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July 26, 2006

Shook Museum is a valuable addition to county
by MPC
Joseph Hall is leaving a valuable legacy

Clyde celebrated an historic moment Monday when the Shook Museum at the Shook-Smathers house was officially dedicated.

The house has been a labor of love for Shook descendent Joseph Hall, who has spent about a half a million dollars meticulously restoring it. The structure was in near ruins when he started the project several years ago. Now restored to its former splendor, the house, along with a visitor center built to complement the original structure and sell museum memorabilia, is a Clyde landmark.

The history of the home comes alive during the tours provided by trained docents. Visitors can see where various wallcoverings were once used in the rooms ó from wallpaper to sheetrock to paneling. Also preserved under plexi-glass are the imprints from an original stairway, floor joists and other elements once in the house.

The square nails thought to be crafted by builder Jacob Shook are clearly visible in the original section of the home. This part of the home was described as three stories where the top story was used as a chapel. The earliest mention found about the house was in 1810 when early Methodist leader Francis Asbury spoke of it in his journals.

The expanded version of the home now visible from the outside was added in later years when rooms and porches were built around the original structure. The Shook-Smathers house is one of the oldest frame buildings in the county still standing.

Thanks to Hall, the home not only is still standing, but holds a place of honor in Clyde.

It was fitting that the Town of Clyde made Hall an honorary citizen, gave him a key to their town and honored him during the museumís recent dedication. Hallís gift to the community and his dedication to preserving a structure with roots that run deep and rich in the countyís history will long be remembered. Earlier, Hall invited town leaders to partner with him and use the visitors center to welcome folks to Clyde. The aldermen indicated they werenít interested. Perhaps now that the project is complete, the town leaders will recognize what a jewel they have in their town and reconsider the offer. And, hopefully Hallís offer is still available.