Historic Forks to highlight features at Summer Open House on Aug. 27

The Historic Forks of the Wabash, in Huntington, will host a Summer Open House on Tuesday, Aug. 27, from 9:30 a.m. to noon.

The Summer Open House is an expanded version of the Historic Forks’ Senior Day at the Forks event, an annual outing geared toward Senior Citizens. Increased interest in the park led organizers to open up the event to anyone curious about the Historic Forks’ museum and historic buildings.

The theme of the event is “Visit Yesterday Today.” Attendees are invited to check out hands-on activities, try their luck at a “Guess What This Is” display and watch volunteers demonstrate 19th Century trade skills.

Permanent exhibits in the Historic Forks museum aim to teach visitors about the Miami people who lived in Indiana and the resulting changes that came with the opening of the Wabash and Erie Canal, bringing thousands of European settlers to the area in the early 1800s. This includes a Miami wigwam vignette, a pioneer kitchen, “blab” school room and a canal landing. A scale model of the Historic Forks of the Wabash park, maps of the area, portraits and other artifacts round out the museum.

Guests are invited to explore the park’s historic buildings and grounds. Buildings in the park include the summer home of Chief Jean Richardville, built in 1834 and later given to his daughter, Catherine, who married Chief Francis LaFontaine. A log home, moved to the Forks, was built in 1847 by the Joseph Nuck family, immigrants from Bavaria. Other log buildings include a one-room school house and a trading post built on-site from logs salvaged from other 1800s-era buildings. Costumed interpreters will be in attendance at each location.

The park also features a variety of flowers, bees and butterflies. Five period gardens are cultivated and maintained by the Master Gardeners of Huntington County. Members volunteer weekly throughout the growing season and will be on hand during the morning to answer questions.

The Prairie and Kitchen Gardens are adjacent to the Chief’s House. An heirloom garden lies to the south of the parking lot; the Three Sisters and Woodland gardens can be explored along the trail on the way to the Nuck House.

Attendees may explore the Forks of the Wabash Trailhead section of the River Greenway that follows the river’s edge throughout the park. West of the trading post is a suspension bridge completed in 2018. The bridge was funded by a grant from the Wabash River Heritage Corridor Commission. Built by the Monday Crew, a group of retired men, the bridge leads to Ehler Island. The island was accessed by a shallow ford in pioneer days and used for farming. The trail is maintained by friends and volunteers of the Huntington Area Recreational Trails Association.

There a cost to attend this event. Refreshments will served, including root beer floats sponsored by Miller’s Merry Manor. Attendees will also be able to squeeze their own lemonade using supplies provided by Owen’s Market.

The park gift shop will be open during the open house.

The Historic Forks of the Wabash is a 501(c)(3) notprofit educational organization, established and maintained by volunteers to preserve, protect and interpret the geographical area known as the Forks of the Wabash River. The park is located at 3011 W. Park Drive, Huntington.