Press-Republican

Local News

October 6, 2011

Couple aim to preserve history of 19th century quarry

WILLSBORO — For several years, Darcey and Bruce Hale have been passionately perusing, cataloging, transcribing, scanning and storing some 70,000 artifacts of the Solomon Clark family.

The Hales own property in Willsboro where the Clarks once operated Bluestone Quarry.

Many of the documents detail the daily lives and business ventures, as virtually every family member kept a diary and monetary transactions were noted in the minutest detail.

PRESERVATION

"Our concern is when you have something like this, what will happen in the future," Darcey said. "There are five buildings remaining on the property, and we have spent so much time living here and taking care of them. When people come here, they, too, feel the need to have this all preserved.

"We debated what to do for the future, such as have things housed in a museum, but have decided that it would be most appropriate to have a historical research museum, which would house all of the written materials and textiles."

SCRAGWOOD

Perhaps the showplace of the property is Scragwood, Solomon and Rhoda Clark's home, which derived its name from the rough cedarwood, replete with its scraggly branches, that framed the porch.

Bruce's dad purchased the Clarks' abode and business office in 1958, in its lived-in state, and it has remained virtually unchanged except for the upgrading of utilities. The Hales use the house from time to time, sitting at the table and eating off the 19th-century dishes of that bygone era.

CLUES TO FAMILY

"They were not a wealthy family; in fact, they were middle class who worked very hard," Bruce said.

A cursory examination supports this, as there was no opulence, and most items are of a utilitarian nature. Walls stacked with books and musical instruments indicate their penchant for having the family members, including the women, be well educated.

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