Emilie Loring Returns to Barnstable

Can you tell what I’ve been up to? This really is so much fun. I love putting presentations together, and I love giving them.

Kansas walking tour

At the university, I taught a hiking/biking/canoeing class that was cross-listed as a Kansas Studies class. We set out via the mode-du-jour each morning and stopped to view the plants, geographic features, and historical remnants to be found on our route.

With my next project, “Emilie Loring’s New England,” in mind, I thought, why not give a sample tour a whirl? The locations are reached easily enough by car as well as walking, so we can accommodate different levels of mobility, and it’s easy to also give folks a map that they can use at their leisure another time.

This book talk will focus especially on the time period 1889-1891, described on pages 65-72 of Happy Landings: Emilie Loring’s Life, Writing, and Wisdom. Emilie’s Fair Tomorrow sets the scene:

The afterglow tinted the roofs of the sedate old houses which bordered the main street, gilded the black bands on their white chimneys, transformed windows into molten sheets of brass and copper.

Fair Tomorrow
Sturgis Library, est. 1867

The presentation will be in the Sturgis Library. The front-facing part that you see here was built in 1644 as the home of the Reverend John Lothrop. The rear of the library is as modern as you please, outfitted with all of the amenities. We’ll meet there. I don’t know of any records to prove it, but I can’t imagine Emilie and her family living in the village and not coming to the library, can you?

Once we’re out walking, the trick will be to imagine each place as it was in Emilie’s time:

“Imagine that this is an open field instead of the tree-sheltered lot you see today. See the old stone wall going through these people’s back yard? That’s a remnant of the low stone fence that surrounded the Bakers’ home.”

Another trick will be to observe people’s homes without looking like we’re casing the joint. “Tom, who are those people looking over our hedge?”

Hallet’s Store

If you remember, Fair Tomorrow is dedicated “To Louise Gordon Hallet whose friendship has glowed with a lovely light down through the years since we met on Cape Cod.” Louise lived just east of Barnstable, in West Yarmouth. We’ll trot on over there, too, maybe with a stop at Hallet’s store, if it’s open. (A different Hallet family had the store–Thacher, not George.)

Hallet’s ice cream shop opened the same year that Emilie and her family moved to Barnstable, 1889. It retains its old-timey appearance and small-town vibe.

If you can join us in Barnstable, register at reference@sturgislibrary.org, and I’ll see you there, rain or shine. If you need to sit this one out, don’t worry. I’ll post photos and tell you all about it!

Happy Landings!

7 thoughts on “Emilie Loring Returns to Barnstable

  1. Thanks for the pics. Sounds like a great adventure. Probably much less humid than the midwest in the summer. 🙂 I think I heard you pronounce it “Barn-stuhbl”. As a midwesterner, I instinctively pronounced it Barn-Stable (long a) in my head. I should know better b/c “Worchestershire” is pronounced something like “Worster”

    Happy Landings! Best wishes on your book journey!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It was warm but nothing like the midwest pressure cooker. The word I used to say wrong was “Peabody.” I said “PEE-bah-dee” until Selden Loring corrected me: “PEE-buh-dee” with a secondary accent on the last syllable. Live and learn. 🙂 Tomorrow is the Athenaeum! Such anticipation!


  2. What an excellent idea – if I were anywhere close, I would join in! Hope it’s a lovely day to help stir imaginations back to Emilie’s times.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. What an exciting idea and you are making it happen with so much enthusiasm with the personal tours starting from the library, perfect place to start the coverage. Your handouts of information make for an educational and inspiring tour of Branstable 1639. I look forward to seeing you tomorrow during our Defenders Meeting at 2:00PM EST.

    Love and Congratulations!

    Liked by 1 person

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