Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Visiting Latta Plantation

Today I took the 2 girls on a field trip to a small plantation nearby. Latta Plantation is a circa 1800 Southern cotton plantation. The Mr. Latta who built the main house in 1800 was initially a merchant, but he switched to cotton production when the cotton boom came along. The home is beautiful, and has been restored with paint and furnishings inside that are true to the time period.
The kitchen is detached, as was normal in that time.
Beautiful old barn:

This is the pianoforte in the front parlor. I wonder why they don't make them in this shape anymore?
In the dining room hearth, there was a plate warmer (left), along with various items for serving a good tea.
This clock is one of two items original to the house.
In the upstairs front bedroom was this nifty corner shelf, complete with washing bowl and pitcher, and the chamber pot on the floor.
Downstairs, a young man taught us about the life of the Revolutionary War soldier in this area, just before the plantation would have existed. He let the kids dress up in their regimentals, complete with water canteen, haversack, cartridge case, and musket. Don't shoot, Anna!

My little soldier!
The "rug" you see on the floor below is actually made of sail cloth -- like for sails on boats. Very sturdy, as you can imagine. They painted it, it was much easier to clean than wood floors, and when it was too damaged, you could throw it out and get a new one.
Upstairs, this man was working a loom. He was most interesting and informative, and spent lots of time with Anna showing her how the loom works and how he uses the patterns he has for this piece of fabric.
We spent LOTS of time in the kitchen. This lady was truly amazing. She made a gorgeous "brown bread," which looked like a dark, molasses quick bread with raisins on top. She also cooked red cabbage, a pumpkin soup, and finished with an apple pie. We didn't get to taste, of course, but her 3 children who were there seemed to enjoy it very well. She also sent portions to the other demonstrators on the property. Here, she is steaming her pumpkin for the soup.

She cooked over an open hearth, with many pieces of cast iron. I loved to see all her sizes of Dutch ovens. Here she's frying bacon, to go in her cabbage dish.
Julia is beginning to feel hungry, I think. You can see the brown bread right under the lady's hand.
Some of the firewood to be cut:
The biggest cast iron pot I've EVER seen:
Lastly, we visited the hogs. They looked very muddy and very comfortable.
I'd highly recommend Latta Plantation if you're in the Charlotte area. Today was their Homechool Day, and it only cost $5 for each of us. The demonstrators are talkative and helpful, and it's a self-guided tour, so you can roam at will and go back to revisit any spots you particularly liked.

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