Days of the pioneers are gone but not forgotten – yet

We wonder how long it might be before kids don’t know what an inkwell is. You know, the kind that students in one-room schoolhouses learned to write with 100 years ago.

Kids – heck, even many adults – likely have not heard of a one-way, a binder or a pony drill. Obsolete farm equipment all.

Visit one of the state’s pioneer villages and you might find one or all of those items. While those relics are obsolete they were valuable machines that helped get us to where we are today. Our forefathers counted on those and many other outdated tools every day of their lives and made improvements on them which we enjoy today. Visit any pioneer village and you are bound to see invention after invention that morphed its way into a present-day tool or kitchen gadget.

Keeping our pioneer villages “up to date” is difficult, expensive and they are usually located in small towns where funds for non-essentials are limited.

That is why the Manfred Pioneer Festival, featured on the front page of Sunday’s edition, is a must-see.

The whole town, which is located nine miles east of Harvey on U.S. Highway 52, is a museum that preserves a slice of early to mid-20th century Midwest Americana.

Visitors are invited to celebrate the town this coming weekend with the second annual Manfred Pioneer Festival on Saturday, July 13.

There will be fun and games and also demonstrations of typical pioneer skills such as blacksmithing, spinning and weaving and knitting.

Last year the event drew about 150 people. Museum director Wanda Melchert said she hopes the festival will continue to grow and that the town will continue to serve as an educational site. We second that.

“We invite the community to come and experience the history of early settlers,” said Melchert. “Early settlers’ determination and resolve should inspire current and future generations in their lives.”

She is right, of course. The men and women who built the farms and toughed out the hard times are to be admired and remembered.

Whether it is Manfred or any other small town in North Dakota, if it has a pioneer village it is worth visiting. You will find the spirit of the settlers there too – at least for now.

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