"ALL THINGS VICTORIAN"
Ever wonder what it was like in Grand Ledge during the Victorian period? The new 2016 exhibit at the Historical Museum, 118 W. Lincoln St. opens Sunday, March 6, 2-4 p.m. and features the 1860s to about 1910.
One of the things Grand Ledge was known for was the Seven Islands Resort. We show the pot-bellied stove that was in the passenger depot on Washington St. where several train-loads of people came in each weekend to ride the riverboats, view the ledges, picnic and stay at the Island House and other hotels in Grand Ledge.
The walls in one room are filled with pictures of the Island Resort, the riverboats, the roller coaster and the ledges. Also see a replica of the Island Queen steamboat made by Watson Russell.
We show Bridge St. scenes before it was paved with horse drawn vehicles, three earlier bridges and some early wooden stores which are now gone. Did you know the first Grand Ledge Chair Company factory was where the Opera House gardens are now? Check out the butter crocks from Tucker's Furniture & Crockery and C. A. Smith grocery. The stores were specialized. You went to the meat market, the bakery, the shoe store, the dress shop, the jewelry, cigar stores, the pharmacy, etc. No big box stores.
Clay, brick and furniture factories were the largest industries. You will see samples of their products. Most people worked in these businesses, the stores or on the surrounding farms.
There was a large turreted school on the Greenwood-City Hall site and on the Sawdon School site. They were built in 1887.
Did you know the north side and south side both had high schools in these buildings for a short time? We show a graduating class from each high school. We also have pictures of some of the one room rural schools.
Before the days of radio, TV and movies people played games and formed bands that often met in the homes. We showcase an early tuba, violin, concertina and accordion grouped around the pump organ.
You might want to try looking at the pictures with the stereoscope or listening to the music from the phonograph.
For traveling plays, music and dances they went to the Opera House or Union Hall Check out the play bills and pictures including the billboard that still is on the hall wall at the Opera House.
You will see mannequins dressed in period clothing from children to adults for a variety of occasions including christening gowns to a gentleman's morning suit. Take a look at the undergarments that sometimes caused ladies to use the fainting couch to catch their breath.
The Museum will be open St. Patrick's Day weekend Saturday 12-4 p.m. before and after the 2 p.m. parade andSunday 2-4 p.m. The Museum is open all Sundays 2-4 p.m. and all festival weekends except National Holidays.