On November 19, eighty third-graders from the Kelseyville Elementary School visited the Ely Stage Stop & Country Museum for a morning of living-history demonstrations. Museum docents provided eight stations of various activities through which groups of ten students rotated to get a better idea of how life was in the old days.
Demonstrations at the main house included clothes-washing by hand using vintage equipment, operating an antique corn sheller, a display and discussion of Lake County’s early dairy industry, the antique phone system that connects the Ely main house with the barn, and how the antique wood stove would have been used in an old time cook house.
Demonstrations in the barn included the handling of pioneer cookware, a discussion of the resident stage coach replica, and a display and hands-on opportunity to learn about horse tack from cowboy days.
Outside, on the Ely grounds, the groups got to see an antique engine in operation and also got the opportunity to hop on a San Francisco cable car from the 1800’s.
Ely docents were very happy to welcome the kids. They were so curious, asking their own great questions as well as answering those posed to them by the presenters. Some of their comments offered to their teachers after returning to school included:
Sheyla….I did not know that people had to boil water just to take a bath.
Madison….Wow, I did not know that the stage coach was pulled by 6 or 8 horses.
Omar….I learned that old times are pretty cool, but pretty hard, too.
Manny….Now I know how hard it is to be a mom!
Julian….When I go back to the Stage Stop I will explore, learn and see new stuff.
Located near Kelseyville, the Ely Stage Stop dates back to the 1860s and, over the years, served as a stagecoach stop, hotel, post office, general store, and at one point, even a gas station before taking on its current role as a historical and community center.
The museum strives to collect the stories of early Lake County. Visits by school children and other interested groups prove the value of preserving the history of Lake County and sharing it with County residents and visitors.
The Lake County Historical Society’s Ely Stage Stop & Country Museum is located at 9921 Hwy 281 (Soda Bay Road) in Kelseyville. Current hours of operation are 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. each Saturday and Sunday or by special appointment. Visit www.elystagestop.com or www.lakecountyhistory.org, check out the stage stop on Facebook at www.facebook.com/elystagestop, or call the museum at 707-533-9990.
Docents in the Ely barn giving old-time demonstrations to Kelseyville Elementary Third-graders during a November field trip. These three groups got to handle pioneer cookware, learn about the stage coach days, and were given a hands-on opportunity with horse tack from cowboy days. Photo by Greg Blinn.