The antique doors on the front of the farmhouse on the Algonquin Mill Farm have a “new” look that returns them to their original glory just in time for visitors to open them during the 46th annual Algonquin Mill Fall Festival Oct. 7-9.
The Civil War era gothic-style farmhouse has been sitting quietly amid the steam powered mill, schoolhouse and train station facing the barn. Last year, members of the Carroll County Historical Society (CCHS) removed two dead pine trees in front of the house bringing it to the attention of festival goers.
The CCHS Algonquin Mill Festival has been celebrating the traditional lifestyle of days gone by for over 40 years as a place for individuals and families to come together and see things that are, or are becoming, part of a vanishing way of life.
According to Dave McMahon, president of CCHS, the farmhouse has been long over due for a little attention.
“The front doors have always bothered me,” McMahon said. “They were painted white and had the louver type windows that could be cranked opened and a screen. Between the windows and the screen, very little light was able to come in and the rooms were dark.”
The doors were stripped down to the original wood and stained. Turn of the 20th century leaded glass windows were installed in the doors thanks to the generosity of an anonymous donor. McMahon explained the windows were slightly adapted to fit in the doors.
“I want to see fingerprints on the windows,” McMahon stated. “I want people to feel the lead dividers in them.”
Another advantage from revamping the doors is both doors now open. The door on the right side (standing in front of the home) was painted shut and had not been opened since the early 1990s. By removing the louver windows and screens, light floods the home and standing in certain spots, visitors will see the rainbow colors reflected from the sunshine.
While working on the front doors, volunteers removed the metal siding off the porch face of the home. This led to the discovery of windows above each door which are now visible. Workers removed the windows, scraped them and fixed the glass. Removing the siding exposed the original wood of the home on the porch face, which has decorative inlaid pieces.
Once you walk through the front doors, visitors will see the original wood flooring. During the summer, Thursday volunteers removed the “modern” floor covering and nails to allow the original wood floor to be sanded and refinished by a local man. McMahon said the project was very labor intensive taking a lot of time to remove the old flooring and removing nails from the floor. The kitchen area had two layers that had to be removed. The other areas had 1970s era linoleum.
The walls and ceilings in the main area of the farmhouse where ladies quilt and make rugs, pillows and other items, were painted to help “refresh” the home, also.
McMahon said other improvements were made since the last festival but most of those help the workers by making the facility run easier.
“We’re not finished with improvements,” McMahon continued, “but we are pleased with where we are at.”
Visitors at the Algonquin Mill Festival can feel the power of the steam driven engine in the flour mill as it turns grain into stone ground flour; watch the steam traction engine at work at the sawmill turning logs into lumber and catch wisps of steam rise from kettles containing apple butter, bean soup and chili during the three-day festival.
One of the most popular items is the homemade sauerkraut. McMahon said, volunteers put up eight ton this year, down one ton from last year.
“The sauerkraut is getting ready,” he said. “We did one less ton this year. Anyone wanting sauerkraut should get it Friday or Saturday.”
The aroma of freshly baked bread, pancakes and barbequed chicken floats through the air and fibers, such as wool, will be dyed in pots over an open fire as visitors take a look into the past. Rugs and other items are available to purchase in the farmhouse and the country store, as well as from various vendors on the grounds. Musical entertainment will be held during the three-day event, along with an engine, tractor and car show.
A variety of food is available featuring pancakes, bean soup, apple dumplings and ice cream along with trail bologna and cheese. Dozens of homemade cookies and apple cider will be for sale. A chicken barbeque will held Saturday.
Work has also been ongoing at the Perrysville Historical Church. The bell tower and spire have received a complete make-over.
“We have more projects waiting in the wings for attention,” McMahon stated. “We just have to find the time and the funding.”
Admission to the grounds is $8 per vehicle. Festival hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. The Algonquin Mill Complex is located four miles south of Carrollton on SR 332. No pets are allowed on festival grounds. Primitive camping is $15 per night.
The McCook House Civil War museum, located on Public Square in Carrollton, is open during the festival. Shirley Anderson, curator of the McCook House, has a coverlet made by Phillip Anschutz, a weaver, on display during the festival. Anschutz, a village resident, wove his name into the coverlet, which he created in the 1840s-1850s. Donations are accepted. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Friday and Saturday and 1-5 p.m. Sunday.
For additional information, call 877-727-0103 or visit www.carrollcountyohio.com/history. Proceeds benefit the ongoing mission of the Carroll County Historical Society.