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Western Travel - Heritage Farmstead Museum (Part Four) - Plano, Texas - #TravelTuesday

Welcome to my weekly column #TravelTuesday featuring places I've discovered during my research trips or just wandering around in historical areas. I hope you enjoy my discoveries.

Last week we went inside the Farrell-Wilson house and saw part of the formal parlor. Today we'll explore more of this room.

The fireplace was a focal point of the room (same as it is today) and would have provided the main source of heat during the winter months. Notice the ornately carved mantel. It wasn't clear whether the stone surround, which is in excellent condition, was original or if it had been replaced.

To the left of the fireplace, two mannequins model gunny sack dresses. It was common in this period for goods (like potatoes, flour, sugar, etc) to be purchased in large sacks. Originally the sacks were made of natural fibers and plainly colored. As people wanted to reuse the bags, they became more colorful. All the dresses featured in this house are made of gunny sacks. Embellishments, such as lace or ribbon, were added to the collars, cuffs or hems.

On the lace-covered table is a small jigsaw puzzle. Interestingly, jigsaw puzzles were invented in 1767 by engraver and mapmaker, John Spilsbury. They became popular with the upper classes in early 1900's America. In the 1930's Depression Era, drug stores and libraries rented out puzzles for the masses to enjoy. This was about the time that die-cut cardboard puzzles were mass produced (reducing the prices and making them available to the middle classes).
Sample Puzzle Box

Looking back to the right of the fireplace, a small serving cart stood upon which was a platter of sandwiches, deviled eggs, and servings of juice. A fancy Victorian chair with a beautifully embroidered seat cushion sat beside it. Carved into the top of the chair are groups of grapes and leaves. This photo also avails us a good view of the intricately woven floor rug.

Contrast this soft, delicate chair to the heavy, uncomfortable-looking, dark leather rocking chair sitting nearby.

One more interesting piece in this room is the framed artwork made of human hair woven with floral-shaped ribbons.

That's all for today. Next week we'll take a peek inside the Informal Parlor next door.

The History of Jigsaw Puzzles - www.puzzlewarehouse.com/history-of-puzzles/

Learn more by checking out the official site - www.heritagefarmstead.org/

Heritage Farmstead Museum Physical Address: 1900 West 15th Street, Plano, Texas 75075 Phone Number: 972-881-0140 Hours: Tuesday-Sunday: 10am-4:30pm. Closed Mondays and major holidays. Admission: $3.00 per person (ages 3 and up) + $4 for tour of house

Photo Credit of Puzzle Box - http://i.ebayimg.com/images/i/360476776389-0-1/s-l1000.jpg

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