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Summer in the Village

IMG_1222 2Stop by for a picnic or to bring out of town guests.  Spend time exploring the museum. Let the kids play and climb on the old caboose.  Stop by the old Fewkes Store in the Historical Village to pick up gifts, souvenirs, a special something for yourself or for a friend.  There are baby quilts, books about the Tobacco Valley, post cards, pine needle baskets, tea towels, tied quilts and others that are sewn with tiny stitches.  There are scrubbies that are great for doing dishes and art bags for children.  There is handmade jewelry as well as greeting cards.  And the proceeds from anything you buy goes towards helping to maintain the Historical Village.

You might wonder what sort of expenses pile up with this group of old buildings, the stretch of lawn under shady trees.  The Historical Village is fully maintained by donations and volunteer labor. This summer alone we are looking at renovations to the bell tower on the old school house, oiling the logs of the Baney House, and starting work on the fire lookout.  Of course there is also lawn maintenance, keeping the bathrooms in good shape and the utility bills paid.  The Historical Village gets a lot of use in the summer – thousands of folks when you count all the visitors who stop by (the museum is open everyday from 1:00 – 5:00pm) and special events.  Shakespeare in the Park performs here on July 30 and the Eureka Montana Quilt Show happens on August 3.

We hope you have time to enjoy the Historical Village this summer.  There really is an awful lot here to take in.

Change of seasons

The volunteers were out to do a Spring cleaning at the Historical Village in mid April.  Now we are finishing up our last quilt so the old school house can be prepared for summer visitors.  Of course first there will be our annual rummage sale on May 18th.  And then the second graders from the Eureka elementary school will visit the Village in mid May to learn about their heritage in the Tobacco Valley.  But then we will be poised to throw wide the doors for the summer season.  Volunteer docents will have the buildings open and be available to answer questions every single day of the summer starting IMG_1227on May 25th.  Yes, it might surprise you that there are enough volunteers in this small town to have the Historical Village museum open everyday of summer from 1:00 – 5:00pm.  But it is true.  This is a remarkable community where people care enough to put in volunteer time as needed.

Of course this isn’t meant to dissuade you if you were thinking to offer help.  Needless to say there are always things to be done at the Historical Village from trimming shrubbery to painting walls, litter patrol to helping with our events.  And we hope to expand the roster of events at the Historical Village this summer to bring in speakers for demonstrations and talks.

Oh! Just in case you have your calendar handy, you might want to mark July 30 when Shakespeare in the Park performs “Merry Wives of Windsor” in the Village.  And the following weekend is the Eureka Montana Quilt Show on August 3rd.  The Historical Village looks absolutely lovely draped with all those beautifully colored quilts. You won’t want to miss it.

Get out your sunbonnet

The women who quilt on Fridays are hopeful.  Sun comes through the school house windows making our space delightfully warm. It also helps us see the stitches we make, the patterns we follow.  The old overhead lights in the school house aren’t the best and there’s discussion about replacing them.  What would be economical as well as provide the best lighting for quilting through long Montana winters?IMG_0973

But today most things look possible. The sun helps.  Yes, there’s still snow outside but it is not nearly as deep, and walking to the school house from the parking lot is so much easier than it was a month ago.  There are times when it seems a video of these women might convey more of what they do to support the Historical Village than a blog.  Our quilters slogging through snow on a frigid Friday morning, the pile of boots and coats accumulating at the door as everyone sits down to quilt would certainly be a piece of the footage.

This past Friday some of us didn’t even wear coats as it seems just possibly we are on the verge of Spring.  There was talk about the fundraiser we held at the Trego Civic Center a few weeks back and appreciation for everyone who came out to support that.  There was talk about the book sale we will have during Eureka’s Rendezvous.  There was talk about the work that needs to be done over the summer, possible repairs, painting, etc.  And, of course, there was talk about the beautiful quilts we are working on.  One belongs to a friend of Sally’s, pieced from fabric the woman’s mother-in-law saved from her children’s clothes, fabric that was put away in the 1950s and now is being finished into a quilt to be used.

The other quilt (as we usually have two going) was pieced by a woman in Oklahoma.  The design and fabric are by Kaffe Fassett, a name most of us didn’t know but now we do. A man who obviously has quite the eye for colors and designs and the ability to put these together in amazing ways.  We muse whether he might want us to hand quilt one of his own quilts as we all believe hand quilting lends such a different feel. We see he’s doing quilt events at a museum in England this month and wonder if he might enjoy Eureka in the summer, perhaps for the Quilt Show on August 3rd.  There is a mixture of laughter and excitement.  The group doesn’t have expectations for fame but there is always thoughts about how to spread the word about the Historical Village and our work.

 

Thanks

The Eureka Montana Quilt Show was a lovely success.  And so many generous people bought raffle tickets to support the Historical Village.  Of course there were numerous volunteers helping that day to staff the museum, sell tickets and let people know about our raffle items. Lots of efforts made to keep the grounds and the buildings at the Historical Village looking great and maintaining our valley’s history.

ML and Bev museum

A few more busy weeks in summer before the season ends. On August 21, Shakespeare in the Parks will perform Othello at the Historical Village.  And the next afternoon, August 22, all the museum docents and Village quilters gather for their annual picnic. Labor Day is the last weekend that the Historical Village museum is open. Then everything in the buildings will be covered over for winter and the quilters begin to meet again every Friday from 10:00 – 3:00 in the old school house.

Just in case you missed purchasing a quilt during the quilt show (can you ever have enough?), we still have a few beautiful ones for sale.  Cathryn Schroeder pieced a log cabin quilt in shades of rust and apricot that was then hand quilted by the Tobacco Valley Board of History quilters.  And Vivian Vanleishout pieced a beauty in shades of pale green and lilac that was also hand quilted (queen size).  Both quilts are available at the Historical Village.

Congratulations to Laura Persson who won the raffle for the Victorian era quilt!

First Saturday in August

The first Saturday in August is always lovely in Eureka as hundreds of quilts grace downtown including the Historical Village and Memorial Park.  Quilts are hung on buildings on both sides of the main street as well as on every possible surface (and then some) at the Historical Village.  Over six hundred quilts will be on display this year.

Besides making sure the Historical Village grounds are in tip-top shape for this Saturday’s event, the Village volunteers will also work to have the museum open and to sell raffle tickets.  There is the annual quilt raffle for one of the lovely quilts we made last winter. The drawing for that will be on August 26th at the Lold quiltincoln County Fair although raffle tickets can be purchased at the museum anytime between now and the fair.  A very special quilt made from small pieces of silk back in the early 1900s will be raffled this Saturday.  The Victorian era quilt will be on display at the Village museum all day Saturday and the winning ticket drawn at 4:00pm. Take time on Saturday to stop by the Historical Village museum (Fewkes Store) to see both the Victorian quilt and our other raffle quilt.  All proceeds from both raffles go to maintain the Historical Village.

And very special thanks to the Eureka Montana Quilt Show Foundation for their generous gift which helped to cover the expense for renovating the old caboose.  Donations from Town Pump and the Tobacco Valley Community Foundation were also received this summer and greatly appreciated.  As always, summer is a challenging time with grounds maintenance as well as repairs to roofs and out buildings at the Historical Village.  Donations from community members and local businesses and organizations help the Tobacco Valley Board of History continue to provide a pleasant setting for the public and archives of our valley’s history.

It takes a Village…

The response to our membership drive has been awesome. Thanks to everyone who sent something towards supporting the Historical Village.  Of course it is not too late if your form happens to be still sitting on the kitchen table/desk.  Just put it in an envelope with your donation, add our address (Tobacco Valley Board of History at PO Box 1452  Eureka, MT 59917), a stamp and you are good to go.  IMG_2672

Hopefully you have seen the Great Northern caboose in the Village. Kenny Westbrook just finished the renovation.  It is so beautiful – and much more sturdy then it was before.  Children are going to thoroughly enjoy climbing on it this summer.  And a few lucky adults will get to sit on the caboose steps to watch Shakespeare in the Parks.

The Village quilters stopped meeting on Fridays for the summer but some of their lovely handwork will be available at the Eureka Montana Quilt Show on August 4.  Of course there are other quilts available for sale at the museum gift shop all summer.  If you are searching for a unique wedding gift or something special for yourself, you might consider one of the tied quilts which are the perfect combination of beautiful, warm and affordable.  Yes, here in northwest Montana, one often needs a quilt on chilly summer nights.

 

Summer starts

These are dates you surely should remember. The Eureka Montana Quilt Show is August 4th this year.  As always this event decorates the entire town with beautiful quilts up and down main street but the Historical Village is really where the action happens.  Vendors, a display of mini quilts, quilts on all the buildings and the museum open with its own selection of quilt sales offer a lot to chose from.  IMG_2219

Shakespeare in the Parks comes to the Historical Village on August 21 with “Othello.”  The play starts at 6:00pm and box dinners go on sale at 5:00pm.  This event is always a lovely way to spend the evening so bring a blanket or a chair and get ready for some awesome theater.  As always, the play is free to the public.  Sunburst Community Service Foundation brings in Shakespeare in the Parks annually with help from Lincoln Electric Coop, Interbel, donations from the community and box dinner sales that evening.

Both fantastic events that are available to anyone to enjoy.  Both take place on the Historical Village grounds which are a delight in the summer with the soft grass and shady trees.  As always volunteers strive to keep everything well maintained for locals as well as out of town visitors to enjoy.  The Great IMG_2620Northern caboose just had major renovation.  The museum is getting some roof repairs.  The playground equipment and latrines are in fine working order. And Bev has lined out docents who have the Village buildings open everyday until early September from 1:00 – 5:00pm.

It just doesn’t get much better does it?  Life in the Tobacco Valley is pretty sweet this time of year so take a morning or afternoon or evening to wander through the Historical Village grounds.  Or come for one of the awesome events that will take place.  Hope to see you there.

 

 

The wonders

This quilting season is nearly over. Only a few more weeks and the old school house will be transformed into part of the museum.  Tourists will reminisce about the small wooden desks, the old maps showing countries that no longer exist.  Children visiting will pull hard on the rope to ring the school bell high up in the belfry.  Volunteer docents will open the historical buildings everyday from Memorial Day through Labor Day.  The quilters will take a break from their Friday routine.  Some will continue to sew at home. Others will put their energy into gardening.  And of course with summer in Montana, IMG_2571there are always plenty of out of town guests.

Although there is a symmetry to the quilting that happens every Friday from September til May, there are also changes.  Renata had the awesome idea to display quilts in the old church over Rendezvous weekend.  We received many compliments and one of the quilts sold.  A few new people to town have become great volunteers to help with displays in the museum and to help keep the grounds neat.  Bev is taking over scheduling docents for the museum. No easy feat to have a schedule that includes having someone knowledgeable to work there every single day of summer.  Dianne and a few others are putting together a mass mailing – the first time we have done anything like this.  We know we need to find more support for keeping the buildings in good shape, for having volunteers help with projects, for paying bills.

Often we roll our eyes – how many times do we need to explain that Lincoln County owns the land under the Historical Village, but the buildings, grounds and upkeep are managed by the Tobacco Valley Board of History? Since the 1970s, a stalwart group of volunteers have kept this lovely area of Eureka in tact.  Items are carefully archived. Old photos filed. Questions answered when someone stops by to ask about the early days.

As you attend Shakespeare in the Park or the Eureka Montana Quilt Show this summer (both events held at the Historical Village), appreciate the grounds, this lovely public space that is so valuable to our community.  Consider some small way you might help us maintain it.

 

The Place to Shop

Yes, it has been too long.  Quilts have been started and even finished since the last post. And there were some lovely ones. The women are working hard to keep up with the requests – a quilt made from t-shirts a car buff collected, a quilt started thirtysome years ago and pulled out to be finished, a quilt someone made for a person she loves very much.  And now besides quilting every Friday, the women are also hard at it making items for their annual bazaar on December 2nd.  sallyquilt

You won’t want to miss this bazaar.  There are many events happening in Eureka over the first weekend in December but the bazaar at the Historical Village is by far the best.  Handmade baby quilts, aprons, crocheted hats and mittens, tree ornaments, items for your kitchen and items for your bedroom (lovely pillow cases that will be immediately snatched up) are available.  There are the most delicate pine needle baskets made by Cathryn and some of Mary Louise’s hand dipped chocolates for sale.  There will be a raffle for a basket of treats.  Thick and soft flannel quilts hand tied so quite affordable are for sale in colors that call your name.

The prices for these handmade items are definitely within anyone’s budget and besides that – all the proceeds go directly to the Historical Village.  No percentage for this or that, no fees or undisclosed costs.  When you purchase something at the bazaar in the old school house this Saturday, all the money from your purchase helps maintain the Historical Village.  Your Village which keeps the archives and the artifacts and the memories of our valley as well as offering a wonderful place for events like Rendezvous, the Eureka MT Quilt Show and Shakespeare in the Parks.  Do you need any other reason to come to the Historical Village bazaar on Saturday morning?  We open at 9:00am.

Eureka Montana Quilt Show

Yes, in only a few days the annual Eureka Montana Quilt Show will be happening.  My suggestion is you come early like 7:00am to help hang the quilts and enjoy the cool morning of dew and colors. The town is transformed as hundreds of quilts are slowly  hung from Memorial Park down the main street and throughout the Historical Village.  Its truly magical as it happens and you can be part of that magic. Afterwards, volunteers usually stop at Cafe Jax or Four Corners Restaurant for breakfast and then go back out to enjoy the day. Quilts galore (previous years had over six hundred!), vendors, shady spots to sit and soak up the day quickly fill the hours til 4:00pm.  And besides all the activity that goes along with this annual event, there is the Historical Village itself.IMG_0505

All the buildings in the Village will be open throughout the day of the Quilt Show.  So take some time to amble through the museum and the old cabins.  There will also be volunteer quilters at a table in front of the museum who sell raffle tickets.  The winner will be selected at the county fair later in August. The prize is a lovely quilt hand stitched last winter. Needless to say, we will ship it to you wherever you live if you win.  We like getting our quilts out into the world.

Eureka is a special place most of us enjoy calling home.  It sparkles in the winter with snow and the summer is bustling with visitors walking on main street enjoying local businesses. Cyclists from all across America come through sometimes camping in Riverside Park, often stopping for a meal or a milkshake.  But the first Saturday in August when the Quilt Show takes over the town is spectacular.  Eureka is at its brightest!  The colors compete with any rainbow.  The variety of quilts is astonishing.  And the crowds add to the festive sense.  Whether you live in Lincoln County or elsewhere in the state or region, think about coming to Eureka on August 5 this year.  You won’t regret it.