Mt Pleasant IA Midwest Old Threshers 2018 Events

People riding on a trolley see a restored truck
Watching a Truck from the Trolley During the Reunion

What Is Old Threshers?

Midwest Old Threshers Reunion is a very unique event in Mt. Pleasant, Iowa. There are other “reunions” where people bring steam traction engines, tractors, and small engines to show them off and have a good excuse to get them out and play with them. However, Mt. Pleasant’s event has a broad array of different events and interests gathered in one place. Besides the machinery list above there are groups for old cars, old trucks, antiques, horse teams, an active printers hall, demonstration of equipment like a veneer saw, a threshing machine, and cooking down sorghum, an antique restored steam carousel, quilts, antique dolls, button collectors, a big craft show, trains (you can ride in), trolley cars still on their track (you can ride in), a group demonstrating life in the 1840s in the log cabin village fairly seriously and a group demonstrating life in the late 19th century not so seriously (desperadoes who steal candy & dance hall girls who stay fully dressed), a children’s game area including the chance to drive an actual tractor through an obstacle course and pony rides, fair food, big country music shows, and a theater museum mostly devoted to the traveling shows of the mid-19th to early 20th century. Come visit every year on an expanded Labor Day Weekend. This year it’s August 30 – September 3, 2018.

Events Keep Coming All Year

With all this going on the reunion continues to burst at the seams, but that’s only one week a year. They have a whole bunch of other events through the year.

This isn’t their full schedule, but these are the ones I think you might find interesting.

Steam School : April 28 – 29 and May 5 – 6, 2018

How to drive a steam engine like those used to work threshing machines. These are two separate classes, one in April and one in May.

Trolley School: May 5, 2018

Learn how to drive a trolley.

The Bussey Doll Event : June 9, 2018

The event is for doll collectors and those interested in dolls. There are speakers on various topics, everyone gets a gift doll, and there are vendor tables. My post about the year they did a Laura Ingalls Wilder theme is one of my most read.

Henry County Fair: July 18 – 23, 2018

A county fair like the one the James Wilder family attended in Malone, New York.

Summer Theater Happy Funny Are People:

July 20th & 21st at 7:30 p.m. July 22nd at 2:30 p.m.

July 27-28, 2018 at 7:30 p.m. and again during the 2018 Reunion

Every summer they once again put on one of the plays once popular with traveling theaters to give you a taste of late 19th/early 20th century entertainment.

Theatre Seminar: July 21 – 22, 2018

One of the departments of the organization is a traveling theater museum. It covers things like tent rep, opera houses, show boats, and Uncle Tom’s Cabin shows.

Reunion Event: August 30 – September 3, 2018

Annual Midwest and Great Northern Printer’s Fair:  September 12 – 15, 2018

It is specifically geared to people practicing or curious about letterpress printing for letterpress printers, from beginners to professionals. They use the extensive collection of printing equipment gathered in the printing part of Museum B. If you want to know about how they ran the paper in De Smet or how Carrie helped run a newspaper this would be a great event to plan for.

Holiday Events

They also run events every year for Halloween when the Midwest Haunted Rails shows you a ghost of a good time and for Christmas when you can take the North Pole Express to visit Santa Claus. Dates are set later in the year.

I hope you come and visit Mt. Pleasant for the best reunion anywhere or any of their other great events.

Sarah S. Uthoff is a nationally known Laura Ingalls Wilder authority and has presented at five of the Wilder homesites, many times at the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum, many conferences and numerous libraries, museums, and events around the Midwest. She is the main force behind Trundlebed Tales fighting to bring the History, Mystery, Magic, and Imagination of Laura Ingalls Wilder and other greats of children’s literature and history to life for a new generation. How can you help? Attend one of her programs, schedule one yourself, watch her videos, listen to her podcast, look at her photos, and find her on Facebook , Twitter , Google+LinkedIn , SlideShare, and Academia.edu . Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and former director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.

Advertisements

Take Your Class to a Day in a One-Room School

19th century teacher sitting at desk
Sarah at Teacher Desk in Stone Academy – Solon, Iowa

Every spring and fall I work with the Johnson County (IA) Historical Society to put together an opportunity for schools in the area to step back in time. Classes come on a field trip to take their students back to 1876.

One-Room School in Coralville, Iowa

Coralville’s one-room school is actually a two story brick structure. Coralville thought they were going to boom and so built a bigger two story building thinking they’d soon need more than one class. Unfortunately for them, instead Coralville faced several setbacks. It was decades before they needed to use the second floor as a classroom. By the time they built a graded elementary school – Coralville Central – in 1950, they were running one class on each floor plus one in the town hall (recently moved across the street from the school) and one in the old fire department.

Experience for Students

The elementary classes study the time period before they come and each is assigned a character. Most of these characters are based on actual students who attended the school that year, but some have been added to support current large class sizes.

Students dress up and act out their role as I lead them through a taste of what life was like in a late 19th century one-room school. I serve as a historical interpreter helping the students understand the what and the why as we go through some of the classes they’d have in a one-room school.

Learn more about the program, including the lesson plans and preparation handouts.

Whether You Live Close or Farther Away

Do you live locally? Suggest to your school they come.

Do you live some place else? Look for a one-room museum near you. Most have a school program of some kind.

Sarah S. Uthoff is a nationally known Laura Ingalls Wilder authority and has presented at five of the Wilder homesites, many times at the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum, many conferences and numerous libraries, museums, and events around the Midwest. She is the main force behind Trundlebed Tales fighting to bring the History, Mystery, Magic, and Imagination of Laura Ingalls Wilder and other greats of children’s literature and history to life for a new generation. How can you help? Attend one of her programs, schedule one yourself, watch her videos, listen to her podcast, look at her photos, and find her on Facebook , Twitter , Google+LinkedIn , SlideShare, and Academia.edu . Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and former director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.

Smile You Can Donate To Laura on Amazon Nov 2017

Amazon Smile is a program where if you sign up for it a small percentage of each purchase will go to the designated organization of your choice — but only if you’ve registered with them.

Sarah by books 1
Sarah by books 1

Amazon Smile

Amazon has created a program where if you go in through Amazon smile instead of straight a small percentage of every purchase (taken off Amazon’s share – the price you pay won’t increase) and donated to your chosen organization. Learn more about it on their FAQs. I’ve think this is a great idea.

When I found out about it I instantly looked for the Laura Ingalls Wilder homesites and none of them were listed. I got word to all the homesites about it with a hope from them to join the program, but it never heard back. So in the meantime I supported the USS Constitution aka Old Iron Sides. Two years ago I checked again because the Franklin Historical Society (before the Almanzo Wilder farm got up and running they were the prime destination in Malone, New York) publicized that they had joined the program. This time when I searched for other Laura organizations most  have joined. If you shop on Amazon, please consider going in through Amazon Smiles.

  1. Go to http://smile.amazon.com
  2. Log in to your existing Amazon account
  3. Search for the organization you want and select your organization

Amazon

 

Laura Ingalls Wilder Amazon Smile Organizations

If you search the Amazon Smiles site under the exact names listed before the dashes, you can now give a percentage to these Laura organizations in the order I found them.

  • FCHMS – Franklin County Historical and Museum Society by searching for EIN: 14-1499839 or by keyword.
  • Laura Ingalls Wilder Home Association – Mansfield MO by searching for EIN: 430949542 or by keyword.
  • Laura Ingalls Wilder Memorial Society Incorporated – De Smet SD by searching for EIN: 460309777 or by keyword.
  • Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum & Tourist Center – Walnut Grove MN by searching for EIN: 411389293 or by keyword.
  • Laura Ingalls Wilder Pageant Society – De Smet SD by searching for EIN: 237417985 or by keyword.
  • Almanzo and Laura Ingalls Wilder Association – Malone NY by searching for EIN: 141694262 or by keyword.
  • Laura Ingalls Wilder Park & Museum Inc – Burr Oak IA by searching for EIN: 237427633 or by keyword.
  • Little House on the Prairie Museum – Independence KS by searching for EIN: 480875326 or by keyword.

You can also switch your organization as often as you want to share the love around so join up with Amazon Smile today, especially before you start your Christmas shopping!

Sarah S. Uthoff is the main force behind Trundlebed Tales fighting to bring the History, Mystery, Magic and Imagination of Laura Ingalls Wilder and other greats of children’s literature and history to life for a new generation.Attend one of her programs, schedule one yourself, watch her videos, listen to her podcast, and find her on FacebookTwitterGoogle+,LinkedIn, and Academia.edu. She is currently President of the Laura Ingalls Wilder Legacy and Research Association. Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.

Mary Ingalls Society Report Fall 2017

A report from the Iowa School for the Blind and Sight Saving School for Fall 2017. The future of the School for the Blind building and artifacts is in doubt, but if you want to do your part to encourage continued activities in Vinton please consider a membership. If visiting the blind school is important to you, do it as soon as you can – Sarah S. Uthoff

IBSSS Mary Ingalls Society Member Sheet

Blind School from hospital
Blind School from hospital

Dear Members and Friends:

October 2017 marks the 5th year the IBSSS Mary Ingalls Society has been working with the Iowa Braille and Sight Saving School.  It is also time to renew memberships.  With that in mind we thought we would share some highlights from this past year.

  • It has been a busy year that has brought over 600 people, from many other states as well as Iowa, through the front doors of Old Main. The number includes 6 bus tours and at our October 15 “Prairie Fiddle” show in the Auditorium.
  • In October 2016, through our “Lot 31 Project”, we dedicated a monument and headstones at Evergreen Cemetery in Vinton. They now mark the graves of students from the School who had been laid to rest there in the late 1800s and early 1900s without permenant monuments.
  • October 2016 also saw us making a presentation to the Iowa Board of Regents outlining our position on the disposition of historical artifacts and records for the School in light of the Board’s decision to sell the campus property. Our focus centered on the preservation of Old Main and maintaining the historically significant items there.
  • Throughout the year we continued the work of cataloguing and preserving historic records and photos. We used grant money obtained through the Benton County Community Foundation and your generous membership gifts on the following projects.  60 VCR tapes were digitized for easier viewing and use.  Newspaper and scrap book articles dating from the 1950s through the 1980s were moved from folders in file drawers to acid free clear protective sleeves and stored in acid free boxes making them easy to view and available for use in displays and programs.  Some of these articles  accompanied us to a presentation at the State Lions Meeting in Cedar Rapids in June.  Acid free sheets for photos are now being filled to further enhance their preservation and ease of use in displays.  Additional storage boxes have also been purchased and filled with various archival materials.
  • In May 2017 we marked our second year for the Vinton-Shellsburg 6th graders to visit the campus. We are excited to tell you there are plans for the next group to visit in May 2018.  The School also hosted a group of secondary students belonging to a group called, Future Leaders of America.  Making this school connection has been a goal of ours since the beginning, and we continue to look at ways to expand our outreach to other schools in Benton County and beyond.
  • We participated in and had a display for the Rare Book event held at the Cedar Rapids Library.
  • This year has also marked a continuation of a great working relationship between the Mary Ingalls Society and the School’s alumni. They have been valuable allies in working on preservation of artifacts and have proven to be the highlights for many of our tour groups.

None of this work would have been possible without the participation of the IBSSS Mary Ingalls Society’s  members/supporters.  We sincerely thank you and invite you to renew your membership/support.  If you are not a member, we invite you to join us in this work.

Sincerely

Mary Ingalls Society

One More On the Way: Niland Cafe

I’ve posted about the famous Lincoln Highway (now roughly followed by US 30) before, but it wasn’t more than a few years ago that I learned there was a Jefferson Highway (now roughly followed by US 69) too that went north-south. (The Lincoln Highway goes east-west.) The Jefferson Highway had the advantage of a neat nickname. It was known as Pine to Palm. Where these two once mighty roads cross is the little town of Colo, Iowa.

colo-hamburger

Bypassed For Bigger Roads

Much like Route 66, in the dilemma depicted in Cars, towns that once made their living off travelers stopping found themselves drying up as they were bypassed and larger and newer restaurants, gas stations, etc were built to cater to the interstate traveler. These Lincoln Highway gas stations establishments were actually small garages – where they could fix cars as well as pump gas – despite being a lot smaller than those we know today.  They had a porch extending out from the building and usually featured those globe top gas pumps that are prized by collectors today. (Those globes lit up and helped guide motorists in at night before the days when it was always as light as daylight by a gas station.) One famous manufacturer of the pumps was the Tolkheim company that designed all sorts of pumps for various purposes right here in Cedar Rapids, Iowa – visit a display on them at Ushers Ferry Historic Village.

The Mom and Pop Cafe

lincoln-and-jeffersonNearby was often a mom and pop style cafe and sometimes the type of motel that was small individual cabins. You will sometimes see these buildings still there or preserved as museums or rotting by the side of the road. It’s much rarer to find one up and working. There is the Youngsville Cafe near the turn off 30 to Vinton, Iowa, but this is the only example I know of where you can actually eat in the real cafe (now themed with Lincoln and Jefferson Highway artifacts) AND stay in the real hotel. The gas station is just a regular type museum that displays artifacts from the two roads that you can view from the outside.

The pole above is inside the restaurant. It dates to a time before roadsigns when highways were designated by painting on telegraph, telephone, or electrical poles whichever were close to the road. The L is the symbol for the Lincoln Highway and the JH symbol is for the Jefferson Highway.

Cabin Type Motel to Stay In

This motel isn’t QUITE that old. This version of the motel was built in the 1940s as one of the first “modern” motels in Iowa which basically meant the cabins were smashed together in a row sharing interior walls. Six units were restored to resemble the 1940s period in 2008, except with updates like bathrooms, wireless access, cable and self-controlled heating and cooling.

Reed/Niland Cafe

Named for two sets of owners, Reed/Niland Corner was originally started in the 1920s. In 2003 it was restored to the 1940s and serves a roughly 1940s style menu. They advertise “hot beef sandwiches, ham and bean soup with corn muffin and homemade pies.” Plus milkshakes from a real milkshake machine.

http://www.reednilandcorner.org

I’ve stopped there twice and eaten there once. It’s worth a stop, especially if you’re tracing one of the routes or if you’re passing nearby on the modern Highway 30.

If you’ve read  A Little House Traveler, these are the types of places where Laura and Almanzo would have stopped on their journeys, so try it for yourself.

**I will note that service was not great at the cafe when we were there. They were understaffed. I understand that, but we were not offered any of the apologies that servers normally give to customers in that situation (we were there before a large group came in and only got a chance to order well after them). In fact, we were pretty much ignored for long stretches of time. I had to get up and walk over to the waitress for her to take our order. After we finished we had to wait a long time for the check even after hunting down the waitress again to ask for it until finally we gave up and asked at the cash register to get our bill. I have not had anyone else I’ve talked to about the cafe who had had this kind of experience, so we probably just caught them on a bad day, but I thought it was fair to say.

Sarah S. Uthoff is the main force behind Trundlebed Tales striving to bring the History, Mystery, Magic and Imagination of Laura Ingalls Wilder and other greats of children’s literature and history to life for a new generation. Uthoff is a nationally known Laura Ingalls Wilder authority and has presented at five of the Wilder homesites, many conferences and numerous libraries, museums, and events around the Midwest. Attend one of her programs, schedule one yourself, watch her videos, listen to her podcast, and find her on  FacebookTwitterGoogle+, LinkedIn, and Academia.edu. Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.

Laura Ingalls Wilder 2016 Season Ends and Christmas Events

Sarah on Ingalls Homestead in April
Sarah on Ingalls Homestead in April

October usually is about the end of the main Laura Ingalls Wilder season for the year. If you plan a Laura trip during or after October, make sure you call ahead. They may or may not be able to accommodate you by opening the museum, etc. or giving lists of what there is to see. On the plus side you get autumn foliage and then snow photos. I called around to find out when the Laura museums were officially closing for the year. Find contact information for the homesites/museums here:
https://trundlebedtales.wordpress.com/laura-links/

As a heads up the weather this fall has been unusually mild across the Midwest as a whole, but one big snow storm has already cut across the upper Midwest reaching De Smet, Walnut Grove, and points east. The weather forecast is still calling for a cold and snowy winter once it does arrive so account for that possibility in your plans if you are planning a winter trip.

Pepin, WI – Closed for the season Oct. 26, 2016. They aren’t participating in the town’s Christmas event this year.

Independence, KS – They closed for the season in October.

Walnut Grove, MN – Museum grounds closed for the season November 1, 2016, but their Gift Shop/Visitor Center will remain open during November and December 23, 2016 from 10 am – 4 pm, Monday – Saturday. After Christmas it will be open Monday –  Friday, same hours, until March 1, 2016. If you’re looking for winter homesite photos, they have snow already.

Burr Oak, IA – Closed mid-October 2016. Beginning in September they have reduced hours. In October they are open Thurs.-Sat. 10 am-4 pm and Sunday noon-4 pm. They will have their annual fundraising event Dec. 12th. If you’d like to attend contact the museum. Best bet is to e-mail them because they are not in the office every day.

De Smet, SD –
Memorial Society – open all year with slightly reduced hours during winter, MondayFriday 9 am -4 pm.  They suggest tour times at 10:00 am and 2:00 pm. They will be closed from Dec. 24, 2016 to Jan. 2, 2017.
Hours Chart

Ingalls Homestead – Open depending on the weather through October and then closed at the end of October. Office remains open for making reservations, etc. Call and leave a message if they don’t pick up. Scheduled activities only take place through September 30th. People are welcome to walk around even after they are closed for the year. Look for maps in plastic holders beside visitor center/gift shop doors.

Mansfield, MO – Season ends November 15, 2016. Winter hours are November 16 – December 15 by appointment only (call ahead). Bookstore 10 am -2 pm.
Christmas at Laura’s
Chistmas Tradition here on Rocky Ridge Farm. Free admission to the historic home featuring vintage decorations. Tunes on Pa’s fiddle. Bring YOUR camera or cell phone for pictures with Santa by Laura’s fireplace. Normally photos aren’t allowed inside the house so this is a rare treat. Tastings from Laura’s own recipes. Laura’s Christmas is scheduled for December 3, 2016 from 6:00 – 8:00 P.M. Weather Permitting. (NOTE*) If the parade is canceled for bad weather Laura’s Christmas will be canceled as well. Come celebrate Christmas with us in a most special way!

Malone, NY – Closed October 2, 2016 Can arrange tours by appointment if volunteers available . Minimum admission is $25 for three or less. Four or more admitted at regular price. Arrange by e-mailing farm@almanzowilderfarm.com Re-opens for Christmas With Almanzo event (1 Day) December 3, 2016 11:00 am – 3:00 pm. “For this event admissions free. Come and enjoy readings from Farmer Boy Christmas chapter in the parlor of the house at 11:30 and 1:00. (Adults must accompany and remain with child.) Enjoy cookies, mulled cider, Christmas carols, and children’s activities. Come visit our gift store for last minute shopping with complimentary gift wrapping for purchased items. “Happy Christmas!””

Spring Valley, MN – They closed for the season at the end of October, but they reopen for Christmas teas. Teas will be held on Dec. 3-4, 2016 at 12:30 each day. Cost is $12 for the lunch. It is a full lunch set in a Victorian home that was built in 1888. Reservations required for the teas. Contact the museum at wilderinspringvalley@hotmail.com

Keystone, SD – Closed September 15, 2016.

Vinton, IA – Pat Barr passed along this information: “Our hours are the same year round – 8:00 a.m.-4:30 p.m. – Monday through Friday. A group larger than five should contact me – all others are welcome to drop in.  My phone number is:  319-472-5221, Extension 1110.  My e-mail is:  pbarr@iowa-braille.k12.ia.us ” The biennial membership meeting is December 1 at 7:00 p.m.

Sarah S. Uthoff is the main force behind Trundlebed Tales striving to bring the History, Mystery, Magic and Imagination of Laura Ingalls Wilder and other greats of children’s literature and history to life for a new generation. Uthoff is a nationally known Laura Ingalls Wilder authority and has presented at five of the Wilder homesites, many conferences and numerous libraries, museums, and events around the Midwest. Attend one of her programs, schedule one yourself, watch her videos, listen to her podcast, and find her on FacebookTwitterGoogle+, LinkedIn, and Academia.edu. Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.

October 2016 Laura Ingalls Wilder Events

October is a slower month, but there is still events going on.

Sarah on Ingalls Homestead
Sarah on Ingalls Homestead

Burr Oak IA

Find out more about their events.

Fall Fest and Used Book Sale October 10, 2016 – 10:00 am – 3:00 pm

Vinton IA

Dedication of Cemetery Marker for Blind School Students – Sunday, October 16, 2016, at 2:00 p.m. at Evergreen Cemetery, 1002 E 10th Street, Lot 31, Vinton, Iowa.

Malone/Burke NY

Columbus Day weekend, October 8-10. Regular admissions for tours will be in effect. Hours will be 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday and Monday, and 12 to 4 p.m. on Sunday. Last tour begins promptly at 3 p.m. all days.
http://www.mymalonetelegram.com/mtg05/almanzo-wilder-homestead-extends-tour-season-20161001

The Henry Ford – Dearborn, Michigan

Just copying in because kind of complicated. Find the details at:
https://www.thehenryford.org/current-events/calendar/lauras-little-town-spring

  • October 1 – October 30, 2016 (Friday – Sunday)
  • Time: 11:30am, 12:30pm, 1:455pm, & 2:45pm
  • Length: 15 minutes
  • Location: Near Scotch Settlement School, Main Street Historic District

Meet young Laura Ingalls before she became a teacher in this engaging 15-minute show celebrating Little Town on the Prairie, which has its 75th anniversary this year. Hear some of Laura’s favorite stories about her family’s time in DeSmet, South Dakota including the return of Nellie Oleson and the first time she met Almanzo Wilder.

Sarah S. Uthoff is the main force behind Trundlebed Tales striving to bring the History, Mystery, Magic and Imagination of Laura Ingalls Wilder and other greats of children’s literature and history to life for a new generation. Uthoff is a nationally known Laura Ingalls Wilder authority and has presented at five of the Wilder homesites, many conferences and numerous libraries, museums, and events around the Midwest. Attend one of her programs, schedule one yourself, watch her videos, listen to her podcast, and find her onFacebookTwitterGoogle+ LinkedIn, and Academia.edu. Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.