About the New Museum
The new or present location of the Clay County Museum at 518 Lincoln Avenue has a history longer than the last location. The Clay Center Town Company was the original owner of the land. Through the years there was 12 different owners with different ideas for businesses.
For many years, the local sheriff, Enoch Cummings, owned the property. By 1903 Mathias Schiltz, a prominent banker invested in the land and business. W.W. Smith was next to acquire the building and this is where we are able to follow the story a little better than before.
W.W. Smith and Sons, became the name of the business. The sons, Clay and Murray sold farm equipment, the newest and the best (according to them). Next step was to diversify into anything used on the farm which included home amenities was well. They even sold cars and had a service shop for everything they sold.
In 1925, W.W. Smith expanded the business to the building that you see now, because they had outgrown the current space and you could only put so many new items in one store.
By 1967 the sons had decided to retire and Raymond and Dorothy Orr, the next generation of Smiths changed the venue and started selling furniture. Furniture was sold out of the building until 2010 when the doors where finally closed and an estate had to be settled.
The Clay County Historical Society and Museum was given the opportunity, in July of 2012 to invest in the downtown area and they gladly did so.
The Planning Began...