Scaled-down Clague House a big job

The Clague House parlor was recreated using dollhouse furniture in the miniature version of the house.

The Clague House Museum is a familiar landmark to many in the city of Westlake. The stately home sits proudly as she has since being built in 1876. The former home of the Clague family, and current home of the Westlake Historical Society, is one that showcases Westlake's fine heritage.

The late Ruth Cunningham, a founding member of the Westlake Historical Society, as well as a miniaturist, envisioned in the mid-1970s building a miniature version of the Clague House. She initiated the idea by commissioning a carpenter to build the shell. The carpenter built the dollhouse-sized model completely enclosed.

Four years later, Cunningham, also a member of the Cleveland Miniature Society, suggested they take on the Clague House project. Another Cleveland Miniature Society member liked the idea and helped it to move forward.

The walls of the Clague House model were adjusted so they could be removed for viewing the rooms inside. Problems with the tiny electrical fixtures and wiring needed to be overcome for the job to continue.

Once the wiring was completed, groups met each week to work on the interior and exterior details. A craftsman was hired to make exact miniature copies of the Whatnot shelf in the parlour and the trundle bed upstairs. Other than those pieces, all the work to finish the house was donated.

Funds for the dollhouse materials were donated by the Westlake Historical Society. Cleveland Miniature Society members refinished the red brick facade on the exterior, then copied the ornate fireplace in the parlor, finished the door panels to match the originals, and even reproduced tiny versions of the framed portraits of Walter and Sophronia Clague, the last surviving brother and sister who bequeathed their house and land to the city before passing away.

Attention was given to even the smallest of details, such as the blue willow pattern on the house china.

The Clague House model is currently on loan to Westlake Porter Public Library by the Westlake Historical Society. It is housed within a cabinet located in the lobby of the library, and is especially popular with the children.

The Westlake Historical Society is very proud to be one of few museums to have an exact copy of their facility in miniature. The hard work and devotion of the Cleveland Miniature Society back in the 1970s is still being enjoyed by all those who see the Clague House model each day. 

When the historic Red Brick School was demolished late in 2010, several members of the Westlake Historical Society sugested that maybe it should be the subject of the next model to be constructed, but no plans have yet been made for that project.  

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Volume 4, Issue 4, Posted 2:42 PM, 02.21.2012