Saturday, September 28, 2013

Play Day in Kentucky

I am currently in Georgetown, Kentucky for some work-related clinical training.  Today I had a day off as all the slots available for trainees had been filled before I made the call to reserve my own.  I took advantage of the opportunity to do a bit of historically oriented exploration.

Several months ago I read on the Frontier Folk forum, a message board frequented by a wide range of historical reenactors, that the Fort Boonesborough Foundation, a group of people who volunteer their time to sustain, foster and promote quality programming at Fort Boonesborough State Park and Boone's Station Historic Site, was the proud recipient of the Frant T. Barnes collection of iron work dating from 1680 to 1860.  I really wanted to see that collection, so spent all morning at Boone's Station, not only checking out the iron work, but also the entire reproduction of the frontier community originally established by Daniel Boone in 1775.

 I got an early start, so hide to wipe heavy dew from the windshield and windows of my rented car.

My rental car (the one on the left)
I arrived very shortly after the gates to fort opened this morning, and having plenty of time decided to just circle the entire fort.  The weaver's cabin contained a couple of real gems, including an 18th century barn beam loom and the cutest little tape loom I think I've ever seen.

Barn beam wood, built primarily of chestnut wood in the 18th century, and still working today.
Tape loom, resting on the hand-hewn fireplace mantle of the weaver's cabin.
At first glance, I thought the tape loom to be a reproduction, but after speaking with the weaver and giving it a much closer inspection, it appears is actually an historical artifact that has been repaired here and there to keep it in service.  I took some addition close-up photographs in case I ever have the free time available to built one for my own use.

I shot a lot of photos of the iron work, mostly to detail items that I am certain (and can document) were also present in the Northwestern fur-trade which is my historical specialty.  One little item that particularly caught my eye was probably not terribly common on any frontier, but was nonetheless likely to seen among the possessions of a North West Company wintering partner or Hudson's Bay Company factor. 

Late 18th or early 18th century pocket corkscrew

 After spending all morning at Fort Boonesborough, my next thought was to check out the Shaker Harvest Festival at the Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill.  By Alaska standards it's a fairly short drive and I've been to the village before.  The displays of 18th century hand craftsmanship are truly mind boggling.  When I arrived and found not only the parking lots, but nearby fields as well, packed with rigs I decided I didn't want to deal with such crowds of people, so elected to visit the International Museum of the Horse instead.

The museum is located in Kentucky Horse Park, which is truly an astounding venue.  Horses are to Kentuckians what sled dogs are to Alaska, and they've pulled out all the stops when it comes to creating a venue dedicated to horses.  With over 1200 acres to work with, the park has something to offer everyone.  I've been there before, but today I was interested primarily in touring the museum again, looking for a specific bit of hardware I'd like to be able to document as available during the late 18th century.  If I can document it's availability I can justify using it while reproducing historical harnesses for my own teams. 

The thing is, I may go into a museum looking for something specific, but I can't come out of one without looking over everything.  I found what I needed, and much more.  It was well worth the time spent.

It was truly a lovely day down here in history's "Dark and Bloody Ground."  I couldn't have asked for nicer weather.  Everyone I met was personable and informative, and it was just a fun day off all the way around.



  1. Wish I got sent to cool places like that for clinicals, training and my CEU's..... Looks like a neat place to visit.

  2. Using RentalCars you can find the most affordable car rentals from over 49,000 international locations.