While Silver Dollar City is known for its demonstrating craftsmen, thrilling rides, and delectable dishes, did you also know that you can experience the life of a pioneer during your trip to the park? Wander through Homestead Ridge and see if you would have been able to survive during the pioneer days. Think “The Oregon Trail” comes to life– minus the dysentery and poachers, of course. From seeing an actual pioneer home to a one room schoolhouse, you’ll leave having experienced all that the pioneer days had to offer.
If you think living with your family now is trying, imagine living in the same room with your parents and siblings. That’s exactly what the McHaffie family did. Built in 1843 on the banks of Swan Creek in Forsyth, Missouri, this authentic saddlebag log cabin was constructed by Levi Casey. Levi and his wife Polly lived in the cabin with their 6 children–talk about a lack of personal space! After Levi’s death, the cabin was passed on to his daughter and her family, Amanda McHaffie. Here with her husband and three children, Amanda lived and worked the family farm. Walk through the cabin’s bedroom, living room and kitchen and get a glimpse into the sights, sounds and smells of pioneer life.
Pioneers were no strangers to hard work. Get a glimpse into just how hard they worked while watching logs being hewn. One of our talented craftsmen will take his axe and convert a log into a piece of lumber. This process, while tedious and time-consuming, is what many pioneers used to create houses like the McHaffie Homestead.
Just like the McHaffies had back in the 19th Century, McHaffie Homestead is complete with its very own set of farm animals. With goats, bunnies, a miniature horse, and other animals abounding, you may just get the chance to pet a few of them! Stroll over to the Animal Barnyard to meet the cutest critters around.
Listen closely while you’re in Homestead Ridge and you may just be able to hear the sound of a school bell ringing. If you do, hurry on over to Oak Trail School #3! Once you arrive, you’ll be ushered into the one room schoolhouse by the school marm. Find your seat, write your name on the slate tablet, and try your hand at a penmanship lesson.
Fun fact – Most children in the pioneer days stopped going to school after completing the eighth grade, if they even went that long!
Tucked away at the edge of Homestead Ridge you’ll find the quaint and peaceful Wilderness Church. Originally built in 1849 on Bear Creek, this church is still in use! With multiple hymnal sing-a-longs held inside throughout the week, as well as two church services every Sunday, you’ll be able to experience firsthand what church was like in the 19th century.