Student Blog — Living History

Emma shares her experiences at the Hope Mill and Lang Pioneer Village, and demonstrates the importance of comparative materials in reconstructing the past. — Kate

On one rainy day we decided to go to Hope Mill and Lang Pioneer Village in order to see what a water powered lumber mill, and a pioneer village looked like.  This was important to our learning experience, as we are excavating a building that belonged to the mill workers, and shared a date with some of the buildings located at the village.

The Hope Mill. Photo courtesy of http://www.hopemill.ca
The Hope Mill. Photo courtesy of http://www.hopemill.ca

Thanks to the excellent preservation/restoration of both the mill and the village, we were able to see how things were in the past.  We saw a house that would have been constructed in a similar size to the one we were excavating, and how it might have looked had the walls still been there.

Aerial view of some of the houses. Photo courtesy Lang Pioneer Village.
Aerial view of some of the houses. Photo courtesy Lang Pioneer Village.

It was extremely beneficial to see how the different rooms of the houses were constructed and positioned, as well as where certain objects would be located.  It was clear that there were not a ton of windows on these types of buildings, and the amount of window glass that we are finding on site line up with this fact.

Drawknife similar to the part of the blade we found.
Drawknife similar to the part of the blade we found.

It was also helpful to see some still intact artifacts, such as a draw knife, which we found a piece of.  Seeing some artifacts in their stage of functionality made it easier to identify pieces that we had found on site.  Kate has the ability to look at odd pieces of metal and identify them as their respected artifact.  Finally being able to see the whole of these artifacts was nice, and seeing the small piece that Kate was able to identify it with, is also interesting.

Lang Pioneer Village Carpenter Shop. Photo courtesy Lang Pioneer Village.
Lang Pioneer Village Carpenter Shop. Photo courtesy Lang Pioneer Village.

Being able to see how the old mill would have functioned in the old days was also neat, although the magnitude of the mill that was on Trent property was lost, since I believe, Hope Mill only has one saw, whereas Red Mill (at Trent) had 136.  So just trying to imagine that amount of activity and noise multiplied by 136 was a little bit daunting.

It is really important to accurately represent history and not fabricate any information.  An accurate and true representation of history is hard to come by, but so much can be learned from it.

 

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