Chadds Ford Historical Society

Revisiting History

Springing Forward, Looking Past

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Dear Chadds Ford Historical Society followers, as some of you may know, we are currently in the process of renovating parts of our Barn Visitor Center. In order to keep you up to date with our progress, we would also like to offer up our own tips each week on how to do your own “Spring Cleaning” along with us! That spring cleaning not only entails physical restoration or renovation to your structure on a large scale, but we would like to suggest other ways we can positively get ourselves into the habits of healthy living by starting anew with the season through exercise, healthy eating, home organization, and a money saving, more natural approach to the products we use both on ourselves, in our homes, and in the environment around us. So join us on this journey and we can restore and renovate in multiple practical ways together!

To kick off this “Spring Cleaning” series, let’s focus on snippet from colonial history for a moment. Did you know that spring cleaning is not a new phenomenon? After the winter snow and ice had passed, people living in the colonial era had their own version of spring cleaning similar to what we do today. For example, children could pick up all the sticks off of a path close to their home to use for kindling fires, which was a necessity for cooking. Some younger adults would even help older heads of household to whitewash their home, both inside and out. Just think about having soot and ash in ones hair or on clothing all day, every day or having to breathe in soot and ash from fireplaces and hearths burning throughout the house in unison or singularly both day and night through the fall and winter months. Not only was this bad for breathing, it also caused a light film to build up on the inside walls of the home. Wood chips and bark from the wood being hauled indoors and kept indoors near a larger hearth or multiple fireplaces built up over time, as well. After coming in from the rain or snow, mud would cake on the floors. Opening shutters or windows allowed the springs warm breezes to flow through the house and allowed for proper ventilation of the home. Breathing in fresh air within the home must have felt nice, as it does for us, when we are confined to tasks inside and cannot enjoy our whole day outdoors during the fall and winter months.

Typically today, we would spruce up our homes by opening windows, moving furniture around, vacuuming, mopping, and dusting. We also begin to rake old dried leaves and pick up branches from our yards and mow our grass to welcome the spring with a well manicured yard and freshly cleaned home.

The society will be doing a lot of renovation over the coming weeks, not only to clean up our own space, but to reintroduce a love for history and other new ideas that come along with the passing of time. An update to a structure can sometimes lead us into a realm of new ideas and possibilities for the growth of our organization to better assist you with your educational needs and curious mind!

Thank you for taking the time to join us, if you wish, on this “Spring Cleaning” journey together, not only to refresh the actual physical structure of a building, but also to introduce new ideas and an open mind to new possibilities fur the future of your education, health, and happiness!

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