At a press conference held on June 24, 2005, Dr. Juliet E.K. Walker, Founder and Executive Director of the Free Frank New Philadelphia Historic Preservation Foundation (the “Foundation”), unveiled architectural plans and a scale model for the rebuilding of Free Frank’s historic frontier town of New Philadelphia, Illinois. According to Dr. Walker “the restoration of the New Philadelphia Illinois was a dream of the Thelma Elise McWorter Kirkpatrick, the great granddaughter of Free Frank and my mother. The frontier museum is named The Free Frank New Philadelphia Historic Frontier Town — where you learn and live history.”
The Foundation’s undertaking of this project will be an interactive painstaking rebuilding of the architectural features of the buildings and the social life in New Philadelphia at its height in the 1850s. There will be men, women and children dressed in clothing from the frontier period working, playing and living in a daily routine that was reminiscent of life in Free Frank’s New Philadelphia. Visitors will be able to see and experience what is described in Dr. Walker’s book
|| The wheelwright
made and repaired wheels, carriages and wagons….
Farmers with their ox or horse-drawn wagons used
the services of both the wheelwright and the blacksmith,
who in addition to repairing axles, also shoed
horses and farm tools.
Excerpt Reprinted With Permission
from Dr. Juliet E.K. Walker. ©Copyright Juliet E.K. Walker,
Free Frank: A Black Pioneer on the Antebellum Frontier
(Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 1983, 1995).
At the interactive frontier museum visitors will help the shoemaker make shoes, the cabinet-maker make cabinets, and help sort mail the post office and attend a frontier school. The visitors will assist the farmer planting and participate in the hand making of clothes. The visitors will learn how to churning butter and grind corn for baking and cooking food. There will be a restaurant that serves authentic frontier food. Visitors will listen to and learn how to play music of the time and help the merchant in the general store. There will be several components of the frontier museum.