Visitors to the Livingston House learned what life was like in the 1800s during Pioneer Day, churning butter by hand, washing laundry in a suds bucket, walking on stilts or running sack races.

The event was sponsored by the Reynoldsburg Parks Recreation Department and the Livingston House Society.

Volunteers at the Livingston House, 1792 Graham Road, wore bonnets and long skirts or vests and overalls, helping with everything from making potato stamps and cornhusk dolls to sawing wood with a two-man saw.

Farm animals -- two goats and a half-dozen chickens -- were on hand and people could learn how to milk goats or cows, using a milking simulator.

It was Pioneer Day's 11th year in Reynoldsburg, Parks and Recreation Director Donna Bauman said.

Volunteer Trinity Tobe, a freshman at Reynoldsburg (HS)2 Academy, patiently helped children learn how to walk on stilts, a favorite pastime among children in the 1800s.

Tobe was barefoot and wearing a long skirt and pinafore as she balanced easily on the stilts and made her way across the gravel driveway.

"My family has been volunteering at Pioneer Day for the last three or four years," she said. "We can get caught up in so much technology these days that we forget where Reynoldsburg came from.

"We have a rich history and we should let more people know about it," she said.

Dawn Dolly, a Pataskala resident, said she came for the family fun, bringing her two daughters.

"We churned a little butter, and now they are learning to walk on stilts," she said. "It's great fun as a family and we are also learning a little about history."

Livingston House Society member Joyce Avers manned the wash bucket, showing children how to do laundry the old-fashioned way. She demonstrated how to scrub laundry on the washboard in the bucket, then how to rinse it and hang items on a clothesline with clothespins.

"I think it's a good thing when children learn that it once took a lot of hard work and time to do chores every day," Avers said. "Our modern conveniences make things much easier now."

The Livingston House was built in the 1800s by Alexander W. Livingston, known as the first horticulturist who succeeded in upgrading the wild tomato with seed experimentation and propagation. He developed the "Paragon" tomato in 1870, a stable variety that could be widely grown - thus establishing Reynoldsburg as "the birthplace of the tomato."

The Livingston House was recently returned to its original whitewashed color after being red for the last 25 years. It sits on five acres and is a city park, with a small playground.

To schedule a tour of the house or learn about rental space, contact the Reynoldsburg Visitor's Bureau at 614-866-4888.

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