Updated 9/13/13

In Podcast #63 the Trekkers take you to southwestern Virginia to learn how the early settlers in this region lived. Explore the Settlers Museum in Smyth County where you can see an 1890s farm house and a one room school house; learn how shot (round bullets) were made at the Jackson Shot Tower in Wythe County; and discover out how food was preserved and prepared at The Historic Crab Orchard Museum & Pioneer Park in Tazewell County; finally, see how many tries it takes for Alfonso to say “Crab Orchard Museum and Pioneer Park” (we filmed 6 podcasts #58 - 63 in one weekend so he was probably a little tired :)  Come on, let’s go trekking!

There’s a lot more to see at the Historic Crab Orchard Museum & Pioneer Park than we had time to show you.  The land where the park is now located has been inhabited for thousands of years. Bones of mastadons and a fossil of an ancient snail have been found here and are on display in the museum. The remains of a palisaded community built by Woodland Indians (probably Cherokee) were found across the street from the park.  One of their pipes shows that they were growing tobacco here over 600 years ago!   The first Europeans to settle in this area were Thomas Witten and his family who started a farm here in 1770.  He found many wild crabapple trees growing here, and that’s how the park got its name.  The original trees have disappeared, but the park is trying to regrow a wild crabapple orchard of the same type that used to live here.  All the buildings in the park are original.  They were relocated from nearby homesteads and restored at the park.  The oldest building dates back to 1802! (Source)     

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SOL Correlation:


K.2 The student will describe everyday life in the present and in the past and begin to recognize that things change over time.


2.3 The student will identify and compare changes in community life over time in terms of buildings, jobs, transportation, and population.


VS.2b The student will demonstrate knowledge of the physical geography and native peoples, past and present, of Virginia by locating and describing Virginia’s Coastal Plain (Tidewater), Piedmont, Blue Ridge Mountains, Valley and Ridge, and Appalachian Plateau.


VS.2d The student will demonstrate knowledge of the physical geography and native peoples, past and present, of Virginia by locating three American Indian language groups (the Algonquian, the Siouan, and the Iroquoian) on a map of Virginia.


VS.4b The student will demonstrate knowledge of life in the Virginia colony by describing how the culture of colonial Virginia reflected the origins of European (English, Scots-Irish, German) immigrants, Africans, and American Indians.


VS.6 The student will demonstrate knowledge of the role of Virginia in the establishment of the new American nation by c) explaining the influence of geography on the migration of Virginians into western territories.


VS.10b The student will demonstrate knowledge of government, geography, and economics by describing the major products and industries of Virginia’s five geographic regions.

Valley & Ridge

Thomas Witten built a fort near the present-day park to offer settlers protection from Indian attacks.

(Picture credits)

Crabapples are small apples (under 2 inches across) and are very sour.

(Picture credits)