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Famous Pike Countian Champ Clark’s wife, Genevieve Clark, came alive on Wednesday, Aug. 14 at the Louisiana Area Historical Museum.
Charlene McCune, of Bowling Green, plays Clark at various venues to help keep local history alive. Her latest performance was the last program of the museum’s summer historical series.
McCune has been president of the Honey Shuck Restoration Inc. board for the past 14 years.
The group has restored the former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representative’s Bowling Green home over the years to historic significance. The home gets its name from pods that fell from the trees around it that are called honey shucks.
“I love history and I love that we have competed a beautiful project for our part of the country and the United States,” McCune said. “If somebody hadn’t done it, it would be gone.”
McCune started the Genevieve Clark enactment with school children to teach them about the famous politician and his home.
“I thought, ‘they don’t want to see me,’ maybe they’ll like to see somebody else.”
Wearing period dress and a large-brimmed hat, McCune looks the part.
Champ Clark went west as a young man, ran out of money in Kansas and came back to live in Louisiana before his political career began, McCune said.
He was a teacher and a newspaper man in Louisiana and was elected prosecutor of Pike County in the 1890s.
Clark and his wife bought Honey Shuck in 1888 and kept it even after he was elected to Congress in 1892, McCune said.
Clark ran unsuccessfully for the Democratic nomination for President in 1912, losing to Woodrow Wilson.
His daughter was married at Honey Shuck that same year and more than 5,000 people attended, McCune said.
“People were hanging from trees,” she said.
Clark died in 1921 in Washington, D.C. His body was then brought to the Pike County Courthouse in Bowling Green, where he laid in state with thousands viewing, McCune said.
Genevieve Clark came back to live at Honey Shuck on and off until her death in 1937.
“Our phone number was 23,” McCune said as Clark.
The home housed Hercules workers, was a nursing home and then was broken into apartments in the 1970s.
Former Congressman Bill Hungate, who was also raised in Bowling Green, established the fund to restore Honey Shuck and restoration efforts have been ongoing ever since
Honey Shuck is open during the summer from 1:30 to 4 p.m., Tuesday through Sunday. Tours are available throughout the rest of the year by calling 573-324-3154 for an appointment.