I really enjoyed working at Billie Creek Village during the Covered Bridge Festival and I am looking forward to going back when it opens again next Spring. Like most non-profit organizations during this day and age, the Village and farmstead have suffered over the past few years. Attendance is down, and unlike some other living history museums in Indiana, Billie Creek doesn’t have an endowment to pull from during lean times. Sadly, this shows up in noticeable needed maintenance of the buildings and deterioration of the farm. My hope is to be able to help put the pieces of the farmstead back together and be able to continue the tradition of teaching future generations the history of farm life and make connections about where their food comes from.
The farmhouse was moved to the Village in 1976 from 12 miles away. It was donated by the Stokes family. It sits, quietly nestled in the back part of the property away from the “town” buildings.
The horse drawn wagons bring visitors past the front door on their way to a covered bridge.
Then circles back to the most cozy and comfortable back porch you’ll ever see. There is a checkers set waiting for players and a wash tub and wringer set for the Monday wash.
The kitchen has a few modern amenities, that are not period correct.
That is because up until a few years ago, they used to serve chicken and noodles and baked goods right out the farmhouse. Sadly, the State of Indiana has issued so many regulations regarding serving food to the public, the old farmhouse is no longer in compliance.
The dining room and half of the kitchen are the original part of the house. They were built during the Civil War and the family went on to raise 10 children in the two small rooms. Mrs. Stokes cooked her meals in the fireplace back then and the kitchen area would have been their sleeping quarters.
I like the warming cupboard above the fireplace. I’m sure they were able to keep their blankets and things nice and toasty up there.
In 1886 the family built on to the original house. They added a cozy sitting room.
It included a stairway to the second story, which we’ll come back to in a minute.
They also added a beautiful parlor for entertaining guests. Mr. Stokes was an official in the Methodist church and it is said he entertained many ministers here.
I’m sure this is where Mrs. Stokes set up her quilt frame a time or two so I did the same last week and demonstrated hand quilting.
The master bedroom is quite lovely.
It is rather large for the period and even includes a sizable closet.
Upstairs there is one large room for the children.
It is set up half for boys and half for girls. The door below would not have been there originally.
It is only there to allow easy viewing of the hired-hand’s room. During the period, the hired-hand would have entered the room through a separate entrance directly from the back porch.
In fact, there many have been several people sharing the room as the family owned 100 acres which was part of the original land grant.
All in all, I love this old house. I hope that we will be able to keep the Village open to continue to share it with the public for many years to come.