So here's your invitation to attend this year's "Peanut Day" celebration at the Lucas County Historical Society Museum, scheduled for 5:30 to 8 p.m. on Thursday (June 28).
We're really happy to have the Chariton Community Band back for another concert on the patio at 7 p.m. Doors to our seven museum buildings will open for tours at 5:30 p.m., however, and free hotdogs and chips will be served in the Pioneer Barn from 6 to 7 p.m. Everyone's welcome and the event goes forward rain or shine (the barn provides a handy shelter in case its damp).
The source of the name for this event --- the 1889 Royal peanut and coffee roaster, manufactured in New York by The A.J. Deer Co. that came to the historical society during 1985 from the late Bob Piper --- will be fired up and roasting just off the patio on the lower level of the Lewis Building. Free peanuts (courtesy of Hy-Vee, which provides the raw product) will be distributed, too.
The master roasters shown here are Bob Ulrich (right) and Jerry Pierschbacher; the photograph dates from a couple of years ago.
The machine itself was purchased during 1909 by Joe L. Piper and installed in Piper's Grocery on the northeast corner of the square. It was used there throughout the tenure of his son, Bob Piper. Piper's Grocery remains alive and flourishing, now owned and operated by Jill Kerns, but Bob passed the roaster along to the historical society rather than selling it with the grocery store.
The roaster is powered now by an electric motor and a propane canister fuels the heater, but the peanut product is still the same. It's been many, many years, however, since coffee was roasted --- and I doubt we'll be going there anytime soon.
The roaster comes back to life each year for Peanut Day, then again in the late fall when we roast peanuts for distribution during Chariton's annual DazzleFest celebration. Now and then, its used during other museum events, too. So come on down and see it it in action.
The museum is open May-September from 1-4 p.m. daily Tuesday through Saturday. Admission's free, but of course you're always welcome to drop a buck or two in the donation jar.