Heritage Village

FORWARD: Well folks, I tried to be all fancy with the placement of my pictures on this post, and it worked out horribly for me. the way things looked in my EDIT window are NOT how things looked on my PUBLISHED window. So, I apologize in advance if things look a little weird. I tried to fix it as best as I could (without uploading everything all over again) and I hope it works out in all of your browsers. If not, feel free to berate me and complain about this post that you just wasted your time reading.

I normally don’t like waiting so long after an event to post because things aren’t as fresh in my mind, but I just had to write about the volunteer project I did last Sunday.

This project was at a place called Heritage Village which is located in Largo. It was a slightly farther drive than Safety Harbor, but it was definitely worth it!

Heritage Village is a historic museum located on acres and acres of land. It’s set up with buildings that look like they were taken straight out of Little House on the Prairie.

Most of the people who volunteered for this project were repeat offenders, which was fantastic because they knew so much, and I learned so much! The majority of the houses and buildings that currently make up Heritage Village were removed from their previous locations and lovingly put back together in their new home. Walking through the village and perusing through the buildings was like being flung back in the 19th or early 20th century.

My volunteer activity for this project mainly consisted of sweeping dead leaves, pine needles, and dirt off of the rustic porches. This was an easy enough feat, but what I really enjoyed were the conversations and tidbits of info I learned from my two sweeping buddies. Some were relating to Heritage Village itself, but not all of it. Two of the more interesting stories I heard I will tell you after I show you a few pictures. Please note, these pictures were taken after the project was over. I walked around the park with two other volunteers before it opened to the public. I guess you didn’t really need to know that, but I’m all for full disclosure.

In the picture below is a gazebo which was chock full of pine needles. I was told that sometimes there are weddings held with the gazebo as an alter. Couples sometimes will dress up in 19th century garb and leave in a carriage instead of a limo for their weddings. Fun!

Here is the school house. We had fun playing evil teacher/terrified students. There was a really old fashioned map on the wall (unfortunately I do not seem to have gotten a picture of it) that had a flaw in it’s timeline. Alaska and Hawaii were listed as states. Now I’m no geography whiz, but I’m pretty sure that ain’t right! Early 20th century? Get with the program people!

One of my favorite little details in the classroom was carving on the desk. I am not sure if this was done way back yonder or if it was vandalism of Heritage Village property, but I do know that their must be an interesting story to it. At least, I want to believe there is.

I think the scarecrows were my favorite part of our picture fest. There is just something about scarecrows I love! The picture on the right looks a little bit like it’s ready to get up and start dancing and singing about having a brain.

One of our last stops was the train station. We did more picture posing in here, including getting an unsuspecting volunteer on the first picture to play ticket master.

On the next one, my two partners in crime for the day are trying to determine if they missed the last train. Shoot, January 16, 1911! A hundred years late. I knew I shouldn’t have stopped for that soda pop.

And the last one? Well chief, that would be a train crossing sign. Do I really have to explain EVERYTHING?

That was pretty much the end of our fantastical photo and volunteering adventure. I had a lot of fun looking around this historical village. And the other volunteers were awesome people.

Since I am out of photos… as I promised earlier here are the two interesting stories I learned while sweeping away:

1) Forbidden love among whooping cranes…

A wild whooping crane known as “Romeo” has consistently broken into the enclosure of a captive female whooping crane named “Peepers”. Whooping cranes are one type of bird that mates for life, and unfortunately Romeo had lost his two prior mates to predators. But he found love in Peepers, and decided that she was the bird for him. Why is this a problem? Romeo is part of a program to increase the number of wild whooping cranes in the world. This means he can not have any human contact. In fact, from the time he was first hatched to when he first migrated, the only human contact he had was through whooping crane puppets or humans wearing whooping crane costumes. Even when they first taught him to migrate, the “crane” he followed was actually a small disguised aircraft. Peepers on the other hand does have human contact, being a captive bird. Romeo visiting her was a big problem for the project. So for each of the six times he broke into her enclosure, the humans had to costume up and remove Romeo… but he kept coming back. They finally decided to pull him from the wild crane program – but they will not be placing him with his one true love, Peepers.

If you are interested in reading the story:


2) SHOOT! I can’t remember the second interesting story. I knew I shouldn’t have waited so long to post this. I sort of remember that it was about frogs. Or alligators. DARN IT!

So moving on. I also learned about this really amazing photographer (Jerry Uelsmann) who does some remarkable photography, all without the aid of computer editing. Everything he does with his pictures is done while taking pictures and in the darkroom. It is extremely hard to believe this when you look at some of the pictures… it’s incredible! Here is a link if you want to see some of them:


Check him out!

So in conclusion, I really enjoyed this project, and I think this is another one where I will become a repeat volunteer. I’ve actually already signed up for the next one in February.

Well, that is it! I do have another volunteer project on Saturday, but I am not sure if I will post about this one as I’ve already been there once and I don’t want to bore you with repeats! I am going to once again be doing the Personal Energy Transportation job. I am keeping my fingers crossed that this time they will let me use the power tools… or the heavy machinery! And hopefully I will leave with all of my body parts intact. At least if I don’t that will certainly be something worth posting about!