July 10, 2011

A Day With Midway Village & the American Pickers

Midway Village Museum was organized in 1968 by the Swedish, Harlem and Rockford Historical Societies for the purpose of collecting, preserving and interpreting the history of the Rockford area .Today, the 52,700 sq. ft Museum Center houses seven exhibition galleries, collections storage, classrooms, workrooms, administrative offices, library, audio-visual room, and the Museum Store.  The Village is representative of a typical rural town in Northern Illinois at the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century. Midway Village features 26 historical structures, including a general store, hardware store, print shop, blacksmith shop, schoolhouse, town hall, police station, plumbing shop, bank, hotel, hospital, fire station, church, barber shop, law office, two barns, and four farm houses.


The popular hosts of the History Channel's American Pickers, Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz,  really brought this old village to life , when their visit entertained a huge audience  at a benefit for the village museum on July 9th.Cousin Judy graciously helped plan and  host this event and was joined by Hobo Jack and  many all those magnificent volunteers that worked so hard to make this even such a success.   If in this area, be sure to attend and explore this village and events it offers. will not be disappointed..for more details Midway Village has a wonderful website , along with calender of events.

I have a few photos to share of our time there. I think one of my favorite displays was seeing Maury's tools displayed ...what a great appreciation he had for preservation and  valuing them. Mid-West Tool Collectors Association Display was interesting and the largest antique tools  display I have even seen.

 I believe another favorite spot for Stephanie and I was  going the museum..a beautiful building  that   the Northern Illinois Quilt Fest had a display relating to quilts in conjunction with other displays the museum had. This special exhibit features quilts from the 1880s up to the 1970s. Included are 1890s crazy quilts replete with velvet, silk and even wool, patchwork patterns from the 1880s to the 1920s, and a Kansas City Star quilt from the 1930s. 

There was exhibits  of aviation, Rockford sock company, which we immediately noticed Judy's contribution of her red sock money collection!

(Midway Village Photo)

 We also viewed a display about Rockfords industrial  revolution and the businesses  of the past, like furniture making, creameries, aviation  ect...all very interesting and well displayed.. there was a LOT  see!   Stephanie  are so very proud of our cousin Judy...what a wonderful  job  done in her help in organizing  this  event  ! ((Congratulations Judy and  Midway Village members!))

(Midway Village Photo above)
( go girl!!) 

Heritage Garden Days 
In The Historic Village

. Meet featured guests on the American Pickers episodes

Midway Village Museum Board Member Judy Gambrel and Hippie Tom

. Booths and Demonstrations

. Mid-West Tool Collectors Association Display

. Antique and Flea Market

. Car and Motorcycle Show produced

by Cadwell Productions

. Architectural and Garden Structures Talks

by Beau Kimball of Kimball & Bean Architectural and Garden Antiques at 2 pm and 4 pm

. Affordable Food and Refreshments by Burritt's

. 50/50 raffle

. Music

As we walked around, we admired the wonderful vegetable gardens grown in back of the historic old homes, along with the beautiful flower beds. near the old barn areas were prairie flowers growing in the wild..and all in bloom.. I could have taken a million pictures, but it was also very hot out there walking around, so I only took a few. 

The Old Mill house, located on the edge of the Museum's Severin Lake, is a working replica of an operating water-powered machine shop With no flowing water to drive the wheel, electric pumps are used to deliver water to the sluice. But, from that point, everything works by water power, just as it did over 100 years ago.

Rockford Hospital
A waiting parlor, examination room, sick room, and pharmacy are part of the Rockford Hospital. The first Rockford Hospital was located in the former home of Dr. Fitch. This hospital, built in 1998 is a 3/4 scale replica of the 1880s Rockford Hospital.

Old Stone School (1902)
 Textbooks, ink-stained desks, and a wood-burning stove are typical furnishings of a turn-of-the-century, rural Illinois school. The desks vary in size because grades one through eight were taught in the same room. All students studied grammar, spelling, and geography. In 1902 this original frame building replaced a limestone structure that burned to the ground in Byron, Illinois. In 1977, the school became part of Midway Village.

This is one of the volunteers of the village, Her name is "Adell."  She was giving tours in the church and sitting near the pipe organ.She a very iInteresting lady and while talking to her, I discovered she used to live across the street from  Judy! She says she knew your grandmother, Judy. I asked her if she has seen you lately and she said no...of course there was no way she could have battled the crowd to introduce herself to you, but maybe later  you will connect. She is a terrific lady!

 Whew!!! , what a day this was, but not complete until we walked  through the antique and craft markets. Thank you for the antique  stitchery Stephanie..I really love it!  Enjoy the bird house! ....I can't wait to return once again to Midway Village, it was a great day!

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