Local heritage comes alive at Beckman Mill in Beloit, Wisconsin, Sunday, Sept. 7

Staff Report

BELOIT, Wisconsin — The sights and sounds of rural life from a century ago will come to life again at the Beckman Mill during Beloit’s annual Heritage Days celebration, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 7.

In the mill itself, visitors can watch corn being ground by the original millstones, powered by water or by a restored 1920 International Harvester Titan tractor engine. A number of belt-driven machines will be running by hit-and-miss engines, as well. Antique tractors, engines and farm equipment will be on display.

A variety of activities will complement the grinding demonstrations. Horse-drawn wagon and carriage rides will be available, with collector show cars and trucks on display. Demonstrators will be on hand to demonstrate historic crafts, such as wool spinning, chair caning, broom making, pottery making and basket weaving — which were an important part of family life and work. The blacksmiths will be working and be located by the blacksmith shop. Also, there will be a small encampment of Civil War re-enactors and a World War II display. Have you ever taken a ride in a 1912 Overland? Now will be your chance.

As the center of a rural community in the days before radio or television, music played an important part in bringing people together at the Beckman Mill. That tradition continues with live music on Heritage Sunday, with country music of the Mill Road Band and the mountain dulcimer sounds of the wandering musicians, Dick and Val Dunagan. The band will be near the new shelter that was built in the approximate place that an outside dance floor used to be.

In addition to touring the mill, visitors will be able to visit with Buzz Beckman at the Cooperage/Beckman Home and hear his stories of growing up in that building. Also inside are the new “Cooper Corner” display and the one-room school display. Share your experience of attending a one-room school. Outside nearby, coopers will be demonstrating how a wooden bucket is made.

Pork sandwiches, quarter-pound hot dogs, chips, beverages and fresh baked goods will be sold in the shelter. A variety of Beckman Mill products, including cornmeal ground in the mill, will be for sale in the Gift Shop inside the Griinke Creamery.

Check out the entries for the photo contest. Winners will be announced in the shelter at 2 p.m.

The day’s events will be in Beckman Mill County Park on County Highway H, 1 mile south of Highway 81, about 5 miles west of Beloit, Wisconsin. There is no admission charge for the Heritage Day events at Beckman Mill, but donations will be accepted and appreciated. The project has been completed with volunteer help, donated money and materials, grants and memberships.

From the Sept. 3-9, 2014, issue

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