Traditional Cream Tea at Schoolcraft Ladies Library

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A Cream Tea table setting from past years at the Schoolcraft Ladies Library.

By Deb Christiansen

Once a year in September, the Schoolcraft Ladies Library building becomes The Red Brick Tea Room when members host a traditional Cream Tea. This year’s theme is the Ladies’ Library Association’s 140-year anniversary entitled, “Have a cup of tea and think of thee.” It will be celebrating members past and present from Ada Brown, L.L.A.’s first president, to current president Jackie Skinner, and Jozie Rafferty, who will follow Skinner.

The tea will take place on Saturday, September 21 at The Red Brick Tea Room, 163 Hayward Street, located next to the Schoolcraft post office. A three-course menu consisting of breads, savories and sweets (and cream, of course!) will be served with two seatings at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.

A cream tea, which is also known as a Devon cream tea, Devonshire tea, or Cornish cream tea is a form of a light meal, consisting of tea served with a combination of scones, clotted cream, and jam. Traditionally, this is a specialty of Devon and Cornwall and is offered for sale in tea rooms in those two counties, as well as in other parts of England, elsewhere in the Commonwealth – and in Schoolcraft.

The cost is $15 per person with seating at tables of four. Attendees will receive their seating assignment at the door. Members of the Library invite people to bring their friends and family for a step back in time at The Red Brick Tea Room. It is worlds away, but right next door. Seating is limited, so reserve seats soon. Tickets are available at or on the Facebook page or contact Jackie Skinner at 269-679-5764.

It was 140 years ago on July 8 when 18 Schoolcraft women gathered at the Red River Hall to form a Ladies’ Library Association. Born out of a love of reading and enlightenment, the L.L.A. has been in continuous existence in Schoolcraft since 1879. The red brick building housing the L.L.A. was dedicated in 1896 and was Schoolcraft’s lending library until 1988, when once again the citizens of Schoolcraft with a love of reading and enlightenment built the modern community library on Centre Street. The L.L.A. building was placed on the Michigan State Historic Site listing in 1996. The Association itself is a thriving organization that meets throughout the year with enriching programs presented on the first and third Tuesday of the month between October and May. There is no programming in January. All programs are open to the public without charge. Citizenship in Schoolcraft is not a requirement to be a member of the L.L.A. and dues are only $10 per year. See the website for more information.

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