Wednesday, July 10, 2013
That Little Building on the Left
The house in this photo belonged to my great-great-grandparents, Dixon and Rebecca Smith Bartley, who lived in Bruin, Pennsylvania, from the mid-1800s until the turn of the century. I discovered the approximate location of the home on a map a few months ago and my brother and sister-in-law found the house and took photos.
On July 10, 1888, a golden wedding anniversary celebration was held for Dixon and Rebecca. A newspaper article records that by early afternoon "250 people had dined sumptuously under an arched canopy alongside the farm house" and that it was a "feast ... in the fullest sense...." Certainly a summer kitchen would have been very convenient at a time like that. In our day, among my circle of friends, having 250 people attend a party or a picnic would be no small thing. In the Bartley's day, the magnitude of it boggles my mind.
It's likely that a committee of women planned, prepared, and served the food. It's also possible that guests brought food to share as we sometimes do with potluck dinners. I wish I knew what foods were prepared and eaten! I'd also like to know if there were tables and chairs set up and whether there were tablecloths. Did people take their own plates and eating utensils? No paper plates and plastic forks in 1888!
I'm still hoping to arrange a tour of the Bartley Homestead and hope that I can see the inside of that little building on the left, the one I believe is the summer kitchen.
This post was written in honor of Dixon and Rebecca's 125th wedding anniversary. Happy Anniversary, Gramma and Grampa!
For more about summer kitchens:
"Summer Kitchen Brought to Light" at Wolcott House in Maumee, Ohio
Traditional Buildings by Allen G. Noble, pp. 221-223
West Essex, Essex Fells, Fairfield, North Caldwell, and Roseland by Charles A. Poekel, p. 49
Kitchens in Colonial Williamsburg in "Kitchens: Places Apart" by Michael Olmert