Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Foxes, not raccoons

We had a great crowd and a good time last evening at the Lucas County Historical Society's annual meeting, held as has been the case for several years in the Lodge at Pin Oak Marsh. It was great to see the big commons room full of people --- and so many new faces (as well as the familiar ones).

Pin Oak is a great place for a meeting like this for all sorts of reasons --- including the excellent wildlife displays, both mounted and live. Beyond that, there's adequate parking, handicap accessibility and a fully equipped kitchen. So we're always grateful to the Lucas County Conservation Commission for making it available.

I neglected to take photographs, which was uncharacteristic, but every time I thought about pulling the camera out I got to talking to someone and didn't get it done.

The "Faded Photographs" program went well, but I did make a couple of missteps. Several pointed out that the pelts displayed in the Slab Castle photo up top here are fox, not raccoon. I knew that, actually, just experienced some sort of mental glitch when putting the slideshow together.

The name "Slab Castle" puzzles some since the building that serves as a backdrop is hardly a castle. The name carried over from the original building on the site, built as a woodland retreat during the late 19th century by Chariton's Penick family on a bluff above the Chariton River at the New York Road crossing. This was a larger and more elaborate building constructed in a picturesque manner in part of native lumber, hence the name "slab." 

That building burned during the 1920s or early 1930s and was replaced by a much simpler cabin. It remained in use, under different ownership, until the advent of Rathbun Lake when the property was acquired for public use as part of Chariton River greenbelt and the cabin was torn down. 

I also blamed a fence around the courthouse lawn that appears in 1860s photographs on horses. Mary Ruth Pierschbacher pointed out that horses, as a rule, were hitched --- and no threat to the courthouse lawn. However, at the time many Chariton residents kept a milk cow or two and perhaps a few hogs and the livestock had a habit of roaming freely around town. So the fence was built to keep cows and other domestic critters at bay.

The neatly railed walkways and platform around this 1894 photo of the third (and current) Lucas County Courthouse also drew some comments. These did not remain in place, and I speculate that they were installed for the elaborate ceremonies held when the building was dedicated --- but can't prove that.

Everyone enjoyed homemade pie before heading home after the meeting, and it probably should be noted that providing pie for the annual meeting is one of the privileges of serving on the historical society board or working as a staff member. Karoline Dittmer's and Frank Mitchell's technical support was much appreciated --- and the staff and board members asked with little warning to join in the annual reporting process did great jobs.

We'll get the Faded Photographs slideshow converted into a movie one of these days and burned onto DVDs, so it can at least run on a loop at the museum during special events. I also have visions of a YouTube channel, since we're getting quite a good collection of interesting stuff on video. Now if I can just convince Kylie or Karoline to figure out how to do that ....

No comments: