make your reservation (required).

April 18, 2009
1:00—4:00 p.m.
Join us as we undertake spring planting! Plow the field, pump and haul water, scatter some seed, and watch the garden grow. Be sure to visit with The Greater Fort Worth Herb Society while you’re here! Cost is regular Village admission plus a $2 fee to make a craft.

Howard cabin--second story

Great strides are being made on the second story of the Howard cabin! Again...not much new information to add other than photos illustrating the enjoy!