A 'grand' celebration, designed to kick off Har-Ber Village's newest ventures is set for Saturday, April 27, at the village.

The event, which includes the official dedication of the nature trail, the McElroy Cabin and the new mining company exhibit, kicks off at 10:30 a.m., with music by the Flyin' Fiddler.

Official festivities, and the ribbon cutting ceremony, begin at 11 a.m. Those slated to speak include Grove Mayor Ed Trumbull and Har-Ber Village Executive Director Amelia Chamberlain.

The event is designed to allow patrons a chance to walk the trails, view the newly completed McElroy Cabin, and learn more about northeastern Oklahoma wildlife.

The event is free, and open without admission charge. Light refreshments and music will follow the ceremony. It takes place outside of the park's main gates, at the trail head of the nature trail/where the picnic pavilion is located.

About the event

Chamberlain said festivities will get underway with music by Wayne Cantwell, also known as the Flyin' Fiddler.

Cantwell has previously played period-appropriate music at the village's Pioneer and Civil War events.

"People enjoy his music and we thought it a good fit with the McElroy Cabin that will be the Nature Trail Trailhead," Chamberlain said.

About The Cabin

Visitors are encourage to tour the cabin, which was brought to the village approximately five years ago from it's previous location in the Whitewater Area of Delaware County.

The cabin, constructed in 1896 by then 33-year-old William Anderson McElroy, was made by hand using rock, oak, walnut and river clay.

It is a one-room structure, measuring 16-feet by 15-feet or 240 square feet. It had rock footings used to raise the cabin off the ground and logs were noched on the ends to interlock as they were stacked.

In 2015, McElroy's great--granddaughter, Patti Jo Elliot contacted village staff about the possibility of relocating the cabin to Har-Ber Village.

In October 2015, the cabin made its way from Whitewater Road to Har-Ber Village, where it's undergone a complete restoration process with the help of multiple volunteers.

While original materials were primarily used for the effort, the process included the replacement of rotted logs. Logs and flooring were stained and sealed. A new galvanized roof was installed, as well as new doors, a porch and a ramp.

The outside walls were "chinked" with mortar, Chamberlain said, for preservation.

Funding for the project came through the Recreation and Trails Project through the State of Oklahoma.

It is now being used as the trailhead for the nature trail, which loops around the Har-Ber Village property.

Nature Trail

The idea for the nature trail grew out of the August 2016 planning meeting for the Grow With Grove initiative.

Chamberlain said the trail was identified as a priority for the Community Quality of Life team. A $197,971 grant from the Oklahoma State Trails and Recreation Department helped provide the funding for the project.

Chamberlain said the completion of the trail gives Har-Ber Village another draw for visitors, beyond the museum.

"The McElroy cabin preserves a bit of Grove and Delaware County history which will be interpreted in the cabin as well as providing a place to pick up trail maps," she said.

Chamberlain said she enjoys seeing people of all ages use the trail - which has been open for much of the past year.

"Safe places to walk away from traffic are few and far between in our area," Chamberlain said. "It makes me feel good that we were able to accomplish this and provide something so scenic and enjoyable for our community."

The nature trail is approximately two miles long. Of that trail, .75 miles is paved for easier walking.

The trail "meanders" through woodlands and has views of the lake. Chamberlain said some gravel paths are steeper, which allows hikers to experience some cardio exercise.

She said highlights of the trail include signage about Oklahoma flora and fauna, benches and picnic areas, and pet waste stations.

Future plans include the installation dehydrating toilets and a bird blind where people can sit to observe local birds.

The trail is open dawn to dusk daily and is free of charge. Chamberlain said museum officials ask patrons to make sure to exit the park by dusk for their safety. While admission to the trail is free, a charge is required to tour the village.

"We hope that people will help us to maintain the beautiful grounds—and that they will share information about the trail with their friends," Chamberlain said. "Motorized vehicles are not allowed on the trails. Additional items of trail etiquette are posted."

Har-Ber Village Mining Company

The trail will also include the newly completed Har-Ber Village Mining company, where visitors will be able to pan for gemstones, minerals and arrowheads.

Funding for this portion of the project came through a grant from the George and Mary Corkle Charitable Foundation, as well as a Grove Rotary Grant.

"This station will provide an educational and fun experience for families of all ages," Chamberlain said. "The unique aspect of getting to play in a water trough, look for gems, and start a rock collection with the help of an information card makes this a family memory for years to come."