Conner Prairie is an Interactive History Park in Fishers, Indiana, about 25 minutes north of Indianapolis.
It is a Smithsonian Institution Affiliations Program. I never realized such a thing existed. Live and learn—which is the idea, I suppose.
Conner Prairie has a welcome center, a nature walk and five main areas: the 1863 Civil War Journey based on the Raid on Indiana, an 1836 Prairietown, the Conner Homestead, the Lenape Indian Camp, and an 1859 Balloon Voyage. It probably goes without saying that this little guy was standing guard in the Civil War Journey. He looked familiar. I wondered if he accompanied Lincoln the day he came to town.
And this handmade canoe was part of the Indian Village. I stopped by there briefly. A young man who couldn’t have been a day over eleven was hefting a tomahawk over his shoulder getting ready to throw it at a target. The target area was roped off, but the spectators were fairly close to the young man’s backside. I didn’t want to be around in the unfortunate event of a backstroke misfire that sent the tomahawk (probably just an axe, really) sailing towards the crowd (or two or three parents and siblings who were watching.)
This little blue wheelbarrow was loaded with hay, just waiting for a small person to come along and interact with it.
The larger blue wagon made a nice lawn ornament.
What would an interactive park be without a petting zoo, or in this case, barn? Isn’t this little girl adorable? I watched her drum up the courage to get close enough to touch the goat, that outsized her by quite a bit. The goat was a patient and tolerant participant, as you can tell by the look on his face.
This little calf was also working at the petting zoo, although I must have caught her at break time.
Even the human animals needed to find a place to rest their back and take a quick break every now and then.
Some of their work was quite challenging.
These pigs were working hard digging a big pit in their pen. I’m not sure why.
And the chicken was standing on the rail keeping an eye on things. Probably a fairly boring job, but somebody had to do it.
It’s more fun to strut around the yard looking important, I imagine.
This blacksmith really was working hard. He spent an awfully long time heating and hammering out a solitary nail. I’m not sure how the pioneers got anything done at this rate.
I really think these guys were just loafing around. I couldn’t see any useful purpose in their activity, unless it was their job to keep the grass trimmed. They were chewing on it quite deliberately.
Isn’t she a doll? I watched her try and try to pick this stick up. She finally got it. Sort of.
This goes without saying. But it illustrates a new and useful purpose for a picket fence.
We had a beautiful day at Conner Prairie. I hope we go back when the trees are in leaf. It will look like a whole new world then, I imagine.
The early morning sun strikes through emerging iris blades and sets them aglow.
The Lenten roses, true to their name, are blooming again.
Larger daffodils are beginning to flower.
Pink hyacinths begin to bloom, their fragrance yet to make itself known.
The garden is coming up green.
And periwinkles carpet the woods across the way.
Even after the coldest, harshest, longest winter, spring, at last, comes again.
Mark and I helped Anna move to Chicago at the beginning of March. Her new company gave her relocation money that included paying for the movers, so we didn’t have to do any of the heavy lifting as we have so many times in the past with her and our sons’ many moves over the years.
We drove to Chicago the day before the moving van was scheduled to arrive, Anna’s car packed with necessary and fragile items.
After arriving at her new apartment and lugging our survival supplies up three flights of stairs,
we headed out and walked a few blocks to Clark Street where amongst the shops, bakeries, and bars, we found Calo’s, a restaurant that served excellent Chicago-style pizza.
Well-armed with paper products, leftover pizza in the ‘frig, and our electronic devices,
we settled in for the evening to wait the arrival of the moving van in the morning.
The weather forecasters were calling for snow. No big surprise this year. You can barely see that the snow had started by morning.
These rear windows to Anna’s apartment tell the story. And the early morning arrival of the moving van became a hopeful wish,
and then a disappointment, as the day dragged on and Anna continued to ask, “Where’s my stuff?”
We passed the time and entertained ourselves with our iPhones in the comfort of collapsible lawn chairs.
Alas, the stuff arrives. It’s packed in boxes.
It’s on the bed,
in the bathroom,
and on every available surface area. But it is here. We spend the rest of the day helping Anna unpack with the goal in mind of emptying and then removing empty knocked-down-flat boxes so she wouldn’t be suffocated by stacks of disarrayed boxes in her cozy apartment. Then we tried out another local restaurant for dinner. In the morning Mark and I head south for home and our plane to Arizona in the morning. (The tickets for the Red’s spring training in Goodyear, AZ purchased before any of Anna’s job-search and relocation were more than a passing gleam in her eye.)
We drove away, leaving Chicago, and Anna who was happily settling into her new home, behind–the yet-to-be-explored possibilities making it all worthwhile.
This post is part of a continuing series - Anna moves to Chicago.
A man is fishing.
A kite flies.
A grebe migrates through.
And Arthur, me, and my shadow are walking again.
It was in the 60s here today.
It’s time, Spring, and we’re all more than ready.
It’s been a long, cold winter here. But the month of March always gives me hope for spring. And this year is no different. Even though white patches of snow still dot the ground, I know winter’s days are numbered.
Yesterday I saw squirrels running through the woods hopping from limb to limb in a kind of feverish ecstasy that enters all of our souls to one degree or another with the coming of spring.
Our first robin is back. (A quick google search will tell you that some of the robins never leave. We, however, have not seen one solitary robin at our feeders the entire winter until the past few days. You can judge for yourself.)
And a red-winged blackbird has been visiting our feeders. (Websites like the Cornell lab of Ornithology will tell you that these birds are here year-round. It also states, “In the North, their early arrival and tumbling song are happy indications of the return of spring.” Again, you can judge for yourself.)
Spring is coming. I can see it in the birds, and feel it in the air.
My husband Mark walks into the study where I sit, still in my pajamas and bathrobe, reading “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn” on my Kindle. Mark is dressed. He shoves his feet into the high-top leather shoes he left there yesterday and bends over to fit his heel into the shoe.
I hear the sounds of coffee-making in the kitchen, followed by the coat closet door opening and closing. Then the outside door opens and closes, and I know Mark is making his morning trek down our driveway and up the private drive for his morning paper that the delivery person leaves at the top of the drive.
Mark has national and local news apps on his iPad and iPhone that he reads throughout the day. He follows the Reds baseball team with MLB.com on his smart devices. He reads long news articles from various sources on his laptop computer at his desk.
But in the morning, he makes his coffee, takes a little walk, sometimes in rain or through the snow, so that he can read his local print newspaper. Just like always.
But for how much longer?
A Scoot and Shoot event.
Being located on the Ohio River just across the water from Kentucky, Cincinnati in particular, and Ohio in general were heavily engaged in the Underground Railroad and former slaves’ journeys to freedom. A small town just north of Cincinnati called Springboro was founded by a Quaker named Jonathon Wright in 1815. The Quakers abhorred slavery and Springboro became actively involved in the Underground Railroad. Quaker and non-Quaker residents of Springboro risked legal consequences from their illegal activity of aiding slaves on their way to freedom. Many of the homes and businesses of these courageous individuals are still standing on or near Main Street in the small downtown strip of Springboro, Ohio.
Unfortunately, even though I had a brochure that described the various buildings, I am not able to match the exact buildings to the descriptions I have. We started the tour somewhere in the middle, later crossed the street, and ducked into the Wooly Bully Yarn Company at one point. Which, by the way, had an awesome selection of yarns. On these Scoot and Shoot events my companions are more interested in taking photographs than in writing journalistic reports. And sometimes I am too.
At 200 South Main Street the Jonah Thomas House has a documented connection to the Underground Railroad.
Jonah was a Quaker and a conductor on the Springboro leg of the Underground Railroad.
I think this is the Joseph Stanton House at 250 South Main Street. According to the Springboro Chamber of Commerce brochure, “This building was a stop on the Underground Railroad which may have been known as the ‘Quilt House.’ Quilts hung in back of the house told runaway slaves it was safe to enter. The basement hiding space extended westward under what is now the side walk.”
I’m patting myself on the back that I was able to bring you two buildings that were involved in the Underground Railroad, but instead of trying to read illegible house numbers, or match my photos to small black and white thumbnails on the brochure, I’m just going to throw in a slide show of some of the buildings and details I saw along Main Street in Springboro. Perhaps you’ll take the walking tour someday if you find yourself in the area.
I don’t know about you, but I have always been enthralled by the idea of an Underground Railroad. The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center stands on the riverfront in downtown Cincinnati and teaches about not only the path to freedom through this area, but also about current locations where freedom is still out of reach. It’s worth a visit if you are in town. Maybe I’ll visit there with my camera, and a notebook, sometime soon and share my identified pictures with you.
Do you live where an interesting part of history took place?