Oskaloosa.com

Local News

January 1, 2014

Do you know what this is?

OSKALOOSA —

This past week's artifact from the Nelson Pioneer Farm is a halltree.

Several people sent in their guesses as to the artifact's identity.

Dorothy Vos wrote via email: “The artifact in this week’s shopper is a piece of furniture that sat just inside the front door of a home.  There are hooks to hang your Hat & wraps on, a mirror to see if you were presentable before you left the house. (often time the only mirror in the home) Most of these had a box with a lid on @ the bottom of the piece to store mittens, scarves, boots etc.  If this is the piece I think it is, it used to sit just inside the front door @ the Daniel Nelson House.  I’m not sure where it is displayed currently.”

Several people wrote their guesses via Facebook. Karen Reeves wrote: “Hall tree for an entryway … Usually had a seat with storage.” Anne Hayes wrote: “Hitching post?” David Lloyd Corbett wrote: “"Hall tree that it is I just could not think of the word. Know everything you do with it and where to place it." Kayla Scholtus wrote: “"A hall tree!"

Nelson Pioneer Farm Curator Kelly Halbert has done some research on the artifact. She wrote: “This object is obviously a Hallstand or Tree from the days of Victorian opulence and excesses. To us it is merely a functional object, designed to hold the hat or jacket of visitors or family coming in from the outdoors. Useful in wintertime, covered with mitts, muffs, scarfs and miscellaneous items of warmth and helpful in summer too, with bonnets, bags and various totes. But to the social conscious Victorians of late 19th Century America – the Hallstand not only was a functional rack, but a useful prop in the drama of 19th century life according to historian Kenneth L. Ames of the Winterthur Museum.

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