Change of Seasons

The October program page has info on events coming up this weekend and beyond.

Despite recent weather that has alternated between fall and summer, there are actually a few signs of impending winter on the Trails of History. As we move into late fall, we see evidence of the passing year as some sites prepare for cold weather and/or reduced hours.

Olin engine exhibit at Drake Well
The Olin engine at Drake Well Museum and Park powers oil field equipment on the museum grounds. It will start its long winter's nap on Oct. 23. (photo Drake Well Museum)
At Drake Well Museum and Park, the oil field machinery on the grounds operates from late spring to late fall. This coming Sunday, Oct. 22, is the last day of the year that the Replica (of Col. Drake's oil derrick) and the Olin engine will be running. The site remains open throughout the year, so there's plenty to see. Weather permitting, Engine Start-Up is scheduled for Saturday, April 28, 2018.

It is also worth noting that some sites are closed to the public during the winter, except by appointment or for special events. Bushy Run Battlefield wraps up its regular visitation season on Sunday, Oct. 29, although there are a couple of special events planned in November and December. Joseph Priestley House will finish its 2017 season on Sunday, Nov. 19, and remain closed (with the exception of their Twelfth Night program in January) until Charter Day (March 11, 2018). There will be some other winter closings that kick in after the new year, but we'll update you on that later.

Frequent guest blogger Linda Bolla from the Erie Maritime Museum sent along this update about the U.S. Brig Niagara's preparations for winter:

Downrigging Niagara using block and tackle
Niagara crew using block and tackle to lower the fore topgallant mast (photo L. Bolla)
"Looking back on the past two weeks, Niagara rigging down for the winter offers some interesting contrasts. On one hand, we’ve had many opportunities to witness work being done as it might have been 200 years ago, using muscle and mechanical advantage (see above). Upper masts were sent down with the aid of the capstan, and block and tackle. Less than two weeks later, that same capstan, along with anchors, deck boxes and the main mast, was removed using a modern heavy crane (below)."

Crane used to remove main mast (photo Marcus Masternak)

USMC promotion ceremony onboard Niagara
"All work stopped, however, as U.S. Marine Corps Staff Sergeant Charles Bays was promoted to Gunnery Sergeant in a brief ceremony onboard Niagara on October 6th." (photo L Bolla)


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