Sunday, 2 March 2014

Arizona Pioneer Living History Museum

Every time we’ve been heading north out of Phoenix on I17 we’ve seen signs for the Pioneer Living History Museum, every time I’ve said that looks interesting, and every time DB’s answer has been ‘we haven’t got time’.
It’s not a long drive from Wickenburg so we finally got to visit, again we took highway 60, then headed east on 74 and north on I17, at exit 225 we followed the signs and were there in about 2 minutes.
The museum is on 92 acres, all the buildings have been donated some are original and some have been restored.
The opera house
This old wagon certainly looks as though it belongs.

I took a ride behind these gorgeous Percheron (I think) horses through the pumpkin patch and back.

The Sherriff gave us a tour of the old jail.

We watched the gunfight, there were a couple of schools visiting and the kids thoroughly enjoyed themselves.   One of the volunteers was really good with bullwhips, I tried to take a photograph but he was so fast all I got was air.

The Newman Cottage was open to visitors and compared to some of the others it was palatial.   If I remember correctly, Newman drove cattle from Oregon to Arizona and not long after arriving he died, his widow sold the cattle for $200 apiece and became a very wealthy woman.

Inside Newman Cottage

The church and Teacherage.  Although small the Teacherage was home to the teacher who taught in the school next door.   This was luxurious accommodation as most teachers lodged with families and paid them 30% of their salary for the privilege.   This Teacherage was built in the late 1880’s and moved from Pleasant Valley, just east of Payson in 1966.

 China and lamp from the same time period, inside the Teacherage.

The shell of the Phoenix Bakery was relocated in 1975, the building weighs 300,000 lbs and it took 5 days to move it the 30 miles to the museum.
The bakery was started by a German apprentice, Edward Eisele who was actually on his way to England to work for a cloth manufacturer.   After being beaten and robbed he was unable to take up his apprenticeship and so made his way to America.   He worked as a coal miner and wagon train cook arriving in Arizona he worked as a cook for the team surveying the Arizona Canal.   In 1881 he found employment at the Phoenix Bakery, 3 years later he bought the bakery, a friend, Alfred Becker joined him in 1887.  Baking 200 loaves a day delivery was on foot, then by bicycle, it was the first bakery in Arizona to introduce horse drawn delivery and the first in the territory to try out the horseless carriage.  Lots of innovations followed including waxed paper, pre-sliced loaves and TV marketing.
As the museum is a city park and with support from the Eisele family the building is to be restored and will eventually sell baked goods to visitors.

 Some of the decorative ironwork on the outside of the building.

Meritt Farm

While we were visiting we noticed some posters for a civil war battle re-enactment at the weekend, so we returned to watch them, some photographs below. 

The first two battles of the day were civil war re-enactments. 

Union Troops

Confederate Troops, The Texans of Bexar County

Confederate Camp

Firing the canon

The final re-enactment of the day was the battle of Kettle Hill during the Spanish American War.  Firing the gatling gun.  

The museum was well worth a visit and we’re glad we went back to watch the battle re-enactments as well.  DB is pleased because now when we travel north on I17 I won’t be asking to visit, well not for a few years anyway! 

Have fun, we are!

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