Sunday, May 4, 2014

O’Keefe Ranch

Vernon is a city through which we’ve driven many times – on our way to somewhere.  But somehow we never had the time to stop.  Well, on this trip, we decided some time there would be a good idea.

So off we headed, with no plan for what to see or where to go, other than a park we’d been told would be well worth the visit.

030.Polson Park, Vernon

Oh, how we would have loved to stroll and picnic there – but: ‘no dogs allowed’.  So that let us out.  We did a drive through and saw lovely gardens, tennis courts, jogging paths, an outdoor stage.  But, oh well.

The water fowl enjoyed a visit from this little girl:034

Then we headed for old downtown, which was lovely with brick sidewalks and shade trees, but nothing caught our eye as a place we wanted to particularly explore.

After that we thought we’d check out some RV parks for future reference, and then we saw the sign:035.O'Keefe Ranch

(Oops, I cut off the top of it).

We’d often talked about visiting this historic site, and now we had our chance (and dogs are welcome!).


Much of the lifestyle of the O’Keefes has been preserved in their original mansion:

085.O'Keefe Mansion  087

Here’s just a few glimpses of what’s to be seen inside:090115114093113101

The serving dishes in one display each had a different bouquet of flowers in the center, indicating that they were all hand-painted:


An elegant life-style indeed!

Outdoors and in other buildings were displays of various artifacts that showed this elegance wasn’t the rule of thumb, but rather it was a simple life of hard work for most.  For example, these were the kind of stoves they used:


Believe it or not, in the first year of our marriage, we lived in a house with a similar type of stove, but it was oil-fueled, not wood-fueled.  So at least I didn’t have to chop wood LOL!

Then there is the blacksmith shop:062

Just look at these bellows, and imagine pumping that rod hour after hour to keep the fire hot:


And the cook’s house:

051.Cook's house052

The cook may have prepared the meals to be served in that elegant dining room, but s/he went ‘home’ at the end of the day to a one-room cottage.

As much as the O’Keefe family lived elegantly, I’m sure it took many years of hard work to attain and then maintain that lifestyle.

There is a church and cemetery on the ranch, and I took the opportunity to do a little cemetery crawl.  When I can do some more study of the family history, I’ll share some of that with you.

Happy history!                 Blessings, Peg

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