KEVIN SCOTT CUTLER | DAILY NEWS   FAMILY HEIRLOOM: John Ratcliff, a member of the Pantego Academy Historical Museum Association, examines a glass butter churn that belonged to his distant cousin, Zula Ratcliff Jones. Tours of the museum will be offered Saturday during Pantego's Farm Day celebration.
KEVIN SCOTT CUTLER | DAILY NEWS
FAMILY HEIRLOOM: John Ratcliff, a member of the Pantego Academy Historical Museum Association, examines a glass butter churn that belonged to his distant cousin, Zula Ratcliff Jones. Tours of the museum will be offered Saturday during Pantego's Farm Day celebration.

Archived Story

Pantego museum to host weekend fest

Published 7:08pm Wednesday, October 9, 2013

 

PANTEGO — The lifestyles of Pantego’s yesteryear will be relived during Saturday’s second annual Farm Day celebration.

The event, which runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., will be hosted by the Pantego Academy Historical Museum Association.

In a country-fair setting, vendors, exhibits and live demonstrations of old-fashioned ways will recapture Pantego’s earlier days, according to Virginia Hollowell, one of the event’s organizers.

“We want this to be a community affair. We’ve invited different groups and businesses to set up booths,” Hollowell said. “We have some old-fashioned games for the children and a train ride pulled by a lawn mower.”

Highlights will include a display of handcrafted quilts, a soup and sandwich luncheon, bake sale and auction.

“We’ll have a broad sampling of things in the auction … collectible thermometers, old signs, books … you won’t want to miss it,” Hollowell said.

Other items going up on the auction block will be a Tiffany-style lamp, homemade pineapple cake and gift certificates provided by local businesses, including one for breakfast for two for five days at Gingerbread Bakery in Belhaven.

Tours of the museum will be offered throughout the day. Closed for decades, the former school reopened as a museum after volunteers worked tirelessly to clean and restore the structure. According to Hollowell, a meeting held in July 2005 sparked local interest in restoring the school.

“The community was anxious to keep it and take care of it,” she said.

Time, and rodents, had not been kind to the historic building. As volunteers worked in the former school they were faced with the daunting task of separating treasures from trash.

All that hard work paid off. Today, museum exhibits include a vast collection of memorabilia relating to the school and to the community in general. Pantego High School Warriors uniforms and yearbooks share space with an antique wooden spire from Pantego Missionary Baptist Church. Nearby are goods from the old Zeno Ratcliff Store in nearby Terra Ceia, a lard can from Topping’s Country Sausage in Pantego and seats from the Cameo Theater in Belhaven.

Even a dark chapter in Pantego’s history is represented among the museum’s collection. A wooden, straight back chair and a small, glass butter churn belonging to the late Zula Ratcliff Jones are featured in a kitchen exhibit. An eccentric elderly lady, according to her distant cousin John Ratcliff, Jones was known to keep money in secret stashes hidden around her Pantego home. In the early 1950s, Jones was found murdered, sitting in her chair; her home had been ransacked and her belongings tossed about. The murder was never solved.

The Pantego Academy Memorial Museum is open each Saturday and Sunday from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, visitwww.pantegoacademy.com.

 

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