Monday, January 24, 2011

Plimoth Plantation and Old Sturbridge Village

After leaving Cape Cod We visited Plimoth Plantation, a recreation of the colony C. 1625. The staff are well versed in the history and culture of the time and some are excellent actors. A couple hours spent here gives one an appreciation of the difficulties those folks surmounted.

The Wintertime diets of
the Pilgrims and of
the Native Americans.

Summertime diet

 An English Gentleman,
stranded here for the winter by shipwreck.
Sword, walking stick and dagger leaning on the post

Main Street

All the English colonists
were equipped with armor.

The blacksmith
at his forge.

Immediately adjacent is this recreation
of a Wompanoag village of the time.

Our next stop was Old Sturbridge Village, a recreation of the town C.1840, using mostly historic buildings from that time.

You can ride around the village in this coach.

This is a modern kitchen. Oven in the wall to the right side. Heating was done mostly in open fireplaces like this one, although the revolutionary change to closed heating stoves was underway. The price of cordwood had doubled in twenty years bringing on America's first energy crisis. Sea captains began using English coal for ballast because it found a ready market in America.

Water powered mills like this one could cut about 1000 board feet of lumber a day, about 1/10 what my Grandad produced on his steam powered circular sawmill.

About centered under the mill you can see
the reaction wheel water turbine in action.

Of course, every village had a flour mill, also water powered. It typically ran one day a week and all the farmers would bring their grain. They socialized while waiting their turn, hence the term "milling around" that we still use today. The miller was paid a share of the grain and the rate was set by the State of Massachusetts. No monopoly practices allowed.

Every village still had a blacksmith but a revolution was underway. The blacksmith of Sturbridge used factory-made hinges in his own house. Wrought-Iron sheathed wooden plowshares were being replaced by cheaper cast iron plowshares. Manufactured iron goods were becoming cheaper than a blacksmith's wage. Re-tiring of wagon wheels was a large part of a smith's work by this time.

Another revolution underway was the machine making of cloth. Textile mills were just becoming a big industry in New England.

Farming practices looked much the same
as in 1640.

Oh, for all the gun fondlers of today who want to "take back their country", it was well understood in 1840 that "the right to bear arms" is NOT without limits.

Location:Sturbridge, Ma

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