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Algonquin festival revisits history

October 14, 2012
Weirton Daily Times

CARROLLTON - Visitors will receive a glimpse of a slower way of life when visiting the farm site of the Algonquin Mill, that is open for its 42nd festival through today. It is located five miles south of Carrollton on state Route 332.

It is amazing all the crafts, demonstrations, foods, entertainment and learning opportunities that are available on the farm site.

One of the first buildings to be encountered is a log cabin that was once a coach house, a necessity in the days of stage coach travel. It was a place for weary travelers to have a hot meal and a place to sleep for the night. The structure was built in 1823 and as time passed, it was no longer used. Then plans were made to tear it down and it was discovered that a log cabin was underneath its wooden interior.

Article Photos

Esther McCoy
SHINGLE CUTTING — John Leck, of New Philadelphia, demonstrates shingle cutting with his Minneapolis steam tractor with a 20 h.p., built in 1922 at the Algonquin Festival that will continue through today until 5 p.m.

Inside the two story log building, were crafters willing to demonstrate and explain their work.

Lynn Rainsberger, portraying Martha McCook, who would have been the wife of Daniel McCook, a member of the Fighting McCooks, showed beautiful smocked dresses and fabric Easter eggs, telling that this was a French hand-sewing art. She showed how pleating was done by hand also.

Katie Lunemann showed how to spindle sheep's wool so it can be made into warm garmets. Both are members of the Algonquin Weavers and Spinners.

Diane Schrader showed how to make two-ply strands of yard from her own Shetland sheep and had displays of light and heavier weight garments.

John Leck of New Philadelphia had his gigantic Minneapolis steam tractor with cleated steel wheels in operation to run a shingle mill. The 20 horse power tractor was built in 1922. His son, John as well, was having a wonderful time playing in the wood shavings.

Pete Snellman of McConnelsville was making hand-crafted brooms, like those used to sweep log cabin floors in the past. The bristles, made from broom corn, are sewn together with colorful string.

Snellman said it took about 15 minutes to make a child's broom and not much longer for the large one. His business is called Vintage Broom Shop.

Karen Gray was in the seat of authority at the authentic one-room school. She had a shiny apple on her desk and the method of carrying books, a strap that lashed the Elson-Gray Basic Reader and General Hygiene books together.

John and Katie Grafton of Bloomingdale were selling one of the methods of sweetening foods in the past, honey. Shagbark syrup was another sweetener and there were samples of many flavors, such as raspberry, pumpkin, blueberry, hickory, lavender and rhubarb at another stand.

A young man was leading a Belgian horse around in circles while attached to an apparatus that was taking the liquid from corn stalks to make corn syrup.

Children had activities to keep them interested while their parents marveled at past industry. There are pony rides; face painting; sand art; miniature train rides; and a miniature barn raising, where youth can put together a small barn like the authentic barn raisings.

As for food, there is a pork loin dinner, with Algonquin Mill sauerkraut from the Mount Pleasant Church men's prayer group; buttermilk, buckwheat or cornmeal pancakes from the Carrollton Civic Club; a Cookie House with nine varieties by the Carroll County Historical Society; a chicken barbecue by the Dellroy Ruritans; cider, coffee and doughnuts by the Carrollton FFA Alumnae; Sauerkraut Stand by the Carrollton High School; bean soup and cornbread from the More Life youth group; breakfast foods, chili, meatball subs, frito chili pie, from the Carroll County Volunteer Fire Department; fish sandwiches, tater tots, hot dogs and beverages by the Masonic Temple; soft pretzel, Coneys and hamburgers at the Youth Boosters stand; and apple dumplings with ice cream and coffee at the Carroll County Humane Society.

There is a Country Store run by the Dellroy PTO and Carroll County High School that has root beer in brown bottles that look like sarsaparilla, hot butter beer and popcorn.

There are books for sale, an art show, wagon rides, apple butter making, genealogies and a look back to a time when work was done by hand or with animals at a slower pace.

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