Tour Clyde historic home Saturday
by VICKI HYATT
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 firstname.lastname@example.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