Early in the morning of Jan. 12 two dozen Saltar’s Point Elementary school 4th graders toured the former home of Nathaniel Orr. More than 250 4th graders were scheduled to tour the property during the next three weeks.
An early Steilacoom resident, Orr played many parts in the Town on the Sound, including serving as clerk of the first school district (Steilacoom Historical School District No. 1) established in the county.
On this particular wet winter day, students and parents joined teacher Joy Yoder to visit the Orr Home, Wagon Shop and Museum. Inside the students learned things such as where the first school, jail, and library were located. They also learned how early settles ironed their clothes, made bread, ground coffee beans, and kept themselves entertained with toys such as stereopticons and Jacobs’ ladders.
At Mr. Orr’s Wagon Shop students learned about Orr’s century-old tools such as a planer, an augur, and different types of saws.
“There were no cell phones, nor electricity, then,” explained Mr. ‘Buzz’, wagon shop docent. Five docents from the museum’s Education Committee coordinated the Monday morning/afternoon tours.
“Orr made everything he needed, from nails to tools, even wagons.”
The shop’s three hand-cranked telephones were a hit with the young visitors, even though, most of them agreed that they’re quite content to live in the 21st century rather than the 19th.
The students also visited the Orr Home and learned how Orr’s children (eight of them!) helped with daily chores: chopping wood, emptying chamber pots, helping with weekly laundry, spinning toy tops, and learning to build things.
The most popular part of the tour? Posing for photos in an antique carriage.
“It’s good for kids to see how things were done long ago and to get their hands on these tools,” Mr. ‘Buzz’ said.
Future tours of the Steilacoom Historical Museum Association property can be arranged by phoning 584-4133.Print This Post