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This Year’s (online) Bazaar

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!).

https://tobacco-valley-board-of-history.square.site/

We call it home

Recently the quilters at the Historical Village got some press. There was a wonderful article in Montana Arts Council’s State of the Arts quarterly newspaper. Locals who saw the articles were thrilled. And even some folks from out of the area read about these hard-working women. There were various follow-up conversations about the quilters and what they do, which got us thinking more seriously about why we are excited for the press, what exactly is our story?

There have been women quilting at the Historical Village since the mid 1970s. It would be hard to imagine how many stitches have been done in that amount of time. Let’s just say countless. Of course, the women enjoy getting together on Fridays to quilt, share ideas and laughter, but they also realize their goal is to preserve the Historical Village. They do this with the money they raise through their quilting, with the information about the valley they share with each other and the visitors who stop by, and with maintenance of all the archives under the care of the Tobacco Valley Board of History.

And this is what they have been guardians of for nearly fifty years. So if you stop by the Historical Village today, you see buildings that have been well maintained. You can ask for photos and we will go through our files to find one that shows Fortine in the early 1900s or the first saw mill in the valley. You can bring your children to the museum in the summer to see examples of things you or your parents or your grandparents used. And recently we updated our collection of over two hundred oral histories (taped interviews and some written transcripts). You can think of us as the Keepers of the Hearth.

But is that our story? Or is that just who we are? The story for us at this moment in time seems to be a mystery – who will continue to keep this hearth burning bright in the future? There is lots of support for our membership drive and we are very appreciative of the money people donate to help the Historical Village with expenses. But there needs to be a treasurer to handle that money, and a secretary to deal with paperwork. Who can arrange for ground maintenance in the summer, shovel snow in the winter or find volunteers for trash pick-up? Are there individuals who want to sit around on Fridays listening to stories so they will be able to pass them on thirty years from now?

If you read our story, it involves searching for clues, talking with a stranger in some dark cafe, tracking down information to solve the mystery of who will be the keepers in the future of this place we call home. Do we follow bread crumbs? Take hints from Lois Lowry’s young adult novel, The Giver? Perhaps find clues in Robert Putnam’s lament about the decline of social capital? Any help to solve this mystery will be greatly appreciated.

Another turn

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 IMG_2834each 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.

Lilacs are blooming

Just enough going on that it made sense to let you know.  First a loud ‘hurrah!!’ for selling our beautiful Piano Keys quilt online.  This is the first time we attempted this sort of sale for one of our own quilts, but as we missed our winter fundraiser (The Wardens concert) apianokeys5nd our May rummage sale, we needed to try something new. We announced the quilt for sale on Facebook to see if it would sell. And it did!  It was an awesome experience as there was so much interest – not only in the Tobacco Valley but across the country.  We are encouraged to try in again, perhaps once a year depending on our quilt production.  Sincere thanks to everyone who showed enthusiasm, asked for photos, expressed interest and – to the fine person who bought it.  The photo shows the women quilting during the winter.  Quite the beauty – measured 100″ x 100″ when done.  Very special thanks to CathrynCathryn (pictured below) who finished quilting it after we stopped meeting as a group in March, and to Lynda who did  all 400″ of binding on it.

And as we move into the summer season at the Historical Village, we are being cautious about keeping our community and our volunteers healthy and safe.  We have currently postponed opening the museum, planning to announce dates in June. So please stay tuned. In the meantime, enjoy the beautiful park down at the Historical Village. Please remember to leave it as tidy as you find it. Thanks.

 

Changes

Well, let’s start with what’s not happening at the moment and then move on to current activities.  Our winter fundraiser scheduled in March with the awesome Canadian band, The Wardens, was cancelled as the diligent thing to do considering all the factors.  Although we were very sorry to miss the opportunity to have these musicians perform here in the Tobacco Valley, it only made sense for them to be home and for us not to be gathering.  Friday quilting has been postponed for the foreseeable future and this is Jessquiltingcertainly a tough one to accept.  It made all of us realize that although one reason we sew together is to raise money for the Historical Village, a bigger part is sitting with this remarkable group of women, sharing stories, sharing laughs, offering each other love and support.

Despite the challenges of missing our Fridays together, there are things we are doing even while observing social distancing.  Cathy organized sewing face masks for the local medical clinic and a number of quilters helped on this.  Carmen shared her delicious tamales which makes any day seem much brighter.  Sally is busy getting seedlings and such ready for May gardens.  Lydna has a new puppy.  Cathryn took the quilt we had been working on home (the one we fondly call ‘piano keys’) so it wouldn’t feel bereft alone in the old school house. Despite the gray, snowy weather that we’ve been getting, flowers are starting to push up their first tender leaves.  And the lilac bushes at the Historical Village actually have buds.

No doubt we will be very appreciative when we get back together again.  Perhaps there will be so much talking that very little quilting will get done at first.

Things happening

It might seem a bit dreary in northwestern Montana but we are feeling cheerful at IMG_1894the Historical Village.  Besides Friday quilting which is something you should consider visiting, we are planning projects that will come to fruition in the spring.  All the buildings in the Historical Village are owned and maintained by the Tobacco Valley Board of History except one. That one, the small squarish white concrete building, is owned by Lincoln County and has housed various organizations over the years.  Currently the Lincoln County Library uses the back space in that building for their used book sales.  The front area is rented by TOPS for weekly meetings. The Eureka Chamber of Commerce which used to be housed in that building had a large sign frame in front of the building.  Over the years, the sign weathered and after the Chamber moved to their new location, the county told the Tobacco Valley Board of History they could use the sign frame if they wanted.

Now we are working hard to come up with information for a new sign that we hope will be beneficial for locals as well as tourists. We are going through our extensive photo archive to find pictures that will support the new text.  Our goal is to have a beautiful sign ready and up by Rendezvous Days in April. Fingers crossed!

We are also getting ready for our next big fundraiser.  The Wardens will perform in Wardens-Promo-3_Credit-Ray-SchmidtEureka on March 14th starting at 4pm at the Community Hall (Lodgecraft building), tickets at the door.  This is an easy way to support the Historical Village. Any of you who experienced the Wardens at their Trego show in 2018 know they are one fabulous band – both their music and their storytelling. We believe it will be a sell out event so plan to get there early on March 14th and grab your seats.

try something new

It does seem the ideal time to think about trying new things.  No doubt there are people out there who make New Year’s resolutions to learn a new language or take up skiing or make Cha Siu Bao (pork dumplings) and actually manage to do it.  We can take this as a sign that it is never too late to learn a skill, to take a different path, to try something new.  Many of our quilters are fine examples of this.IMG_2068

Recently we began to set up the next quilt we will be working on.  We had carefully put together the frame and measured to be sure to center the fabric for the quilt back.  Tacked the fabric all around and then realized the back had been pieced.  There was a seam down the middle but it hadn’t been ironed flat.  A detail we were determined to correct despite numerous sighs that this would require untacking the fabric in order to take it off to iron. Then Cathy and Lynda had the brainstorm to iron the backing while it was on the frame.  Although some of us scoffed at this idea, they actually managed to do it and do it well.

Although we have been around long enough to realize that not everything is possible – there are quite a lot of things that are which are worth trying.  As we begin 2020, we hope you consider trying something new to support your community and help yourself along the way.  We all certainly have a lot of potential waiting to be put to good use.

Upcoming events:

January 3 10am at Historical Village – Board of History meeting. Public welcome

March 14 4pm at Lodgecraft Building (Eureka) The Wardens Concert!

Quilting every Friday 10am – 3pm at the old school house in the Historical Village.

 

 

And then it was fall

All at once the summer finished up and today the museum at the Historical Village will close for winter.  The quilters met last week at the old school house to begin their season.  They set up the first quilt to work on, a lovely Dresden plate design that belongs to a woman in Oklahoma.  After discussion about which pattern to use for quilting, we settled down to sew.  We hadn’t met as a group since the middle of May so our needles and thimbles felt a bit rusty but in no time at all we were in the flow.rafflequilt2020

A woman in Rollins, MT won last year’s raffle quilt. A lovely lavender one pieced by Vivian Vanleishout and quilted by the women at the Historical Village. This year’s raffle quilt is one of my favorites.  Each of the quilters made 2-4 unique blocks from various shades of blue and rose that Sally selected. After piecing them together, the fun began as each block needed to be quilted differently.  Raffle tickets go on sale soon and then next August at the county fair, a lucky winner will be selected.  It could be you (if you buy the right ticket). You are certainly welcome to stop by the old school any Friday between 10am – 3pm to see this special quilt.

As you put together your schedule for the upcoming season, you want to keep in mind a few important dates.  On Wednesday, November 27, the Tobacco Valley Board of History will have a Pint Night at HA Brewery.  A dollar for every beverage sold will be donated for maintenance of the Historical Village.  Always a fun evening (this is our third annual!) with a huckleberry pie to raffle and great music. Be sure to come out to enjoy the evening with us.

On March 14, another great fundraiser is a concert in Eureka featuring The Wardens, an awesome Canadian band who performed here in 2018.  Songs and stories of the backwoods, wildlife and life as a ‘government cowboy’ will fill the evening.  The concert starts at 4pm; tickets available at the door. More details to follow.

And just in case you live in the Tobacco Valley and are interested in learning to hand quilt or volunteering, know we would be glad to see you.  Stop by the school house in the Historical Village on Fridays when we are quilting to find what you might do.

Getting serious sort of

Where does summer go?  In northwest Montana, the season whizzes by with days at the lake, out of town guests, the rodeo, the quilt show, the county fair, the garden, E4A55F53-3248-4750-B461-F2B5E3CE0CEFhuckleberry picking, and those other activities that you might fall into depending on your inclination.  There was fishing and hiking, the Patsy Cline play which was a winner, getting a start on firewood, putting up pickles, and family reunions.  Did you see this year’s Shakespeare in the Park?  Run in the annual Roodell race?  Eat pancakes to support the Animal Shelter (July event) or the RiverWalk (August event)?

Now as we teeter on the end of summer and the beginning of fall, there is a mad scurry to get things in order.  Kids return to school, the firewood does need to be gotten in and all those last minute outdoor projects finished up.  Maybe if you are retired, you start thinking about a visit to Glacier Park or some long distance traveling around the country when vacation spots aren’t as crowded.  Or for young parents, maybe it is just a relief to have a regular schedule again as the school year begins.

Perhaps after the flurry of summer, you think about changes you want to make this coming fall/winter.  It might be time to consider taking up a new hobby.  The quilters at the Historical Village begin meeting on Fridays starting in September.  Stop by if you want to learn to hand quilt or even how to tie a quilt.  Or maybe you decided now is the time to become more involved with this community.  The Historical Village has numerous events that can use volunteer help: rummage sales, book sales, Pint Night at HA Brewery, the holiday bazaar and our winter music fundraiser. Or perhaps as we slip into fall and winter weather, you are looking for some good reads about this region.  Now is a perfect time to stop by the Historical Village museum to pick up books by local authors or ask for suggestions.  The museum store closes for the season on September 2 so don’t put it off. Here are a few titles to get you started:

“Indian Trials of the Northwest Rockies” Darris Flanagan

“The Montana Christmas Tree Story: A Historic Saga of Boom and Bust” Darris Flanagan

“Tobacco Valley” Gary Montgomery

“The Book of Yaak” Rick Bass

“The Wolverine Way” Douglas Chadwick

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.