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Saturday, October 10, 2009

Sister's Day

Whenever one of my sisters or I have a birthday we do something together. The birthday girl gets to choose the activity. The year I chose to go to the Kennedy Center in Washington DC to hear The Messiah was on the high end of the scale. Usually we simply bake cookies or quilt, or we might go out to eat or take in a special event somewhere.
Since one of my sisters had a birthday this week, it was time for another Sister's Day. This time we met at the Landis Valley Museum which was humming with activity during their Harvest Days. All kinds of crafts and demonstrations were being done, from making sauerkraut and butchering hogs to fine needlework and blacksmithing.
Two bachelor brothers, Henry and George Landis, began this museum simply by collecting Pennsylvania German objects from the 1700s and 1800s. They built a collection of over 75,000 objects and established a small museum in the 1920s on the grounds of their Landis Valley homestead. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania acquired the Landis brothers' museum in 1953.
Over the next 45 years, the state began purchasing and building structures which are now part of the historic village. The property includes an 1856 hotel and two brick buildings built between 1815 and 1840. Also, two log buildings, an 1890's school house and an old blacksmith shop were purchased and moved to the site.
When the Landis brothers learned an old country store was closing, they bought the entire store and its contents. This store looks the same as when it was in business. The things you see on the shelves today were on the shelves when the Landis brothers bought it.

This crossroad which is now inside the museum grounds was once a busy crossroad on the Lancaster- to-Reading Turnpike. Back about 1955 my aunt and grandmother were involved in an accident here. There was a black iron fence around the lawn at that time. My aunt's car crashed into the fence about where the tents were set up today. My grandmother's pelvis was broken and she spent many weeks in bed healing.

One of the parts I liked best was the 1750 German farm. All the necessary buildings (surrounded by rail fences) are there: house, barn, hay rack, outdoor bake oven with red clay tile roof, and springhouse. Being set off to the side by itself helps to create a bit of the isolated atmosphere our ancestors experienced when they settled here, but the dense woods that would have stood around the buildings are missing.

We sisters had a good day together and I'm the next one to have a birthday so I'll get to choose the next activity. I haven't decided on anything yet but have about two months to think about it.

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