IRONVILLE - The Penfield Museum will host its 45th annual Heritage Day Sunday, Aug. 15.
Activities will get under way with a church service at 9:30 a.m.
The annual Heritage 10K road race will begin at 10 a.m.
A craft fair and flea market will be held 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
The traditional chicken barbecue will begin at 1 p.m. Tickets, $9 each, can be reserved by calling 597-3804. The menu will include a half chicken, baked potato, beans, corn and roll.
The church service will make note of the history of the Congregational Church of Crown Point.
"Almost 190 years from the time that the Rev. S.L. Herrick, pastor of the First Congregational Church of Crown Point, began holding services in a rural portion of the community known as Ironville, current members and the pastor of First Congregational Church, Crown Point, will join with the Penfield Historical Society and all those in attendance, in a Heritage Day service at the old Second Congregational Church meeting house," said the Rev. David Hirtle of the First Congregational Church.
"The church records show that at a special meeting of the Congregational Society in 1846, the Second Congregational Church of Crown Point, was formed," Hirtle said. "Congregationalism, inheritors of the free spirit of the Separatists that left England aboard a tiny vessel called The Mayflower in 1620, came together as a Christian community to build a church home where all would feel welcome, where all had a voice in the path they believed God was directing them.
"The faith of those early settlers carved out of the wilderness of the Adirondacks a church building in 1845 and dedicated in October of that year," he continued. "The building cost $1,600 and boasted a basement used for the education of it's members and the community. It was a focal point of that small, growing community. It provided not only a place of worship, but a communal center for meetings, times of joy and of loss, and great struggle during the early days of this area."
The service will feature hymns, played on the historic pump organ by Shari O'Bryan, scriptures, prayers, anecdotal information and messages.
Located in the Crown Point hamlet of Ironville, the Penfield Museum is the former home of Allen Penfield and reflects the 19th Century when mining dominated the regional economy. It is also the birthplace of the electrical age.
The hamlet of Ironville, on the National Register of Historic Places, is listed as the "Birthplace of the Electric Age" since it is the site of the first industrial application of electricity in the United States in 1831. The electricity was provided by a simple battery known as a "wet battery," which in turn was used to power one of Joseph Henry's electromagnets. The electromagnet was used in Ironville to recharge the magnetic prongs on the magnetic ore separator, a machine used to remove the iron from the crushed ore. The magnet also became a novelty and people would come from miles to see it's strength. Thomas Davenport, of Brandon, Vt., was so fascinated with the magnet at Ironville that he purchased it from Allen Penfield at a cost of $75. With the experimentation that Davenport did on that magnet, it lead to his invention of the electric motor in the mid 1830s.
Central to the museum is an exact replica of a large electromagnet now in the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C.
Penfield moved his family to Crown Point in 1828 to make his fortune in the mining industry. The home he build was occupied by three generations before becoming a museum which houses a collection of 19th Century artifacts memorabilia.
Crown Point iron was an indispensable product for the North in the Civil, War. Iron from Crown Point was used to construct the battleship Monitor.
The museum contains samples of iron ore mined by Penfield along with pictures of the mines in operation.
Rooms in the museum are furnished with original pieces once belonging to the Penfields. Other historic furniture is also on display.
Ironville was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1974. The homes along the main street were all constructed in the early 19th Century.
Those buildings, besides the museum, include the Harwood House, a church, a parsonage, a boarding house and homes and barns that have been in use for 150 years and longer.
There are 10 stations along a self-guided tour. Year-round historical and recreational trails wander across the 500 acres of the homestead.
In the summer, hiking and camping are available near the Penfield Pond.
The museum is on the grounds of the Penfield homestead, known as the birthplace of the electrical age. But it contains much more than artifacts relating to mining and electricity; it is a museum of local history.