Sunday, August 12, 2012

Campbell House Museum

St. Louis, MO

It's a serious thing though you wouldn't guess from the blog entry's witty title "SAVE OUR (GL)ASS".  The Campbell House Museum in St. Louis, MO was broken into one night last week and the cash box with just less than $100 was stolen.  But that was certainly not the worst of it.  One of the 5 foot by 18 inch panes of etched glass in the front door was broken.

My first thought was how could the museum leave such valuable and memorable glass panes unprotected.  As you can see in this photo, they didn't.

To gain entry the thugs first  jumped over a wrought iron fence, then jimmied the slide lock on these massive exterior wooden doors, and finally threw a rock through the interior glass pane.

I'm not sure when or if I'll ever visit the Campbell House but I'd like to know that the doors have been restored.  Chip in along with me.  Modest donations add up.

To read more visit The Campbell House blog:

And to learn more about Robert Campbell, the renowned fur trader and entrepreneur, as well as the 1851 home he built with his wife Virginia go to :

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Captain David Judson House

Stratford, CT

What's a young aspiring preservationist to do during the dog days of summer?  Those in Stratford, CT attend the annual history camp.   The week long camp for fourth graders through high school teaches kids about life in the 1700's.  The campers learn about butter making, candle dipping, weaving, and herb gardening.  They can become junior docents and on the last day of camp lead family and friends on a tour of the home.

My recent tour was lead by Pam and the junior docent of the day, Emily. They were both very knowledgeable about life in the 1700's and the many tools, farm implements, and household products of the day.  In fact my overall impression of the home was not about the family that lived there but about the many artifacts of the time period.  I  could probably skip camp and go right to the junior docent position.

Highlights for me:

*  The bulls eye glass in the front door was probably made in England.  In the 1750's, due to British Parliamentary regulation not expertise, glass was not made in the US.

*  As your candle burns down it becomes more difficult to read your book or sew but if you have this handy little table/candle holder that twists up and down like a screw you'll hold onto that light a little bit longer.

*  Privacy is something very important to us today.  But that wasn't true during colonial times.  In the Judson House living room is a corner chair or chamber pot chair.  There was no need to clear the room if you needed to "use the facilities".  Just pick up the chair top and then your dress.

*  Candles were made from meat fat so in addition to emitting a distinctive odor they were attractive to mice and thus kept on the wall in a metal candle keeper.

*  The coming and going room.  Love the name.  So simply states its purpose.  Birthing and dying.

*  Tea!  We all know how big a thing that was in the colonies and in the Revolutionary War! Somehow  tea was condensed into rock solid bricks that were shaved to create a small amount of loose tea to use for brewing.  The house has two tea blocks.  One brick was about 1 X 2 inches and the second one was huge at maybe 5 X 8 inches.  Both had an intricate design stamped onto the front.

I'm beginning to see an interesting thread in my tours and reading.  The stories of how buildings are saved and rehabbed are themselves fascinating pieces of history.  In 1925 the Judson House was given by the Curtis sisters to the town of Stratford.  The gift included a stipulation that the town raise $10,000 for upkeep and maintenance.  With an astonishing $13,000 Stratford surpassed the goal and the local Historical Society was born.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Ally Quest

Love my membership with the National Trust for Historic Preservation!  It keeps me up to date with news in the preservation world, introduces me to new places, and helps support the kind of historic preservation that's important to me.

I found Ally Quest as I was "thumbing" through my E Newsletter from the Trust.  At first glance I thought this would be me and my blog on video.  Travel and history - Ally's thing and mine.  But if you know me and my blog and check out Ally and her video, we're not exactly twin like.  Yet we evidently do have something in common.

As Ally says: "Experience what it's like to live in another decade.  Explore towns that time has forgotten, restaurants that are really relics of the past, hotels with a place in history, significant spots that still exist today and hold a real glimpse into another time."  Those are all things I like to do on my vacations.  I've just narrowed down my chronicling to house museums.

Check out Ally's episode on Catalina Island that features the Inn on Mt Ada, a Wrigley Mansion. Then take a look at my blog entry on the Wrigley Mansion in Phoenix, AZ.  (4/6/09)

I've sent her a link to my blog.  Why not?  It's a great source for future Ally Quest episodes.  You'll be the first I'll shout out to if anything develops.  Is there a video guest appearance in my future??