Bob Hart with his granddaughter Rebecca, who heads the foundation that is shepherding Hart Square into the future
Hundreds of volunteers staff the festival as crafters, reenactors, and docents, sharing cultural practices from the 1700s and 1800s such as basketmaking and boiling peanuts.
Among the 101 buildings are a restored trapper’s house and a painstakingly reconstructed gristmill.
Hart Square springs to life every year during the fourth weekend in October, offering dozens of demonstrations, including the making of traditional bow saws.
Bob spent decades seeking out old structures from the skies in his 1973 Cessna, seen at top in an aerial photo of Hart Square.
Acquiring, moving, and rebuilding the structures was only half the battle. The Harts have also labored to fill each one with authentic period furniture, instruments, tools, and other historical accoutrements.
Even though more than 3,000 people visit Hart Square’s annual festival, for much of the year, it sits relatively empty, save for caretakers. “When you have so many things that are this old, obviously things are in constant need of repairs,” says Rebecca.