Today we took our last summer school field trip of the year (we’re running a little late this summer!). Faust Park’s historic village, which has buildings from the 1840s to the 1910s, was having an open house today. Since only Chickadee and I have ever walked around the village, and only when none of the buildings were actually open, I though it would be the perfect place to visit to cap off our studies of Westward Expansion and pioneer life.
There are brick houses and log cabins, and several barns (and an outhouse!). Not all of them were open to tour, but we did get to go in quite a few. We also saw several gardens, and a few scarecrows.
It was interesting to see how the different houses were decorated. Some were obviously more upper class, and had carpets similar to the Lincoln home in Springfield and the Martin Mitchell mansion at the Naper Settlement, while others were the homes of working class people. We especially liked the home belonging to a family of dairy farmers, which had several styles of churn on display. We also got to see the inside of a wash-house!
We came across different people in period dress, showcasing different skills like yarn spinning and blacksmithing. The girls also enjoyed having a chance to play along with a woman on the Appalachian Dulcimer.
As always, I was especially interested in the school-house. The whole building wasn’t much bigger than our school room!
We also drove to the other side of the park to see Thornhill Mansion. Around here it’s known for being the home of the second governor of Missouri, but we were interested in seeing it because Frederick Bates (who arrived in St. Louis the year after the Corps of Discovery opened the west to exploration), was first the Secretary of the Louisiana Territory, and also served as acting governor when Meriwether Lewis was absent…it fit right in with our Westward Expansion studies!
I’d like to go back and tour the mansion someday (it was one of the buildings that wasn’t open today), and maybe also go when they have a bigger event (like the heritage festival in September). It wasn’t as elaborate a village as the Naper Settlement, but it was a fun place to visit, and we all learned something, and made some new connections to local history!