Friday, November 4, 2011

Blessed by the Windham Bacchus

The Windham Bacchus was originally carved by British prisoners
confined to an improvised jail at Windham Green during the Rev War.
The artifact has been restored at various times, but still retains
much of the original work. Author's photo, 2001.
Ten years ago, this month, I traveled to Windham County, Connecticut. Heavily wooded and rural, Windham County is serene and quiet, largely unchanged since the time of the Revolution. I touched base with my roots, found the graves of my ancient ancestors and stood on the green where the Militia mustered in 1775. It was a highly patriotic time, in the wake of 9/11, and I seemed to be having one strangely serendipitous moment after the other. Locals opened their doors to me to share local history, documents, food and more. I stayed in a cold, rustic cabin, roamed misty old cemeteries, and absorbed the charm of the place. Paul Newman waved at me. It was a great week and climaxed when the local librarian in the tiny library on the Windham Green, dared me to climb a ladder just vacated by a handyman and touch the legendary Windham Bacchus. What made her dare me? The thing was what looked to me like twelve feet up, on a pediment, a forbidden artifact of the Revolution - off-limits. But, I took the challenge. I touched the Windham Bacchus. Did I receive some kind of strange curse, to be obsessed with the Revolutionary War? The question is moot, look where I am.

More about the Bacchus of Windham :

It appeared on china dishware.

The Treasury of American Design considered it a 'treasure'.

See page 38 of Early American Wood Carving By Erwin Ottomar Christensen for an explanation of the carvings' origin.

No comments:

Post a Comment