Vinland Elementary School initiates Founders Day
The town of Vinland was thriving last Tuesday as it did when trains carried passengers from the small town to Lawrence and when residents would play a game of horseshoes for the prize of a pop.
The school took time out for a local history lesson organized by the Vinland Elementary School Site Council. The day included visits to the Coal Creek Library and the Vinland Grange Hall and stories from some of the longest residents of the rural community.
Vinland principal Bill Scott said the students have been anticipating the first ever Founders Day.
"A lot of them are dressed up," Scott said. "Some are in garb people would have worn in the early 1900s."
The day was designed to be fun, and educational as well. Scott said the students not only learned about the history of Vinland, but also how towns and cities developed. Steve Jansen, curator of the Watkins Community Museum of History, discussed such history with the students that morning.
"It is important they learn where they came from, and how important history is, and how we need to preserve things from our past," Scott said. "Hopefully they will carry that into their adulthood."
Richard and Linda Knabe brought antique farm equipment for the students to see and imagine what it was like to farm using equipment pulled by horses, mules and oxen.
A miniature version of Vinland was built and will be on permanent display at the Vinland library and Grange hall. The railroad through town was recounted. Games from long ago were played, including marbles, tag, three-legged races and sack races.
"We had a full day," Scott said. "A lot of people need to be recognized."
Vinland students portrayed Vinland's founders and long-time residents. The presenters were: Colin Thomas as Charles Dow; Sam Scott as William Barnes; Katie Frank as Seth Kelley; Callie Craig as William Gill; Nick Barkley as George Cutter; Zoey Fife as Frank Varnum; Kelsey Verhaeghe as Martha Cutter; Jen Busby as Anne Hemphill; and Willy Osborn as Herschel Hemphill.
The site council started focusing on Vinland's history through its Partners in Education last year, and captured some of the stories from residents on video last year. Future plans include helping place the Coal Creek Library on the National Register of Historic Places and having a mural painting of vintage Vinland at the school.