homepage logo

Origins of Hall explored

By Staff | Oct 30, 2015

On Saturday, Nov. 7 at 11 a.m., the Historic Shepherdstown Commission will present “The Origins of McMurran Hall: Rezin D. Shepherd, the Clock Tower and the Town Hall.” The talk is free and open to the public and will take place at Shepherd University’s Reynolds Hall on King Street between German and High streets.

Master metalsmith Dan Tokar and local historian Jim Surkamp will tell the story of Shepherdstown founder Thomas Shepherd’s grandson, Rezin D. Shepherd, who went to New Orleans as a young man and made a grand fortune in the sugar trade. Later he returned to his beloved Shepherdstown to become the town benefactor.

In 1841, he gave Shepherdstown’s citizens a large Boston-built “town clock,” which has sounded the hours almost continuously ever since. In an original video, Tokar (shown below with the clock mechanism) and Surkamp will reveal the secrets of the intricate mechanism of what is now-but was not always-the McMurran Hall clock.

In 1859 Rezin Shepherd began construction of McMurran Hall on the old “Shepherd’s Fort” lot, the very site of his birth. Surkamp and Tokar will recount the community dispute regarding its location, Rezin Shepherd’s family and business ties to New Orleans and Boston, and the shifting functions of the Hall, as makeshift hospital, town hall, county courthouse, school, college and university building. An audience discussion will follow the talk.

For more information, contact info@historicshepherdstown.com or 304-876-0910