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Winter 2011

Friends in Feathers
Gene Stratton-Porter Memorial Society, Inc.
F r o m t h e P r e s i d e n t
Owl-oween was a fantastic hit again this year. As in past years, Carolyn Linsenmayer headed up the project. We had approximately 400 people in attendance. One of the favorite activities at the event is the chance to view the raptors from Soarin Hawk, a local raptor rehabilitation group. Our Autumn Tea was under the direction of Linda Edholm and Janet Cook. As usual, the Tea was at capacity. The speaker for this Tea was Beth Green, one of our board members. They all did an excellent job. If you have never attended one of our Teas, you need to make it a part of your to do list. On November 13 we had an appreciation dinner for our volunteers that included the presentation of personalized name badges for our volunteers that have donated forty hours or more to the Site. We had a presentation by the Retired Senior Volunteer Program regarding how the program works. Our final event of the 2011 season was A Dream of Beauty. It was a great success with approximately 200 visitors in attendance. Our music was supplied by Nancy Blough as it has been in the past. Everybody really enjoys her style of music. But one of the favorite activities is always the horse and wagon rides furnished by the Noble County Draft Horse Association. Please take a few minutes to read the information about our campaign to Restore Genes Kitchen and consider making a contribution before year-end. Thank you for your support of the Gene StrattonPorter Memorial Society and the GSP State Historic Site! Well see you in 2012! John Kessen I want to take this opportunity to give you a short update on the things that have taken place since our last newsletter. Last year, I received a number of comments from members telling me that you liked the short newsletter I wrote at this time last year. As we discussed in our newsletters, the State has changed the organizational structure of the Indiana State Museum and the 12 State Historic Sites. This also means that the State has some revised expectations for the support groups for each Site. Bearing in mind the economic conditions of today, it is not practical to believe that a lot of additional funding will be available to our Site. It has been suggested to us that we need to plan on some fundraising to accomplish some of the goals that we wish to see the Site achieve. Therefore, the Board has determined that we will do fundraising for the complete restoration of the kitchen in the Cabin back to the way it was when Gene lived there. The restoration people who work for the State have told us that we should plan on raising $55,000 to do the job properly. Our Board has voted to start the fundraising portion of the project and we have set the goal to have the project completed before Genes 150th birthday celebration. Information on the campaign is on the reverse side of this letter. We chose this project because it is a sizable project, but realistic. Donors and those interested in donating to this project can check on the project by visiting the Cabin or the Memorial Societys new website (www.genestratton-porter.com). It is a project to which everyone can relate.

Photos by Alaina Carnahan, ACE of Images.com

Help Us Restore Genes Kitchen


Of her experience in building the kitchen at Limberlost Cabin, Mother wrote: I have seldom gotten more out of a given amount of money than I had in the building of a kitchen for Limberlost Cabin that represented, at the time which I built it, the level best I could do in accumulating comforts and conveniences for the cook. It was a big kitchen big as an ordinary living room. Its north wall from floor to ceiling, with the exception of a door, was given over to a long case for brooms, carpet sweepers, dust pans, vacuum cleaners, and dust cloths; a cupboard above for the lamps and candles necessary when country electric service is interrupted by the falling of branches after heavy storms; and this same wall contained flour chests opening out on rollers with receptacles for corn meal and brown flour and white flour and buckwheat. Above, a long, wide board that could be drawn out upon which to spread cookies fresh from the oven, and cakes from the tins; and above that, shelves on to the highest reach, for essences and spices and seasonings and the myriad things a cook needs to have at hand for her convenience. In the south wall a pair of double doors opened into a compartment which contained a huge ice-box, lined with snowy glass having shelves of nickel, rods, and a space above it for the bread and cake boxes. Next, the back door, its upper half glass, the remainder of the space given over to the kitchen sink of snowy white enamel with a drain board at one hand, at the other, the pump which furnished drinking and cooking water. Stretching the length of the sink, a huge window from which the back yard, the garden climbing the hill, the orchard, the meadow, and an uninterrupted view on to the sky line, met the eyes of any one looking up from any occupation at the sink. Against the east wall, the last word in Battle Creek gas ranges with six burners to accommodate cooking food to the extent of any crowd the Cabin ever sheltered. Level with the face of the cook, a small oven for cookies, pies, cakes, and biscuit. Below, a broiler for game, fish, and steak. And, in the middle of the kitchen, the piece de resistance, an article of my own devising into which I put many hours of figuring and much thought a huge table, the top of which is a two-inch thick slab of golden oak covered with neatly laid zinc. Across one end, an eighteen-inch wide slab of oak for pounding and cutting, covered by a cap of zinc to keep it dustless when not in use. Across the center of the table, rising on brackets level with the face of the cook, stands a tray for the seasonings most commonly used, for the jars and bottles containing oil, cornstarch, and the like. The front of this table is within three feet of the stove, but a step to the sink, and a few steps farther to the ice-chest, within a few feet of any cabinet or convenience the kitchen contains. The floor, gold oak; all the conveniences, white enamel; the ceiling and side walls the blue of the sky; a thick, springy run between the table and the stove, before the sink and the ice-box; a light on the range and overhead the table. Excerpts taken from Lady of the Limberlost, The Life and Letters of Gene Stratton Porter by Jeannette Porter Meehan. Gene clearly took pride in her kitchen and we want to restore that pride for Genes 150th birthday in 2013. Please consider making a contribution (tax deductible) to help us Restore Genes Kitchen. Funds raised will be used to complete such projects as refinishing the oak floors, purchasing a Battle Creek stove and enamel sink, restoration of the island and cabinets as well as others to bring Genes beloved kitchen back to life! Progress will be updated on the GSP Memorial Society website, Facebook page and in future newsletters. You can also track the progress with visits to the Site to see first-hand how Genes Kitchen is lovingly restored!