The days might be chilly, and the snow piled up, but people still enjoy the Historical Village. They walk their dogs on their way to the RiverWalk. Families come down to throw snowballs and even make a snowman. Of course, the quilters are in the old schoolhouse every Friday if you want to stop by and see their sewing magic. There are also numerous items available for sale including a wide variety of quilts, books by Darris Flanagan, art bags for children, pine needle baskets, scrubbies, potholders and catnip toys for your feline friends. So whether you are looking for something special for a birthday, anniversary, letting someone know you care, or just a reason to celebrate yourself, know there are wonderful items for sale at the schoolhouse on Fridays (or online 24/7 through our website).
If you are new to town, welcome! Someone stopped by to pick up her purchases from the Village this past Friday and wasn’t sure which building was the schoolhouse. It is the one with the bell tower. The steps leading up to the building are cleaned off (thanks to the Grasshopper people for doing a fantastic job on the boardwalk and steps for us!). At least to me, it seems that building radiates a lot of terrific energy on Fridays when the women are inside quilting. So if you are new to town, or have lived here for a while but now find yourself with more time, stop by any Friday if you are interested in learning to quilt, or just to visit.
And if you are new to town, the Historical Village even in winter is a great place to learn about the valley’s history. Many of the quilters have been here long enough to answer your questions. There is also a wide array of books available to purchase that give the history of Eureka, Fortine, Trego, the early European settlement and the original Native People.
We appreciate all that the Tobacco Valley has experienced to make it what it is today – the trails, the ranches, all the individuals who have lived here, the rivers and mountains that have shaped our lives. Take some time to learn more about it, and to see some brightly colored quilts on these wintry gray days.
As with any large endeavor, it takes many hands to do all that needs to get done. And that is certainly the case at the Historical Village. Five acres, eleven buildings, archives to maintain, bills to pay, questions to answer about the Tobacco Valley’s history, funds to raise. And yes, this has all been going on since the mid 1970s!! On a gray early-winter’s day, if you happen to be driving pass the Village, or ambling through on your way to the River Walk, it might look quiet and serene there. It might look like nothing much is happening. But typically, not a day goes by that someone in our community isn’t putting in volunteer time to help maintain this special place.
Robin and Dave keep the Village looking sharp, repairing things that break, gathering up trash, trouble-shooting. That tree limb over the First Cabin is causing a problem with the roof, so they get the tree trimmed, patch the roof. Someone donates a cherry pitter that has been in her family for years. The Tobacco Valley Board of History acquisition committee gets all the information about it’s history, fills in paperwork, takes photos, enters the data into our archival records that are meticulously maintained by Cathy, and then puts the pitter into the museum where it will be on display next summer. Jane, our new treasurer, heard the quilters would dearly love to have a light in the storage closet where fabric is kept. They typically would go in with a flashlight to search for a piece of flannel to make a baby quilt or whatever the latest project was. It happened that Steve, Jane’s husband, is an electrician. The next week when the women arrived to quilt, there was a light with a motion detector in the closet! And a light bright enough that we can all see which boxes contain the baby flannels and which are the cottons with holiday motifs (as it is getting to be that time of year after all). We haven’t even met Steve in person yet, but we certainly appreciate his expertise and, we comment on the light every time we hunt for fabric without a flashlight.
When there are questions about history or someone is looking for a photograph from the early days in the Valley, Darris or Cathryn are always there to help. When our online story opened, Jan and Carmen quickly make dozens of beautiful Christmas ornaments, and scrubbies in a rainbow of colors. Cathryn crafts her priceless pine needle baskets, and Lynda cranks out jars of huckleberry jam (sorry but the jam has already sold out). Sally pieces fabric with her artist’s eye for color that the women quilt and then sell. And yes, those Friday quilters are remarkable, showing up every week in all sorts of weather from September to May, to stitch. We currently have eleven quilters which is very exciting – especially when you see the list of quilts waiting to be done!
Is it even possible to list all the things volunteers do to maintain the Historical Village, as well as when their efforts go beyong the valley? Through a grant from the Montana Historical Foundation, volunteers put together a history trunk filled with treasures about quilting that is lent to schools in Lincoln and Flathead Counties. Fabrics, notions, books, patterns, and ideas for teachers are a wonderful treasure that extends our work to younger people. People in New York, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Washington have over the years come to know the Historical Village and the quilters. We package items they order from our online store to send them. We appreciate hearing their questions about which quilts are for sale. And we always enjoy hearing from them with news from these far-flung places.
The list goes on. There is Bev who keeps the schoolhouse tidy as the quilters tend to have piles on every flat surface, and she manages the museum docents in the summer. There is Michelle who just began quilting on Fridays but already helps with the online store. People donate fabric and items for us to sell. Carmen’s husband, Al, sends treats to the quilters (quilting for five hours takes a lot of energy). Dianne maintains our membership list and leads the annual membership drive which we depend on. Renata makes delicious cakes when there happens to be a quilter’s birthday. And, of course, there are the docents who keep the museum open everyday in the summer.
But please don’t misunderstand! Even though there are so many great people helping, there are still things that need to be done. Old buildings need a lot of TLC – storm windows for the schoolhouse, new footing for the caboose, repairs to the boardwalk are on the To Do list. In the meantime though, be thankful for this wonderful piece of history in our town, the volunteers who maintain it, the donors and members who help us pay the bills. Stop by the schoolhouse any Friday to visit, to buy items from our Christmas bazaar, or to quilt with us. We look forward to seeing you.
And the women are back quilting every Friday at the Historical Village. Not only quilting on Fridays, but also busy making all sorts of lovely items for our online store. Baby quilts, pine needle baskets, catnip mice, scrubbies, potholders, art bags for children, tied quilts and so much more. You can see all of these on the online store here, or stop by the old schoolhouse in the Historical Village any Friday between 10am to 3pm to look over these items.
If you stop by, you not only get to see what is available for sale, but also can admire the two quilts we are currently working on. One is a sampler quilt made by Sally Steward and definitely showcases Sally’s abilities with putting together the perfect colors. The second quilt is one a local woman pieced quite a number of years ago and finally decided to have it hand quilted. It is interesting for those of us sewing on it because we are using black thread on a black background for part of it. Both are a joy to work on. Of course, we are always open to have more people sew. Don’t hesitate to stop by on a Friday to sew with us – novices and experts gladly welcomed.
In case you think it might be grueling to stitch from 10am through to 3pm, please know there is an awful lot more that goes on at the schoolhouse on Fridays. Often there are visitors dropping by to see the schoolhouse, or ask questions about the valley’s history. People also drop things off. Recently Jane Fox donated five Seattle Seahawks face masks for us to sell. Not only a treat to add these items to our store, but to visit with Jane. Some women who quilt bring in things they are working on. Renata and Jan always have lovely things to share with us. We call it ‘show and tell.’ Sally brings things she has made, as well as vegetables and fruit from her garden. Cathryn puts the coffee on around 11:30 (unless there is a call for it earlier). Sometimes we have homemade sweets someone brings for dessert. And all the quilters bring their own bag lunches every Friday which we eat promptly at noon.
So yes, there are enough distractions that no one seems to get tired of sewing and yet, a lot of sewing gets done every Friday. Hope you stop by one of these weeks to visit.
The seasons are shifting. Soon the Historical Village museum will close for the summer. Volunteers will cover the exhibits until next Spring when the museum opens again. But the museum closing for the winter months doesn’t mean there isn’t activity in the Historical Village. As you can imagine, there are plenty of things happening.
On Friday, September 3rd at 10am will be the Board meeting for the Tobacco Valley Board of History in the old schoolhouse. Please feel free to drop by to learn more about what we are doing and/or hear about ways you can help us maintain the Village.
Friday, September 10 from 10am to 3pm is when the quilters meet and will continue to get together every Friday through the winter to hand quilt. It is a wonderful group and open to new people whether you are an experienced quilter or just starting out wanting to learn more. Bring a bag lunch. We have needles and thimbles to loan and, of course, have the coffee pot on. This gathering takes place in the old schoolhouse.
With the museum in the Fewkes Store closing for the season, our online store will open up again. Quilts, pine needle baskets, books about the Tobacco Valley, scrubbies, paintings of the Historical Village and much more are available online. You can pay by credit card and then arrange to pick up your purchases or we can ship them to you if you live out of the area. Just go to our website https://tobaccovalleyhistory.org/ and click on ‘shop’. The online store will open on September 10.
A shout out to all the wonderful volunteers who helped this summer. Docents kept the museum open seven days a week throughout the summer under the superb supervision of Bev and Darris. Robin and his crew made repairs to make sure everything in the Historical Village was in working order. Alice gathered a wonderful group who replaced the screen cages in each of the buildings as well as painted the interior of the old schoolhouse. Thanks to everyone who put in time to keep this very special place in good condition and accessible to the public.
The lilacs near the old schoolhouse are starting to bloom. The buildings at the Historical Village are ready for summer visitors. The new picnic tables (thank you to the Tobacco Valley Community Foundation) are waiting, ready for your family and friends. And the museum opens on Saturday, May 29 at 1:00pm. It will be open for the remainder of the summer, seven days a week from 1:00pm – 5:00pm. There will be volunteer docents on hand everyday to answer your questions and provide information.
The wonderful Montana PBS “Backroads of Montana” episode that features the Historical Village and our quilters is available to watch either on the MTPBS website or at this link. Thanks to Ray Ekness who did a great job capturing the spirit of the Historical Village and the efforts of the quilters. We very much appreciate being part of the “Backroads of Montana” series, and hope it will inspire new people to join us to quilt this fall.
And a reminder that besides the museum which is open daily, there are also special events happening at the Historical Village this summer. The Eureka Montana Quilt Show is scheduled for August 7th. This is a great event to enjoy throughout the entire downtown. If you want to help, show up that morning around 7:00am to help hang quilts. Or come later in the day to amble along the main street and through the Historical Village to admire hundreds of amazing quilts. For more information, visit the Eureka Montana Quilt Show site.
On Thursday, August 19th, Sunburst Arts and Education brings Montana Shakespeare in the Parks to the Historical Village for this year’s performance of “Cymbeline“. Free admission although donations are always appreciated. Box dinners will be on sale at the Historical Village starting at 5pm. The play begins at 6pm. This event is always a highlight of the summer, creating a bit of theatrical magic in our town.
The weather is turning Montana Spring beautiful. The old schoolhouse isn’t as chilly in the mornings now when the women show up to quilt. We have been working on a couple quilts that will probably take us to the end of the season. Both lovely colors and fabrics, both mostly easy to sew, both require a fair amount of stitching. Outside of the schoolhouse, volunteers are starting to work on various projects. Building storm windows, replacing torn screens, rebuilding the back of the caboose, checking the boardwalk for boards that might need to be replaced before too many summer visitors show up.
Rendezvous Days will be coming up on April 24th so that is always an exciting time to be at the Historical Village. The buildings won’t be open this year but there will be many vendors set up, and live music across at Riverside Park. Of course if you ever need to check out what the quilters have available for sale, you can go to our online shop anytime or stop by on Fridays before the middle of May. The quilters will put their needles, thimbles and threads away for the summer then when the old schoolhouse resumes it appearance as part of the museum.
Lots to look forward to so be sure to mark your calendar. The Eureka Montana Quilt Show is all day on August 7th and Shakespeare in the Parks (this year’s play is Cymbeline) is the evening of August 19th.
It might seem like a middle-of-winter and not much is happening time but that is not true at all when it comes to the Historical Village. Despite the very cold temperatures we’ve been having lately in the Tobacco Valley, the women continue to meet every Friday to quilt from 10:00am – 3:00pm. And yes, if you want to join us either as an experienced quilter or as a novice, you are certainly welcome. It has been an interesting season for the quilts we worked on – four tied ones for the staff at Eureka Healthcare, a lovely burgundy and green one Sally pieced which sold to a woman in New York, two art quilts Rita put together for a project on the pandemic, and a beautiful one made with vintage fabrics Kathy Ingram brought in to have quilted.
Besides Friday quilting, members are also constantly adding things to our online store. We decided to keep it open at least until summer so if you are in the market for a baby quilt, books about the Tobacco Valley, bright potholders or scrubbies, hand embroidered tea towels or pillow cases, or even large quilts (either tied or hand stitched), check out our store online. Just go to the Tobacco Valley Board of History website.
And despite the cold temps and gray skies, we are thinking of Spring when more people begin passing through the Historical Village. Thanks to partial support from the Tobacco Valley Community Foundation, we purchased two new picnic tables that will be ready to replace a couple that have seen better days. And now volunteers are working to get storm windows for the old school house building. These will make it so much easier to keep the building warm next winter when the women are quilting. Special thanks to the EMQS Foundation for facilitating that project. And we have an awesome team of new volunteers who will help repair the ceiling in the old church, repair windows in the Baney House, and offered to help repair the boardwalk. Thanks to all of you who stepped up to keep the Historical Village in great shape. In May, it seems the quilters will be featured in a Backroads of Montana episode! This is a wonderful program on Montana PBS. We will certainly get the word out when we know the date and time.
If you want to be part of keeping our community’s heritage alive, don’t hesitate to attend our next board meeting on March 5 at 10:00am in the old school house. We can always use help with a wide range of tasks from social media, to archives, to fundraising.
We were tempted to post a photo of a dog rather then the table laden with wonderful items made by the women at the Historical Village. We seriously thought of boasting about old dogs learning new tricks but decided it made more sense to just tell you about the awesome bazaar we’ve set up for you.
Follow the link from the Tobacco Valley Board of History website to our spanking new online store (it says Shop at the top of our Home page). Yes, it will have everything you typically enjoyed at our annual holiday bazaar. Cathryn Schroeder’s pine needle baskets, scrubbies, lovely potholders, embroidered dish towels, and yummy jams. Of course there are quilts – baby quilts, tied flannel quilts, quilts with vintage tops, and quilts hand stitched by the Friday quilters. Actually you should just go to the store now to see everything we have because…..well, there is a lot!
It is truly an online store where you pick out things you want to purchase, and then click on the little shopping cart to check out. The store takes credit cards so that makes it easy. You pay online for your items and then any Friday that is convenient, between the hours of 10:00am and 3:00pm you can stop by the old school house in the Historical Village to pick up your order. Do you work between 10-3 and can’t make it to the Village? No problem. Get in touch and we will arrange an alternate pick up time. And guess what? The online bazaar officially opens November 20 so that gives you plenty of time to purchase those lovely items you want to send to friends and family. And because its an online bazaar, you can shop 24/7. Insomnia? Not a problem – get your shopping done anytime while supporting the Historical Village.
Because as always, 100% of these sales support the Historical Village. So with every purchase, you help us maintain the grounds, keep the buildings looking great and pay the bills. So thank you for your purchases! And if you happen to be a minimalist who really doesn’t want anything more (although the upcycled wreaths Lynda made are really fun), its even possible to make a donation to the Tobacco Valley Board of History from our online store.
We are so excited about this endeavor. But to be clear, we are unable to gift wrap and/or ship items you purchase. We are a small group of volunteers and making all these beautiful items (did we mention huckleberry preserves and Cathy’s spicy peach jam?) and managing the online store is what we are capable of now. We are confident you can wrap your own gifts or support our local UPS store if you need any help with shipping. If you live out of the Tobacco Valley and want to purchase something, get in touch with someone you know locally who can pick your items up and arrange to get them to you.
Always a treat to see the Historical Village stretch into the 21st century! Look forward to helping you find perfect delights for everyone on your list. New things will be added weekly so be sure to check back (the cute catnip toys and homemade dog treats are available now!).
Despite the warm days, one can sense fall slowly approaching. The days are starting to get noticeably shorter and the nights just a tad cooler. The fields are mostly a dry golden now and the aspen are just beginning to show bits of yellow. The quilters met a few times over the summer for picnics at the Historical Village, sitting out in front of the museum to catch up on each others’ lives. And it was during one of these summer afternoons that the decision was made to start quilting again in September. We will put two quilts up on large frames so we don’t have to sit so close together, and of course those who want will wear masks. Sally pieced a couple tops that will get us started.
With the lack of large events for the Tobacco Valley Board of History, we weren’t able to sell many raffle tickets for this year’s quilt. Then the Lincoln County Fair which is where the winning ticket is typically drawn was cancelled. So the quilters decided to carry over the lovely blue sampler quilt until next summer. It will give us an opportunity to sell more raffle tickets and hopefully the fair will be in full swing next August. This is, of course, great news for you if you haven’t bought your raffle ticket yet. Now you have an entire year to catch up with one of the quilters or to stop by the old school house on a Friday starting in September.
We will take this opportunity to say a heartfelt THANK YOU to everyone who submitted their membership to the Tobacco Valley Board of History. It has been a challenging year and to receive so many memberships that allow us to continue to maintain the grounds and buildings is deeply appreciated. If by chance, your membership form is still sitting in a pile of papers on your desk, it isn’t too late to mail it in.