On Display

I’m spending a week writing in Door County, Wisconsin (I know, tough duty).  While taking a walk, trying to think through a plot problem, I spotted this beauty:

Restored farm wagon.

What caught my eye was the lovely restoration work—right down to the stenciling. I don’t know why this wagon is displayed so prominently. Perhaps the owners are advertising their restoration skills, or perhaps they are simply celebrating their family or community’s history. In any case, it was an unexpected pleasure to see it.

There are still farms and orchards in the area where I’m staying. Perhaps that wagon was driven past someone picking rocks in this nearby field a century ago.

Stone fence near Egg Harbor, WI.

These artifacts were displayed at the entrance to a business across the road.

Old plow and wheel.

And at the next property, I spotted this old pump.

Perhaps the homeowner fills the basket with flowers in the summer.

When I circled back, I  found one more artifact.  (I hadn’t even noticed when driving by.)

The Cottage Retreat, Egg Harbor, WI.

It’s not uncommon, of course, to find artifacts in the landscape. Some, like the old pump and stone fence, are original remnants of another time. But often, people choose to display historical objects outside their homes or businesses. Some may be motivated by nostalgia, or want to celebrate family history or local traditions. Others may simply find the objects beautiful or whimsical.

Whatever the reason, I love discovering these relics, especially while traveling. They provide clues to local history, and I can’t help  imagining the people who once made or used these things.

How about you? Have you kept or salvaged any relics of the past, and put them on display?

4 Responses to “On Display”

  1. Heather Says:

    Love your pictures, Kathleen, and yes–spending a week in Door County–at any time–is always a hardship. I don’t really have any family heirlooms, or even any found artifacts, but I do still have the handmade rocking chair I got when I was 4 or 5 years old sitting in my living room. All wood, no nails or screws.

    • Kathleen Ernst Says:

      Heather, I don’t have any family heirlooms displayed outside either, and my family moved around a lot–so no long heritage in one place to celebrate, either. But your handmade rocking chair sounds like a treasure!

  2. Arletta Dawdy's Blog Says:

    I’ve found an old children’s book cover in Vermont snowfields to sit on my desk; a rusted seeder near our forest home in Mendocino, put on the front porch with flowers in it; arrowheads I left in place; a William Jennings Bryant politcal poster in a bottle near Lake Arrowhead; coastal finds of driftwood, boat parts, plastic/metal/ nature for mobiles, etc, etc. Each has a story… and the one I make up just as you have done.

    • Kathleen Ernst Says:

      Arletta, you’ve found some real treasures! I love the idea of using little treasures in mobiles. In particular, I have lots of stones picked up at various special places. Most I keep in vases, but a few I keep where I can handle them from time to time.

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