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Warren County Local History by Dallas Bogan

Pioneer Village Holds Old Time Food And Music Festival

Dallas Bogan on 23 July 2004
Dallas Bogan, Warren County, Ohio and Beyond (Bowie Maryland:Heritage Press, 1979) page 43
Return to Index to see a list of other articles by Dallas Bogan

"And a fine time was had by all!" This was the general feeling the writer experienced when he visited Pioneer Village Sunday, June 25. The 60-acre site was the nucleus of fine entertainment for the entire family.
The theme was entitled "Ole' Tyme Music & Food Festival." And indeed one came away with the feeling that the clock had been turned back to another time and another place. Entertainment included many locals displaying their talents, as well as groups from distant localities.
Have you ever heard Willie Dunn, Lebanon's local C.P.A representative, play the banjo? Or have you ever listened to Carlisle's Curt Noe and his "talking" harmonica? Another special treat was "Squawkbox," and their guest, Hillary Gregg, from Dayton.
Three dulcimer groups were highlighted; the Mountain Dulcimer Society of Dayton, the Cincinnati Dulcimer Society, and the Mountain Dulcimer Troupe from Middletown.
Many other musical groups, along with several bluegrass bands were present, all displaying the heritage the village depicts. Superb gospel groups exhibited their talents in the old Friends Church.
Since the program included the word "food," let us examine the menu for the three-day event. Foods were served by ladies wearing their 1800's attire which made the menu that much more appealing.
Scrapple, corn fritter, cabbage chowder, pumpkin soup, hominy & sausage, red flannel hash, turnip stew, homemade bread with butter, bean hole beans, sorghum popcorn balls, along with many fine desserts were served.
Have you ever seen "cloggers" perform? Or are you interested in "square dancing?" The G. & M. Cloggers, the Down Home Cloggers, the Country Cousins, and the Honey Bee Squares, all entertained in the old time dancing tradition.
As one would frequently say, just follow the crowd and there would be a storyteller in the center. Such was the case! The village was graced with the presence of Cherokee Chief Gray Eagle, of the Over the Hill Tribe of Louisville, Kentucky, and his spouse, Red Bird. The Chief concerning the American Indians, along with a question and answer session, shared many tales. The location of this story-telling venture was at the Samuel Heighway cabin, the writer's favorite site.
Don Richards says the log structure was built around 1793-95, and is considered the oldest existing structure of its kind in Ohio. It was moved to the site from about a mile below Waynesville. The general layout of the building was built in such a way that paralleled the Indian wigwam. It has open ends at the top of the sidewalls and a fireplace in the center. This setup allowed a perfect draft for the smoke to exit through the top of the dwelling.
Pioneer Village is uniquely located on Pioneer Village Drive, just off Oregonia Road, between Harveysburg and Oregonia. It has not always been the village it is today. Miriam Lukens says the village had its start in the spring of 1973. The first festival was held in September of the same year. Only one cabin was in existence during this event, the Levi and Elizabeth Cleaver Lukens cabin, built in 1807.
The Lukens family migrated to the area and purchased 1,000 acres along the banks of Caesar's Creek, which included the present site of Pioneer Village. (The Lukens log house represents architectural dwellings typical of the hard-working Quaker settlers in the Warren County area.)
When Pioneer Village was in the planning stages, the council was advised that a venture of this sort would last but about five years. However, some twenty-two years later, it has grown into a well-landscaped tract of land that comprises nineteen reconstructed log buildings, and many out buildings, which appropriately fit in with the times.
The village originally started out as 12 1/2 acres until about 1976, when the council asked the Corp of Engineers for additional land. It was ultimately granted fifty additional acres.
Mrs. Lukens says that she and Bill Lukens went on the road searching for someone with a horse and wagon to supply transportation for the visitors through the village site. They eventually found one in Centerville, and this method of travel was solved for several years. She also said a cow was obtained for the village and the visiting children were shown the art of "milking."
All the log buildings were disassembled at their original site and reassembled at the village site, all except the Friends Church.
Cozy fireplaces are neatly fitted inside the cabins, portraying a time of yesteryear. Also included within are furnishings of the same period.
Warren County is indeed fortunate to have within its boundaries a fine facility such as Pioneer Village. The main function of the association is to "bring history alive in the community." Needless to say, like many other organizations, "volunteers" are the backbone of the village. They are too numerous to be mentioned in this column, but they know who they are. (I am told that additional volunteers are always welcome.)
The village is open year round. The actual construction personnel consists of retired volunteers dedicated to their work, as evidence points out. They are on the grounds every Friday, year round, weather permitting. If one were to inquire into a specific cabin, or to the actual building of the cabins, these gentlemen would gladly share the knowledge they have acquired.
The only income for this fine organization is the festivals they have, and monies collected from the membership dues. No public funds are used. Sharon Kingan, one of the dedicated trustees, says their motto is: "To forget one's ancestors is to be a brook without a source, a tree without a root."
According to the village events schedule, the next occasion is entitled "Caesar's Creek Rendezvous." It will portray personnel dressed as trappers, hunters and the American Indian. There will be over 100 tents set up and all their wares will be on display. This event is scheduled on July 15 and 16, 1995.

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