by Caitlin Dentamaro-
Preservation is important in many ways because it helps the future learn about the past. Houses in Edwardsville date back hundreds of years. In my best friend’s house, they have stairs that date back to the Civil War. With the Civil War having its 150th anniversary this year, I thought that the stairs should be talked about. The stairs, at this point, are very wobbly, painted white and missing chunks of wood out of the different panels. The staircase has been painted over and over again, but the original wood is still intact. The landlord of the house refuses to fix the stairs or even change them out because he wants to preserve the entire set. I feel that this is important because the landlord appreciates history and what the staircase has to offer. Even though the house has been updated throughout the years, the dangerous staircase will always be left, leading into the basement.
by Caitlin Dentamaro-
Growing up in a suburb of Chicago, museums were around me all of the time. The museums in the city are beautiful and large, being able to meet everyone’s interests. One of my favorite museums is called Graue Mill. It is not in the busy city, but in the suburbs where I live. I love this museum because it is small and personal, having more volunteers than visitors.
Graue Mill is located in Oak Brook, Illinois. The founder of this mill was Frederick Graue who was born in Germany but came to the United States to open a mill. The mill took five years to build. The bricks and clay came from the Graue farm. During the nineteenth century, the mill was the center of economic life. Being located on the Salt Creek, the mill had a large waterwheel grist mill that would grind the locally grown wheat and corn.
Graue Mill not only made a living for the Graue family for generations, the mill was also used as a route for the Underground Railroad. The mill was one of three stops for the Underground Railroad in Illinois. This station allowed the slaves to hide out in the basement of the mill. Mr. Graue built tunnels that linked the basement of the mill to other hiding places for the African Americans seeking freedom.
Every month Graue Mill holds different events. My aunt and uncle volunteered there and they would reenact different events that happened throughout the time the mill was still being used. My aunt and uncle would dress up and do different tasks around the mill. My uncle was a skilled blacksmith, showing the visitors how to shape the metal. My aunt was placed upstairs in the mill, weaving and spinning cotton into yarn.
I feel that reenacting and having living history presentations is important for the visitors to see how the mill was used between 1850 and 1890. As learned in class, preservation of old buildings is important for the future, teaching everyone about the past. We are now able to learn about the mill and physically see the mill because preservation has taken place over the years. Since 1975, the mill has been registered on the National Register of Historical Places.
by Caitlin Dentamaro-
Preserving history is taking place all over the United States. During a trip to the east coast, I had the opportunity to visit Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts. Our tour guide Deana taught us about the area and how the people lived. Oak Bluffs became a thriving Methodist area during the nineteenth century. Starting in 1835, Methodists came to Martha’s Vineyard, living in tents. The area in Martha’s Vineyard is called the Oak Bluffs where the people of the camp lived. The group that is responsible for the campground is called Martha’s Vineyard Campmeeting Association (MVCMA).
Each summer, members of the church would pitch tents and have their meetings outside. As years went on, more visitors began coming to the island. They would start building small wooden houses, now known as the Gingerbread Cottages. They are very colorful and actually do look like Gingerbread Houses. With the town forming in a circle, they decided to build a tabernacle in the center. The tabernacle holds 3,000 people. Winter came and they built a church called Trinity Methodist Church in 1878.
There are 320 cottages that belong to the MVCMA. They are now priced for over a million dollars each. Many families have passed the cottages down from generation to generation. Everyone loves their community and they sit outside and greet the visitors. I was very happy that I was able to see such a memorable place. I feel that it is important to preserve history so generations in the future can learn about their past. The memories will be remembered forever if the residents keep their Gingerbread Cottages preserved. The residents answered any questions we had and were proud of where they lived. On April 5, 2005, Oak Bluffs became a National Historical Landmark.