Enoch Wright House to open for soup and tours

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Navigate the traffic through Peters and you'll have trouble picturing its past as the American frontier -- that is, until you near the eastern edge of the township.

Along Venetia Road is a reminder of the early days: the Enoch Wright House, which has stood since 1816. The Wright family donated the house to the Peters Creek Historical Society, which maintains the structure as it approaches its bicentennial.

On Sunday, the historical society will host its sixth annual Candlelight Soup and Stroll at the house, providing visitors with a taste of life in previous centuries along with a taste of homemade cooking.

"All of the soups are definitely from scratch," said society member Ruthann Seraly, who will prepare a batch of chicken barley.

"Actually, it's a friend from New Jersey's recipe," she admitted. "I love soups in the wintertime and make lots of them."

Betty Amato of Chartiers will prepare stuffed pepper soup for the event.

"The house will be all decorated for the holidays," she said. "We'll have soup, bread, desserts, coffee and tea, cider and drinks."

The women will dress as hostesses would have dressed in the 19th century and serve the food to visitors, who are encouraged to stroll around the house and see what the historical society has to offer.

Visitors also are welcome to stroll the grounds, where an even older structure stands: a log house dating from the 1790s. Several years ago, it was transported from its original location in western Washington County and meticulously reconstructed. The smaller house often serves as a gathering place for re-enactors who are serious about their portrayal of history.

"We've been concentrating on just putting in the cabin those items that a family would have had, keeping it as sparse as possible," said Union resident Wily Frankfort, society president.

An educator who often presents school programs about early American history, Mr. Frankfort said he strives for accuracy about details of life on the frontier, as Washington County was in the 18th century.

"Cabin life is so different from an actual house that it's like going to a different country," he explained. "Pretty much the way we have it is the way it was. They just didn't have what everybody thinks they had."

The Soup and Stroll also will offer live music, Christmas decorations reminiscent of the 19th century and a presentation of holiday tales by storyteller Linda Nickles. Also on hand will be Father Christmas, dressed in traditional, pre-Santa Claus garb.

The event will be held from noon to 5 p.m. Sunday at the Wright House Museum of Western Expansion, 815 Venetia Road. Tickets are available only at the door for $8; $5 for those younger than 10. Details: 724-941-5710 or www.peterscreekhs.org.

Harry Funk: suburbanliving@post-gazette.com.

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