Saturday, September 29, 2012

Helen Keller's birthplace: The tour

In the beginning of September we headed to Tuscumbia, Alabama for the Oka Kapassa that happens every year. As we were entering town almost to the park, it began raining. We circled the park brainstorming what to do since we didn't come prepared to get wet. That's when we saw it: a sign to Helen Keller's birthplace. So we decided to go visit it while waiting for the rain to stop. What a surprise!

 For this post we invite you to come see Helen Keller's birthplace with us. Feel free to show this post to your kids when you read books about Helen Keller and if you have a chance do visit the site. It's amazing to see this remarkable woman's background.

Here we are heading for the 
Main House.

To the left of the house, there are fountains and benches circling a bust of Helen Keller.

As you continue on down, there are displays of gifts that were given to her as she traveled the world. 
There are artwork, sculptures, collections of pins, photos and other memorabilia. 

Helen was involved with the Lions Club.

Behind the main house, there is a big open theater where every summer, they put on The Miracle Worker production for about 6 weeks. 

We are definitely putting that on our calendar for
next summer.

As you enter the main house, you sign up the visitors log book and pay a small fee. Someone will give  you a tour and show you the rooms of the house and give you bits and pieces of information. 

Here our tour guide is showing us pictures of Helen Keller and her parents and Ann Sullivan, the famous teacher who taught her sign language.

To the right, the dining room where Helen had a tantrum and Anne Sullivan stayed with her until she finally gave in and learned how to eat with a fork and fold her napkin.

One thing I noticed most rooms had a fireplace. That was their only heating device then.

I kept thinking how small everything looked and how we have SUPERSIZED everything nowadays.

One of the back rooms was turned into a museum with displays of memorabilia and this replica of bronze statue that sits in the National Statuary Hall at Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. 

Helen Keller was the first female child to grace the floors of the hall.

Here is another display of typewriters and other memorabilia: photos, books, newspapers' clippings and other records.

Helen Keller inspired many. Although she had disabilities she influenced many and traveled the world.

She met many influential people, Presidents, Kings and Queens. She was honored by many. She has written a few books and the couple I have browsed she mentioned the Lord.

Our tour guide said that she always began the day by reading her Bible. The first book she wanted to read once she learned Braille was the Holy Book. 

I don't know how the social turbulence of her time transformed her but I like to believe that she kept her faith in the Lord Jesus in spite of them.

Many of the original parts of the house have been preserved. The windows, furniture, floors are still original as you can see on this photo. My DH said that a runny window pane is proof that it was handmade. On the other side, a modern window keeps the house well insulated since it does have AC.

The houses in those days did not have electricity or an indoor bathroom or kitchen.

Imagine the drafts and cold floors or water they had to endure.

On the back of the main house, you will find a little cottage that contains the kitchen and the maid's quarters.

In the kitchen you will find the cast iron pots, the big fireplace where the food is cooked, the butter churn. 

There isn't much light - just a tiny window.

Here is the other side of the kitchen. More utensils and kitchen tools and the china were food was served. Everything was very proper then.

Where is the refrigerator and the sink? They didn't have any.

Imagine a camping site indoors!

Here is the maid/ cook's quarters. 

It's right next to the kitchen so she can be available at all times to do her job.

Here is the other side of the maid's room.

Again a fireplace to keep her warm in the winter months and a spinning wheel.

Are you enjoying the tour so far?

Would you like to see where Helen was "sent away" to be by herself with her teacher?

This is a grinding wheel for sharpening those kitchen tools just outside the kitchen house. I guess sharpened tools were important.

And that white house in the back is the main house. This is how close the kitchen/ maid's quarters were to the main house.

Here is the famous water pump where Helen finally realizes that everything has a name and a word for it.

To the right of it is the main house, to the left is the house were Helen stayed with Anne Sullivan away from her family so she could learn to trust and rely on her teacher.

To the back of me is the kitchen.

This funny building is the cellar - the underground dark and cool place where food was stored. 

This is the closest they had to a fridge or pantry. It's located to the right of the kitchen.

See that little while house on the left of this photo? That is the house where Helen stayed with her teacher. it's right next to the main house. Right behind it you can see the cellar's roof.

Helen went on a buggy ride so that she would think she was going somewhere far away from her home. Sullivan did not want her running to her Momma at the first huddle. It worked!

Here you go: the one room house where Helen and Sullivan spent time together living, getting to know each other and learning to communicate.

See that nice pot by the bed? You know what that is??

Can you locate their heating source??

Here is the pretty sunny area of their one room house.

Could you live in such a simple house?

What would you do for entertainment?

Do you think time would go slow or fast?

Here is the house from the outside.

Doesn't it look cozy?

There are many Magnolia trees on the property. They are majestic.

What makes some people succeed against all odds and other succumb to their circumstances?

I know that there were many that were in the same situation as Helen Keller but we haven't heard of them. Many didn't have the opportunities that she was handed.

What opportunities are we passing by today? 
What mountains that we are refusing 
to climb?
What scenery are we missing out on enjoying?

The Magnolia tree fruit looks like this. See those red M&Ms?? They are the seeds.

There are seeds of opportunities in our lives every day. 

Dear Jesus, help me not to ignore the opportunities. Help me to be brave to conquer paths that haven't been walked on before. Help me to be courageous and faithful. Amem!!

So did you like our tour? 
I would love to hear from you in the comments' section.
Oh, one last photo. I promise. 

This will be the first thing you will see as you walk into the main house.


Bottom left: Helen Keller
Bottom right: Anne Sullivan
On the top: Helen's parents.


spoileddaughteroftheking said...

What an interesting post. Thank you for sharing. I've read several books about Helen Keller to the kids. I will definitely show them this.

Tereza Crump aka MyTreasuredCreations said...

thank you for stopping by. :) I am glad you enjoyed it.

Karen said...

We live about 45 minutes from here and love to tour Helen Keller's home. Aren't the grounds lovely? Love all your pictures. They have made me want to go back.

Chareen said...

Thank you for the invitation to see your photo's. We have enjoyed discovering Helen's world and her story.


Thaleia said...

Wow, wonderful pictures and description of Helen Keller. Thank you for sharing. Will share your post to a few homeschool groups! I'll let you know if I blog about it on

Tereza Crump aka MyTreasuredCreations said...


I am glad you enjoyed the post.

And yes, please share with other homeschoolers. That was the idea to provide more information on Helen Keller so other homeschoolers could learn more about her.