How to Celebrate "Pretend to be a Time Traveler Day" in Saline

 12/08/2017 - 04:56
Rentschler farmhouse dining room
Hints of preparation for the re-appearance of Christmas Past at the Rentschler Farm Museum have already begun to appear, with wreaths on the doors and table cleared for setting out fresh desert items. © 2017 d2 Saline, All Rights Reserved. USA

There will be a lot of talk about the fanciful means and mechanisms of "time travel" today. HG Wells sparked imaginations with "The Time Machine" in 1895. Some suspect the DeLorean that has started appearing in Saline may have enhanced capabilities not yet fully disclosed.

But we know any discussion of "How?" could never be as exciting as questions of "When?" and "Where?" The first answer is "December 1930." The place: Saline, Michigan.

You'll have three opportunities this month to step back over eighty years into the past, to Christmastime as it happened in the historic Rentschler farmhouse on East Michigan Avenue.

Set your schedule for two Saturdays, December 9 and 16 (11:00am to 3:00pm) and one Sunday, December 17 (1:00pm to 4:00pm). Then see how our own Saline Area Historical Society sets the Depression-era table with a display of typical German-American deserts.

Can you almost smell the appetizing aroma right now?

"At that time in history, although people did not have much in terms of money, offering food to visitors was paramount," begins Agnes Dikeman, Director Emeritus. "On the farm, it was fairly easy to save eggs, butter, and milk for baking. The farm wife would have had to buy sugar, but even flour was readily available if the farmer had wheat: He could always take some to the mill and have it ground."

Common deserts of this time period included:

  • stöllen (coffee cake)
  • lebkuchen (molasses cookie)
  • spingerle (picture cookie)
  • fruit cake
  • schnitzbrodt (dark bread with small pieces of fruit)

"We will surely have a bowl of fresh fruit on the buffet," Mrs Dikeman continues. "Farm families always had apples in the cellar and could have purchased a few oranges that came by train to the local general store. The local merchant would put a big ad in the Saline newspaper."

Visitors can also see here a private collection of antique Santa figures on the buffet and two antique angels from Germany.

For everything else, you'll have to stop at Rentschler Farm Museum to get the complete experience. And while you're on this time traveling journey to 1930s Saline, consider snapping some pictures of your own — then sharing them in the Comment section below or as part of a new topic on The Saline Post Forums.


Saline 12 east
Advocating the merchants, restaurants, and attractions of East US-12 in Saline MI: Between Industrial and North Maple. "The Saline experience begins here." View expressed are solely those of Saline 12 east and do not necessarily represent those of The Saline Post. Articles, Comments, and Forum contributions come from one or more constitute members of the Saline 12 east business network. Janet Deaton, Spokesperson.

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Dell Deaton's picture

While by no means required, you can get even more out of your time at Rentschler Farm Museum if you bring your smartphone with a QR Code reading app. Several areas of the grounds and inside the main house now have QR Codes that, when scanned, will let you access brief videos specific to each placement.

The article above links to a a video of the Rentschler farmhouse dining room orientation by Agnes Dikeman.

These can be invaluable during periods where on-site docents might otherwise be engaged with larger visitor numbers this season. These videos can also be a "time traveling" tool in and of themselves, letting you virtually visit other seasons and activities at this wonderful historic site.

History Mom's picture

Yes, please do plan to stop by the Rentschler Farmhouse on one of the three days volunteers will be on hand to welcome you. Compare the simple decorations of the 1930s with our own homes in the 21st century. Quite a difference, you say? Well, come experience some quiet time. Enjoy homemade cookies in the kitchen with spiced cider. Then, do a little Christmas Shopping in our Farm Gift Shop. We feature postcards produced here in Saline by d2saline, Dell Deaton. There's a lovely one of the Rentschler Parlor, together with other wintertime scenes.



Saline 12 east's picture

The Saline Post has just added a new designation in its Forum section titled "Saline History." This should make it even easier to add your observations and snapshots from visits to Rentschler Farm today (hint! hint!), as well as bringing together all sorts of new topics people have to share. 

Thanks for providing this special online space here Tran!