Entering the Room where Clark Was Born
Wheeling News Register 9-5-1999
A dream for more than a decade, the Clark Gable Birthplace museum in Cadiz, opened to the public this past Spring and has experienced a warm welcome from visitors.
The museum is concentrated on the top floor of the reconstructed house on Charleston Street where wildcat oil driller Bill Gable rented an apartment at the turn of the century for his wife and soon-to-be born son, after the couple moved to Eastern Ohio from Meadeville, PA.
Decorated with period furniture, wallpaper and window treatments, the apartment contained three large rooms and two small rooms.
Displays, posters, photos, and other memorabilia including Gable's boyhood sled can be found throughout the apartment.
The Clark Gable Foundation's gift shop, which opened shortly following dedication of the rebuilt birthplace in 1998, is on the first floor.
"The thing people really enjoy looking at is the record of the doctor's charge when Clark Gable was born: $10, " said Clark Gable Foundation Director Nan Mattern. Clark Gable was born at 5:30AM on Feb. 1, 1901.
The museum was decorated with advice from Ellice Ronsheim, a collection specialist with the Ohio Historical Society.
Ronsheim has ties to Cadiz as well, since her father, was born and raised there.
Ronsheim took into consideration the age of the house at the time, concluding it was reasonably new, and the Gable's financial position, was probably middle class.
Wallpaper patterns were chosen after Ronsheim and Mattern reviewed photos of the interior of similar homes of the time, and reviewed wallpaper patterns available in catalogs of the era such as sears & Roebuck and Montgomery Ward.
"We found pieces that would work for wall and ceiling, that would give the feeling and the impression of the time rather than the exact duplication," said Ronsheim.
She said the same is true for the carpeting and the curtains that were chosen. The curtains were white lace.
The two chose furniture styles based on the premise that a young couple in 1900 would probably have purchased used furniture, made probably in the early 1890's.
The apartment's large front room, the parlor, contains some pieces of period furniture, but mostly displays and wallhangings.
The bedroom contains a period bed with a high back head board, along with wallhangings. A small adjacent room believed to be Gable's nursery includes a baby's cradle of the era.
Among the museum displays besides the sled are a pajama top which belonged to Gable. The top came from Kay Spreckels Gable, donated by Elsie Scott of Euclid. A lamp from Gable's California Ranch and several items signed by John Clark Gable, his son, and sister Joan Spreckels, can be found throughout the apartment.
Another item donated by fans is a 1910 opera house bill with Gable's name from the Hopedale Public school, where he attended classes, donated by Joe and Mary Murdock of Hopedale.
The Gable museum has already hosted several bus tours. For more information on the museum or to schedule tours please contact (888)-424-2235.
If you like to read more on the Y2K celebration, visit http://www.gable.org and http://www.scarlett.org. Kathleen has a detail account on what happened in the gala/dance.
Many thanks to Kathleen who mailed me this article!