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June 9, 2006

Tour Clyde historic home Saturday

Those who havenít had a chance to tour the newly renovated Shook-Smathers House in Clyde have a golden opportunity. At 10 a.m. each Saturday in June, group tours will be offered at the home first built in the 1800s and expanded in the 1890s.

For those who canít make the 10 a.m. event, later group tours can be arranged either for Saturday or another day.

Tours are conducted by trained docents who will reveal the many fascinating details about the rescue and restoration of the home, now restored to its former splendor just off U.S. 19-23 and Carolina Boulevard in Clyde.

The Old Timers Model A Club in Asheville was the first group to make the Saturday tours last week. Jean Shook Sherlin of Asheville is a club member and a descendant of the homeís original owners. She told other club members about the site, and it became the destination for their June outing.

Club members travel to a nearby destination once a month where they present a fine sight of Model A Fords traveling down the highway. An outing criteria, club members said, is to find a spot where they can get a good lunch and one that is fairly close by since top speed is 45 to 50 mph.

Sherlin was delighted with the experience of touring her ancestral home. ďI followed the restoration,Ē she said as she took a couple of snapshots of the house, and particularly the area where family photos were on display.

Later in the season, those in search of the ideal historical visitor experience could find the Shook-Smathers House open on a more regular basis. To satisfy the accessibility requirements, a separate visitors center had to be constructed to meet requirements for accessible restrooms. The building will also house a small gift shop, said Frank Hall, who is helping his brother Joseph S. Hall, of Washington, D.C., who took on the philanthropic restoration project. Though the home is sanctioned as a historic site by Preservation North Carolina, permission was granted to build a modern kitchen that will eventually be licensed for catering. This will allow tour groups to tour the home and then enjoy their lunch on the scenic and expansive grounds, said Sara Queen Brown, one of the original docents who is helping promote the project.

Once the visitors center is complete, tours will start there with an overview. To better illustrate the original home and the larger addition that was wrapped around almost a century later, a styrafoam model is being prepared, Brown said. An official dedication will be scheduled at the house later in the season, she added.

To arrange for group tours, call 1-877-620-2300 or send an e-mail to info@shookmuseum.org.


Vicki Hyatt photo
Those passing through Clyde Saturday could have seen a dozen or so vintage Fords parked at the Shook-Smathers house where club members motored for a tour.