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HES to feature new summer house
Come see curator Eddie Browning’s handmade “mule” at the Historic Effingham Society’s Living History Site during Olde Effingham Days this weekend. - photo by Photo submitted

Historic Effingham Society will offer a glance into the past on April 19 from 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m.

The Effingham Museum in the Old Jail will be open, along with its gift shop. The Living History Site will feature, for the first time, its newly relocated and refurbished “Gnann Summer House.”

The house was a gift from Ralph and Jane Gnann. Ralph’s great-grandfather Cletus and great-grandmother Mary Weitman Gnann lived part-time in the house that he built inland from their main home on Ebenezer Creek. Malaria was prevalent. To avoid some of the mosquitoes, Cletus built the summer house several miles inland where they spent the warmer months. The summer house was east of Stillwell, a few miles away from their main dwelling on the creek.  

This clapboard style house is typical of the late 1700s to early 1800s. It features a separate cook house with a clay chimney away from the main home in case of fire. Furnishings of this period will offer a unique opportunity to see what life was like for the early citizens of Effingham County.

Historic Effingham’s Living History Site will have more than 20 demonstrations of crafts from days gone by and activities. The Seckinger-Bridgers House will offer visitors a view of turn of the century to early 1900s life. Smoke will be wafting from the Smokehouse as meat is being cured.  

The 1790s barn will showcase early farming activities. No tour is complete without a stop at the outhouse, wash/canning house and chicken yard. The blacksmith shop will have red hot coals and a blacksmith in action.  

Sweet smells will fill the air as a volunteer crew will cook syrup at the syrup boiler shed. A new wood shop will showcase a variety of wood crafting tools. Old farm equipment and tools will be on display. From the turpentine display, moonshine still, sawmill to plows featuring a handmade mule (crafted by one of our curators and carpenter for all of the Living History Site, Edward “Eddie” Browning) everyone will enjoy the demonstrations and much, much more.   

Charlie Arnsdorff will be there with his old-time games and activities for children including sawing wood, hammering nails, corn shelling, sling shots, horseshoes, stilt walking and more. Lemonade will be offered to our visitors. We will have a bake sale featuring homemade raisin bread, cakes and goodies that usually sell out quickly. We will be selling barbecue, burgers, hot dogs, popcorn and our trademark vegetable soup with cornbread.

Camp Davis Sons of the Confederate Veterans will host an encampment with soldiers’ drills and reenactment.  

Come to the Historic Effingham Society Living History Site and see what is “new” and “olde.” Listen to picking and grinning on the porches. Find a shady spot and sample some of our good food. Chat with an old-timer making shingles, hewing logs or cooking on a wood stove. We plan to offer a unique and fun filled opportunity for young and old alike.

This article was written by Susan Exley of Historic Effingham Society.  If you have old photos, questions or comments please call 754-6681 or email: