Historical artifacts more than a century old will be on display at the Old Stone Fort in Schoharie this weekend, and we’re not just talking about Abraham Lincoln or Teddy Roosevelt.
Something called a spile and another antiquated tool known as a hay knife will be among the items sharing the spotlight with two presidential impersonators Saturday and Sunday as part of the Old Stone Fort History Fair, an annual fund-raiser for the Old Stone Fort Museum. Peter Lindemann’s Lincoln and Joe Wiegand’s Roosevelt should be easy to pick out in the crowd, but perhaps not so familiar will be the various things on display in the Esperance Historical Society’s exhibit called “What is it?”
“We have a few very unusual tools from the past that will be a real challenge for the average person to identify,” said Ken Johnson, vice president of the Esperance Historical Society. “These items were used for very specific purposes, either in the kitchen or the farm fields, and they’re just not used at all anymore.”
A spile is a small spout inserted into a tree to draw sap. They are still being used, but they are more often plastic or metal, not like the wooden one in the Esperance exhibit. The hay knife meanwhile, was used to “cut loose hay from the stack,” according to Johnson.
“All these things have a very unusual look to them,” he said. “We’ve had this exhibit for a couple of years now, and it’s very popular.”
Visitors to the fair will be able to look at the “What is It?” exhibit throughout Saturday and Sunday at the Law Office Lawn located on the grounds of the Old Stone Fort. Those wishing for an audience with a president will have to keep track of the time. Lindemann, a Colonie native and Howes Cave resident, has played the 16th president at numerous local venues, and will be in the fort’s presidential tent between 1:30 and 2 p.m. on Saturday.
Wiegand, meanwhile, a resident of Sewanee, Tenn., who has performed at the George W. Bush White House as Theodore Roosevelt, will begin one-hour presentations at 12:30 p.m. and 4 p.m. He will repeat his performance at 1 and 4 p.m. on Sunday.
Also making an appearance at the Old Stone Fort on Sunday only will be cast members of “Drums Along the Mohawk, Outdoor Drama,” which was performed for the first time at Gelston Castle in Mohawk this past summer. Various members of the cast will greet the public from noon on Sunday to 12:40 p.m. at the Badgley Annex, and then proceed with a family-oriented dramatic reading from 12:40-1:30 p.m.
Others will do living history presentations, including Rotterdam’s Matt George, who will perform “The Life of a Civil War Soldier.”
Music will be provided by David and Ginger Hildebrand to help commemorate the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812, while other musicians on the schedule include Rural Felicity (Colonial music) and the 77th New York Regimental Balladeers (Civil War).
Writers and re-enactors
Authors Robert Nearing (“Last Run of the Whisperer”), Bill Payne (“Veteran in a New Field”) and John Wilkinson (“The Schoharie Valley”) will be on hand to discuss their new books, while re-enactors will include members of the Kellogg’s Company from the War of 1812, the 3rd Tryon County Militia from the American Revolution and the Civil War Zouaves.