Friday, June 3, 2011

Warthers, Vintage Buttons

Funeral Train of Abraham Lincoln 1865
A visit to Amish Country is not complete without a visit to the world-renowned Warther's Carving Museum in Dover, Ohio, where 64 of Ernest Warther's hand-carved walnut, ebony, and ivory model trains are in glorious display.  Sure to astound ladies and well as men, carvers and non carvers; the intricate sculptings of trains, a replica steel mill, and other creations are well worthy of your visit.  Born in 1885, Mr. Warther would have heard many accounts of the Lincoln Funeral Train passing through Ohio in 1865.

Replica Steel Mill with moving figures
Self taught, Ernest "Mooney" Warther began carving at the age of 5 after finding a pen knife along the road.  Days were spent whittling, as he helped his family by herding cattle during fair weather. Born to Swiss immigrants on October 30, 1885, he learned to work hard at a young age and by the 1920's earned the title World's Master Carver.

Frieda Warther's Button Collection
 Frieda Warther, an avid button collector, amassed over 100,000 buttons in her lifetime and creatively assembled 73,282 of them into ornate displays that today adorn the ceiling and walls of the Warther Button House.  Curious to learn how she obtained the button that was from Mary Todd Lincoln's inaugural dress, I asked family members how it came into her posession; after all, the inaugural dress is in the Smithsonian Museum.  It happens that Frieda helped maintain the garden of Mrs. Donahey, whose husband, Alvin Victor Donahey was the 50th Govenor of the State of Ohio, governing from January 1923 to January 1924. The Donahey's lived in Tuscarawas County.  Because the govenor's wife was friends with Mary Todd Lincoln's niece, she was able to make a special request, thus this significant button was lovingly passed to Frieda.  Find here, more history about Frieda Warther's collection.

While visiting Warther's Carvings and Ohio's Amish Country consider the fine accommodations at The Barn Inn Bed and Breakfast.

Submitted by Loretta Coblentz
June 3, 2011

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