COPPERAS COVE — Renaissance history came to life Wednesday night as the Copperas Cove Library was transformed into a small medieval village complete with a blacksmith, several Vikings and an English archer.

About 20 people attended the Stronghold of Hellsgate meeting at the library with many dressed in handmade clothing representing their chosen character or persona.

The group is the local chapter of the Society for Creative Anachronism Arts and Science.

“It’s an amazing amount of fun and we try to be historically accurate in dress, manner and skills set prior to the 17th century,” said Joe Simmons, the “seneschal,” or president. “I’ve been involved in SCA for 30 years and I always enjoy the sharing of knowledge.”

Wearing authentic-looking armor, men walked about in ornate medieval tunics, while women wore embroidered dresses and handmade jewelry.

“We train ourselves to do neat things because we enjoy them,” said Katrina O’Keefe, a 17-year member of SCA.

The chapter has 52 members ranging from 5 to 58 years old. It is a part of the Ansteorra kingdom that covers Oklahoma and most of Texas.

Members specialize in a specific time period and area of interest, such as sword fighting, calligraphy, music and dancing, then explore its history.

“There is no wrong way to do armor as long as your project comes out okay,” said Anthony Schienschang, a self-taught blacksmith who conducted the metalwork class.

He demonstrated the techniques and tools he used to create several of the combat helmets on display.

After the demonstration, many people tried their hands at the metal work, hammering and shaping different types of metal as people did centuries ago.

Schienschang finds the work comforts him as he suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder.

“It’s art therapy and it’s amazing for me to create a piece of art,” he said.

For information about the Stronghold of Hellsgate, go to

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