October 6th, 2014
The Westport Historical Society is planning a special Election Day Fun Day for kids at which they’ll make their own voting booths from refrigerator shipping boxes and hear stories about Abraham Lincoln and his famous stovepipe hats. The “Hats Off for Election Day” workshop will take place Tuesday, Nov. 4, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. for ages 5 – 12 at WHS.
The top hats favored by our 16th president, who at 6-feet-4 was also our tallest president, made him stand out even more in a crowd, though this wasn’t always a good thing. During the Civil War a Confederate sniper was able to pick the president out of a crowd, thanks to his “high profile,” but only succeeded in shooting the hat off his head. Lincoln was also known for his humble origins growing up in a log cabin, and the workshop will focus on this aspect of his life when the kids make their own rustic cabins with Lincoln Logs.
Kids attending the workshop will also design and make their own tricornes, the three-cornered style of headgear worn by most men in the late 18th century, from tradesmen to gentlemen to military men, including our first president, George Washington. The brims were folded up so gentlemen of the upper classes could show off their fashionable wigs. And speaking of Washington, the kids will bake and sample cherry tarts in honor of the man who reportedly said, “I cannot tell a lie” when asked by his father if he had cut down that now-famous cherry tree.
The Hats Off program will also delve into nearby Danbury’s past as a hat-producing center. By 1887, according to that city’s Historical Society, some 30 factories had sprung up in Danbury and were manufacturing 5 million hats a year, earning it the title “The Hat Capital of the World.” Elizabeth Petrie DeVoll, the Society’s education director, says kids are welcome to wear their favorite hat, if they have one, to the event.
Refrigerator boxes for the voting booths are being provided courtesy of Aitoro’s appliance store in Norwalk.
“Hats Off for Election Day,” takes place on Tues., Nov. 4, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.; bring a bag lunch. There is a $50 fee for members, $60 for non-members, and sibling discounts are available. Reservations are required. Call (203) 222-1424.