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Pioneer Museum acquires some old tools


A bench full of hammers, hammer heads and labels, plus some of Amanda Covey's internet research on them. - Jacob Wagner photo

A local museum focused on honoring the people who make the community's history now has a collection of tools from a worker on display.

Antique hammers and wrenches were donated by Robert McClure this month to the Coulee Pioneer Museum in Electric City.

The hammers belonged to Delbert McClure, Robert's father, and a former mayor of Electric City in the late 1960s who also owned Del's Texaco there.

Amanda Covey, who volunteers at the museum, which is open from 1-5 p.m., Wednesday through Sunday, has been tasked with identifying the various hammers.

She said the hammers are geared towards various jobs. There are blacksmith hammers, automotive hammers, hammers for jewelry making, shoe making, mining, logging, farrier hammers, and regular ol' hit-the-nail-on-the-head claw hammers.

One of the oldest ones dates from the 1850s, Covey said, noting that she uses the internet to help identify and date the old tools.

"There's some unique ones," Robert McClure said about his father's collection. "He had his eye out for them over the years."

He said Delbert McClure grew up in the Nespelem area and had worked as a mechanic, acquiring a lot of the hammers in that work.

Wrenches, also donated by Robert McClure, are from the collection of Fredrick Earl De Camp, McClure's uncle, who was a construction mechanic and worked for the Grand Coulee Dam for a period during his career.

McClure was happy for the tools to find a home at The Coulee Pioneer Museum.

"It definitely was the right fit, given our history in Electric City," he said. "I grew up in Electric City, and Dad being a past mayor there, it just made sense."

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