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franklin county times

Spruce Pine Museum officially opens

A quilt made in 1909 as a wedding gift was one of the popular displays at Friday’s opening of the Spruce Pine Museum.

SPRUCE PINE – The hard work of a group of community volunteers all came together late last week with the official opening of the Spruce Pine Museum.
A group of volunteers had been working for more than two years to turn the old Scharnagel Store across from the post office into a community museum.
“I am just in shock at how this all turned out,” said Jo Ann Gandy, a former president of the Spruce Pine Historical Society.
“We all had this vision, but now to see it, it’s hard to believe.”
The group received the deed from the Scharnagel family almost two years ago. At that point, volunteers began working to renovate the building, which had begun to decay after sitting vacant for several years.
“The building was in pretty bad shape,” according to current board president Janice Winsted.
“We didn’t realize it would come together this quickly.”
The museum houses relics such as old household items like irons, cooking utensils, tools, radios and clothing from throughout the early part of the 20th century.
The store was a gathering place of sorts for community members for many years and residents look forward to showing future generations what Spruce Pine used to look like.
Sue Bowen’s family has lived in the area for several generations and signs depicting her family’s farm hang inside the museum.
“Six generations of my family have lived on our farm at one point or another,” she said.
“I am glad this will be here for them all to see.”
The building itself has been restored to capture as much of its original character as possible.
A hole in the floor has been covered by a small piece of plexi-glass, rather than being covered.
Current county commissioner Howard Hutcheson, who has worked on the project since its inception, said that a man shot a hole in the floor with a double barrel shotgun during a dispute with another fellow over a squirrel.
“As they say, the guy grabbed the end of the barrel as he was about to shoot and that’s why he shot the floor,” Hutcheson said.
Some of the other items on display are family heirlooms, such as the quilt made in 1909 for Kathleen Thompson’s mother’s wedding day.
“My great-grandmother made it for my mother’s wedding day,” said Thompson, whose grandparents owned the Rauschenbaum store in Spruce Pine.
“This is just a wonderful thing to have here. Franklin County is a special place and this is just wonderful.”