Saturday, August 30, 2014

Research Trip: Wade House Stagecoach Hotel

I mentioned earlier on this blog, that I would be sharing some of the historical info that I uncover in my research for the novel I am writing. This week I visited an historical site and thoroughly enjoyed the immersion into the past.

My husband and I visited the Wade House, a former stagecoach stop and hotel in Greenbush, Wisconsin, a short drive from Sheboygan and Lake Michigan. The setting for my novel revolves around a stagecoach inn or hotel.

First Floor Parlor
The Wade House is situated on 240 acres and in addition to the historic inn, includes a blacksmith shop, sawmill and a carriage museum. The most interesting part to me, of course, was the three-story former stagecoach hotel. The building was built in the 1849/50 time period and thanks to the Kohler family, as in sinks and faucets, who provided the funding, the hotel has been restored.

We discovered that the blacksmiths in this country earned a good salary. In Wisconsin they would earn $3.00-$5.00 a day when most people in the state earned just a $1.00 per day. Mr. Wade, the founder, was a blacksmith in the eastern part of the country. He came to Wisconsin and with his saved earnings bought the land to start the hotel.

In addition to providing lodging and meals for stagecoach travelers, Wade also provided horses for the various stage lines. You can visit a blacksmith shop on the grounds and demonstrations by guides will be given.

Guest Room

There is also a sawmill you can tour. A guide will show you how the mill worked and explain that much of the wood was provided to immigrant families desiring to build homes in the Wisconsin woods.

I came back with tidbits like, it cost fifty cents for a night’s lodging and breakfast. The rooms used by guests and the bedrooms in the private quarters of the inn did not have closets, because they did not possess the large amount of clothes we do today. They used hooks to hang their clothing.
Stagecoach replica in museum

Mattresses in the bedrooms were supported by ropes and stuffed with straw. When it was asked why the beds seemed so small, it was noted that most people slept curled up at the time, as many believed that if they slept flat on their backs, they would not live through the night!

If you enjoy history and want to visit an authentic site, this might be for you.

How about you? 
Have you visited a site that has inspired you?

Saturday, August 16, 2014

What a Nine Year Old Taught Me About Reading

I was inspired last week to be a reader. I spent a week with my nine-year-old niece who is a voracious reader. I watched her put aside her electronic tablet to take the time to read.

We went to the library together and checked out some books. I just loved watching her read. A child doesn’t have the same distractions or guilt from reading as do some adults. I get distracted sometimes when I read, feeling I should be "doing" something more productive. 

I also questioned her about understanding what she read and she told me she did, relating the story she was engrossed in.

This is what I learned from her:

No matter our age, we can still become a reader. I didn’t read as a child or young adult and missed enjoying many books my peers did. I enjoy reading many young adult titles today, maybe because I can get through them quicker since they are shorter and I am a slow reader.

We can become better conversationalists when we are readers. I was impressed with her vocabulary and her conversations with adults has matured. Even though I’m sure this comes with age, the knowledge and word choices comes from reading. I notice that my vocabulary is not as deep as some of my peers who have spent their lives as readers.

Don’t feel guilty. As adults we become so obsessed sometimes with our responsibilities, such as cleaning, buying groceries and worrying. When those things seem to overwhelm us, we just want to sit down and watch television. Don’t do it. Pick up a book and read.

How about you? Did you read as a child or begin later in life? Do you feel guilty when you take time to read?