(Clinton, KY September 27, 2012) - Members of the Hickman County Historical Society and their guests were treated to a wonderful tour of the Watson house on West Clay Street Thursday night. The group got together a little before 6 p.m. to enjoy good food and fellowship.
After the meal, the tours began. Tom Van Slambrouck took guests all the way through the house, pointing out every detail to the visitors. Among other interesting features, Van Slambrouck pointed out a claw foot tub that is dated 1852. The bathtub is located in a room that was originally a pantry used for storing sacks of dried beans, barrels of flour, etc. According to historians that have visited the house, this indicates that the house was build before 1880, when modern food preservation techniques came to popularity.
The historians say the house was build before 1880 for sure, but Van Slambrouck believes that it is a few decades older.
“I found a small cannonball in one of the bricks,” Van Slambrouck said during the tour, “and several of what could have been bullet holes. I thought they were bee holes and covered them up; it wasn’t until later that I realized the other possibility.”
Van Slambrouck also cited the original linoleum floor in one of the second story rooms as possible evidence of pre- or during Civil War construction.
Tom and Renee Van Slambrouck have spent the last several years renovating the historic home, using colors and schemes that are approved by the American Historical Society.
The paint and trim inside the house is immaculate, and the window treatments are gorgeous. The Van Slambroucks have kept as much of the original furnishings and styles as possible. Tom had to rebuild all the drawers in the kitchen, but used all of the original wood. The floors on the second level are all original, while newer hardwood has been placed on the main floor.
In one of the bedrooms, Van Slambrouck pointed out a three-piece bedroom suit that is worth more than $13,000 today, but that wasn’t the only antique in the house. In the entryway, Tom directed guests’ attention to Virginia Jewell’s original sewing machine. Several beautiful paintings adorn the walls that were painted by Renee’s mother.
While giving the tour, Tom shared a story with the quests from way back when the bathroom had just been placed in the original pantry. He said the family had some friends over and they were playing football outside. One of the boys said that he had to go to the bathroom and was going in the woods, but he was urged to go use the bathroom in the house. The boy refused, saying “you don’t go to the bathroom in the house.” The boy was dragged into the house and into the bathroom where he was showed for the very first time how to use an indoor restroom.
Now the beautiful house is for sale and we can only hope that the next owners will be as kind to it as Tom and Renee Van Slambrouck have been over the last few years.
Editor's Note: See a related story "Legends and Ghosts of Clinton.."