Some were lucky enough to live in mine-owned cabins. In this particular case, the man that made the money collected rental buildings and had some moved by horse and sled to this location. They say it was the women who eventually lived in these cabins that made Ely what it is today.
I'm sorry I don't have specific information, since most of the history is by word of mouth. The man who originally owned the rentals, passed everything on to his daughter, who continued to live at this location and run the business.
When she reached the age of I think 94, she was moved to a "home". Worried that all her possessions would be hauled off and sold, the Ely Renaissance Society purchased the house she lived in all those years. It's exactly the way Mrs. Geraghty left it. When other derelict homes and rentals were to be demolished, the society moved them here to create this Renaissance Village.
Each home has been decorated as it would have been by the people who lived there. Greeks, Slavs, Portuguese, Italian .... they are all there, most with original flooring and ALL with the original heating stoves. Every one has an antique wood stove where food was cooked and a claw footed bathtub.
This is a town after my heart. Instead of burning these down, they elected to save history.
Each house has the same kitchen sink and the same cupboards, though they are decorated and painted differently.
I could live here. They even had a dog house for Cooper and Jessie.
Being company buildings, the floor plan is the same in many. The society has hung signs beside the door so you know who might have lived there.
Everything is original, right down to the screen doors. Every door is open so you can wander through the houses.
What a fascinating place to visit.
Way back when, our ranch bathroom sink had the same skirt around the bottom, hiding the pipes. Boy did these homes bring back memories. One even had the exact same linoleum we had ... grey swirl.
Here's a little tidbit. Our ranch house was built in the late 1800's with square nails. The kitchen floor was not level, but at an angle with a slot hole on the low end. That was so you could throw a bucket of water on the floor, scrub it down and sweep the water down towards the hole where it ran outside. Ingenious, right? No mopping!!
From the glassware to the pictures hanging on the wall, each home is accurately depicted.
If you are ever in Ely, this is definitely a MUST see.
On another note, I went in search of the sold out medallions commemorating the 150th celebration and found them. I also found another quilt store. How lucky could I be? Unfortunately, it was in a run down neighborhood in someone's garage. I declined. More about that tomorrow before I hit the road.