River Country Journal
Celebrating and Nurturing Life in Southwest Michigan's River Country

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June 14, 2013

‘Blacksmithing’ added to Saturday activities at Silliman House Museum during Three Rivers Water Festival

Silliman House notice

There’s ‘good news’ in regard to the open house scheduled for Saturday (June 15) during the 57th annual Three Rivers Water Festival!

The Sue Silliman House will be open to the public from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday (June 15th), the final day of this year’s Three Rivers Water Festival. The blacksmith forge in the basement of the historic structure on South Main Street, along the St. Joseph River, will be operating from 1 to 4 p.m. thanks to blacksmith Jerry Barkley. (Click on photo to enlarge)

Jerry Barkley of Sturgis, Professor of Mathematics at Glen Oaks Community College and 4-H leader for blacksmithing with the Burr Oak 4-H Club, will demonstrate blacksmithing techniques and processes in the forge, located in the basement of the historic structure on South Main Street.  He will do so between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m.  Barkley is a member of the Michigan Artist Blacksmith’s Association.

Overall hours for the open house will be from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday.

Visitors will be able to tour the home, built by Arthur Silliman in 1876 and home to his daughter, Sue Silliman, until her death in 1945.  Sue Silliman served as the city’s librarian for more than 40 years, wrote about the history of the Three Rivers area in books such as St. Joseph in Homespun, and was also a painter.

The Abiel Fellows Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR), which owns and operates the building, has been working with a citizens advisory committee to reassess the role of Silliman House library and museum, and been reorganizing materials housed in the building.  As noted by Chapter Regent Rebecca Shank in a recent interview with the River Country Journal (18:36 – 17 MB), the public is invited to stop by on Saturday to enjoy some refreshments and “get better acquainted with – not only the Silliman House – but the history of Three Rivers.”


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