So first I want to begin by apologizing for being so quiet lately. I wish I could say that I’ve been so busy with my housewifely duties that I simply haven’t had the time to sit and write. Unfortunately, my time has been commandeered by time outside of the home, that silly thing called a “real job.” And trust me, any housewife would be shocked at the condition of my house. Laundry in unfolded piles, furniture undusted, floors unmopped, scandalous!
I’m lucky that my newest “real job” is such a joy, I’m a Library Assistant in the Youth Services department at one of my county libraries. And I love it. The kids are amazing and so much fun, and while I’m finding the teens to be a bit of a challenge, I am actively seeking out ways to get to know them and relate to them so that I can provide a valuable experience for them in their community.
In case you didn’t know, my second “real job” is at a little local zoo. I’m an Assistant Manager in the Visitor Services department, which means that I help to run admissions, the gift shop, and the concession stand. It’s another fabulous job where I get to interact with the public, and I especially enjoy the kids. I get to know the animals pretty well, but I do not get to handle them at all. We are an accredited zoo, and there are very strict standards about the care of our animals. Which means mainly that you need specialized training in order to interact with them.
But my schedule is finally falling into a pattern, and I will now have time to dedicate consistently to the Historical Housewife. To celebrate, last Sunday I attended the Haverford Township Heritage Festival and got to visit Nitre Hall and Lawrence Cabin. It was a fun day, with volunteers throughout the grounds demonstrating skills such as candle making, blacksmithing, quilting and more.
Built along Cobbs Creek in the early 1800s, the Nitre Hall Powder Mills was the namesake for what became Powder Mill Valley. The mills produced black powder that was needed for explosives. The mill produced 800,000 pounds of powder during the war of 1812, and it was only rivaled by the Dupont Mills a few miles south on the Brandywine River. After the powder mills closed in 1840, the property was bought and the buildings were converted to manufacture textiles.
Nitre Hall is the only remaining building. It served as the home of the powder master, so several families lived in the home over the years. A main feature of the home is the original kitchen with a beautiful, large hearth that takes up one whole side.
The oldest free-standing domestic building in Haverford Twp., Lawrence Cabin was the home of Henry Lawrence, a Welsh Quaker, as well as five generations of his family. The cabin no longer stands on it’s original location. In 1961 it was slated for demolition but was saved, meticulously dissembled, and then reassembled in it’s current location.
The cabin is a small, one room cabin, with a large hearth. A small ladder to the side of the hearth leads to the loft where children would have slept.
I will have to schedule a visit to return to Nitre Hall and Lawrence Cabin. Tours were mostly self-guided the day of the Festival due to the quantity of people, so I couldn’t really get an in-depth info on the families that lived in these homes. Luckily, I happen to know a few people involved with the local historical society, so hopefully I can plan a tour and get more information. Stay tuned! Also, keep an eye out for a post on my visit to Hagley, the Dupont powder mills on the Brandywine.
Here are some more photos from my visit, click to enlarge. Enjoy!