Pioneer Park's Second Saturday will feature gardens and a windmill | Community Spirit
Saturday is a great opportunity for those interested in gardening or windmills. Pioneer Park is offering three free classes which cover a variety of interests.
Charles C. Mitchell plants sweet potatoes in the Crops Garden at 8 a.m. CST, for those who want to learn hands-on about sweet potato culture, and experience a facet of life from Alabama's not too distant past. Sweet potatoes are tasty, nutrient-dense, and well suited to the Alabama climate.
From 9:00 to 9:30 a.m. CST Tia Gonzalez conducts an herb walk, reviewing herb culture and studying the many beautiful, easily grown, useful herbs found at the McLain Herb Garden, located next door to the doctor's office and apothecary, as was the case in times past when a doctor's office utilized an herb garden to provide medicine for patients.
Mitchell then conducts a walk and talk at the Crops Garden from 9:45 to 10:15 a.m. CST. Crops included are corn, sweet potatoes, sorghum, sugar cane, cotton, all representatives of the crops grown by early Lee County subsistence farmers.
Pioneer Park’s new windmill--reminiscent of those used to pump water before electricity came to east central Alabama--is located at the crops garden and is a feature of the tour as well. Brought to Loachapoka from Florida by Charles H. Mitchell, it was erected by volunteers and is operational, a testament to an earlier time. It is a gift of the Louise Turner Foundation and is an integral part of the Park’s educational focus on water use and preservation, complementing the rainwater collection system which harvests rainwater from the roof of the doctor’s office.
Traditional Second Saturday activities—dulcimer playing, open hearth cooking, spinning and weaving, blacksmithing—are ongoing as always. The Whistle Stop Pickers begin playing and practicing at 1 p.m. Beginners are welcome to sit in with the group, and there are extra dulcimers available for use at no cost.
Pioneer Park is the site of the Lee County Historical Society, a non-profit organization established in 1968 to promote the history of the county, particularly the 1850s time period. The Park incorporates nine buildings on six-and-a-half acres in the center of Loachapoka. Membership is open to all interested parties. For more information, see www.leecountyhistoricalsociety.org or call President Jeannette Frandsen at 334-742-7877.
Source: Lee County Historical Society