I like pretty things. That’s why when I recently visited a preserved village of houses, shops and streets, I was struck by the pretty interior decor. These are original colors, furnishings and buildings restored to the 1860s. For those in driving proximity, it’s called Black Creek Pioneer Village in Toronto.
How about the rich milky turquoise on these walls? The lovely color surprised me. Isn’t this a stunning kitchen? Homesteaders usually started out with a small log cabin as a first home, as quickly as they could clear the trees to make room. This would’ve been their second house, after living off the land for sixteen years–a two-story structure with more expensive furniture.
Here’s my favorite room in another house—the kitchen where the village seamstress took in sewing and made hats. The original log house was built in the 1830s. The kitchen was framed as a later addition in the 1850s. I’m guessing the room is about 15 x 20. The seamstress packed in a lot of interesting activities into this kitchen, and it was definitely the place where she liked to hang out.
Before the invention of interior plumbing, pioneers used what was called a ‘dry sink.’ They looked pretty much like some of our cabinets today, but with no faucet. When they washed dishes, there would be two pails standing inside the dry basin, one with warm soapy water and the other with clear. They did a whole variety of jobs while standing by this window—anything that was messy or needed water. Canning, preserving, handling cheese, washing hair, cutting meat and numerous others.
The dry sink was positioned close to the stove, just as we like today, handy to grab a pot full of hot water or boil potatoes once they’d been peeled. It was interesting to discover that villages like these, beyond the outskirts of a major city, were healthier than most because they had their own water wells. When epidemics like cholera, caused by contaminated water, plagued bigger cities, farms and villages that had their own water supplies were safe.
What’s your favorite room or corner in your house? Is there a special place where you like to read? Have you visited any interesting historical sites?
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