New for summer 2017 at the Lakeside Heritage Society Heritage Hall & Museum for 2017 is our "Toys of Yesteryear" exhibit. Our first artifact addition is a vintage sock monkey, which was donated in 2016 by the family of Janet Kuhn Senne.
The origin of sock monkeys can be traced back to the late 18th century Victorian era when American mothers began imitating Europeans stuffed animal designs with household items. Nelson Knitting Mills in Rockford, Illinois began manufacturing their famous Rockford Red Heel socks in 1890, which quickly evolved into the most popular sock monkey material. Nelson Knitting Mills patented their red heeled socks in 1915, and the company renewed the sock monkey craze in the 1950s by including instructions for creating monkeys with ever pair of Red Heel socks they sold.
In 1958, How to Make Sock Toys was published by Pack-O-Fun, and the trend exploded. As most trends do, the craze faded for only a few decades before being renewed in the 1990s when the classic Red Heel sock monkeys found their way into storybooks and nurseries around the country. Babies Boomers began sharing their youthful memories with their children.
The Lakeside Heritage Society received its sock monkey in 2016 as a piece of Kuhn Senne's much larger collection of puppets and toys. Early play with this sock monkey may have inspired Kuhn Senne's lifelong passion for puppet making and puppeteering. Her profound interest influenced the organizaiton of weekly puppet shows at Lakeside's Bradley Temple.
Kuhn Senne passed in 2015 after owning her cottage at 337 Cedar Ave. with her husband, Donald, for 30 years. The rest of her puppet collection can be viewed in an online gallery at www.columbuspuppetryguild.org.
As the Heritage Society builds the "Toys of Yesteryear" exhibit this summer, we ask the Lakeside community for help in recreating the story of childhood in Lakeside. If you have a toy or game used at Lakeside that you would like to share, stop by the Archives or contact manager Dakota Harkins at email@example.com.