Sam's Village: Sam Shibler creates a village within the village of Clayton

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

Most people look at a pile of junk and see just that—a pile of junk.

That’s not how it works for Sam Shibler. He sees things differently.

Sam sees a small scale feed mill. He sees a locomotive just big enough for a child to sit inside. He sees tractors and a lighthouse, tables and benches, a bird house, a barn and a train depot.

Right now he’s trying to see a church.

Over the past dozen years, Sam Shibler has created a miniature village in his home town of Clayton. Spread across the lot next to his woodworking and antique store is an array of small buildings and other creations.

The lot is getting full, but he’s not done yet.

“I’ve got plans for two or three more,” he said. “The next thing…I’ve got a lot of people who want me to make a little church.”

Planning for the church means scouting around for construction material.

“I’m looking at other people’s junk to see what I can do with it,” Sam said. “As you can see, almost everything here is recycled.”

He points to a building that serves as a mock machine shed. This was his first creation. The shell of the building was once an enormous shipping crate from overseas. Sam covered it over, added a door and windows, and finished it off with trim and decorations.

The jail in his little village came from another part of Clayton where it used to serve as a playhouse for kids. His feed mill once was part of a real feed mill. It was the cupola on top of the old Anderson mill in town.

His trading post was part of Clayton’s old slaughterhouse. Mom’s Place was once an old addition on the side of Joe Borck’s house on Tomer Road. A small metal building once functioned as a Consumer Power shed.

His bank was…now Sam is puzzled. The origin of that building is eluding him.

Finally the connection is made.

“It came from Posey Lake off an old cottage,” Sam recalls.

Every building tells a story, and that’s why it would be so difficult to watch one get hauled away down the street.

“At first I was going to sell the buildings, but it’s hard to part with them.”

It’s the little outhouse/storage sheds and the new line of log cabin design outbuildings that he’s selling. Those and the benches, tables, cabinets, houses for birds, bats and butterflies, and all the other myriad creations.

When Sam sees something useful, he doesn’t always know what’s going to become of it.

“Sometimes I’ll look at something for six months and then I’ll say, ‘That’s why I brought it home.’”

And sometimes he thinks he knows what’s coming up, but even he ends up surprised.

“I’ll build a floor and I’ll tell people it’s going to be one thing,” he said. “They’ll come back a week later and it’s something else.”

Other times it’s all too obvious. He once saw an old metal shower and knew he had to have it.

“When I saw that, I just knew it was going to make a good milk truck,” he said.

The truck is now part of his collection, out there near the locomotive and train depot. In Sam’s eye, his lot looked a little empty in the middle so he built a wooden water tower for the locomotive. Right now, he likes that water tower more than anything he’s built.

“It’s the lighthouse and the barn that are drawing the most attention,” Sam said, “and now the log cabins are catching on.”

He’ll keep turning out those cabins, along with the benches and cabinets and bird houses. The love for working with wood must run in his blood.

“I’ve been making stuff ever since I could drive a nail,” he said. “I’m just a nut building some buildings.”

    – Sept. 18, 2002 
  • Play Practice
    DRAMA—Fayette schools, in conjunction with the Opera House Theater program, will present two plays Friday night at the Fayette Opera House. From the left is Autumn Black, Wyatt Mitchell, Elizabeth Myers, Jonah Perdue, Sam Myers (in the back) and Lauren Dale. Other cast members are Brynn Balmer, Mason Maginn, Ashtyn Dominique, Stephanie Munguia and Sierra Munguia. Jason Stuckey serves as the technician and Trinity Leady is the backstage manager. The plays will be performed during the day Friday for students and for the public at 7 p.m. Friday.
  • Front.F.school
    PROGRESS continues on the agriculture classroom addition at Fayette High School. The project will add 2,900 square feet of space and include an overhead door that would allow equipment to be driven inside. The building should be ready for the start of school in August. Work on ball fields and a running track is also underway.
  • Front.rover
    CLEARING THE WAY—Road crossings in the area on the construction route of the Rover natural gas pipeline are marked with poles and flags as preliminary work nears. Ditches and field entry points are covered with thick planks in many areas to support equipment for tree clearing operations. Actual pipeline construction is progressing across Ohio toward a collecting station near Defiance. That segment of the project is expected to wrap up in July. The 42-inch line through Michigan and into Ontario is scheduled for completion in November. The line is projected to transport 3.25 billion cubic feet of natural gas every day.
  • Front.geese
    ON THE MOVE—Six goslings head out on manuevers with their parents in an area lake. Baby waterfowl are showing up in lakes and ponds throughout the area.
  • Accident
    FAYETTE resident Patricia Stambaugh, 64, was declared dead on the scene of a single-vehicle accident Friday morning south of Morenci. Rescue units were called around 9 a.m., but as of Tuesday, law enforcement officers had not yet determined the time of the accident. According to Ohio State Highway Patrol, Stambaugh was driving west on U.S. 20 when her Chevrolet Malibu traveled off the north side of the road and down a steep embankment, coming to rest in Bean Creek (Tiffin River).
  • Front.teacher Leading
    PRESCHOOL MUSIC—Fayette band director Jeffrey Dunford spends the last half hour of the day leading the full-day preschool class in musical activities. Additional photos are on page 7 of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.poles
    MOVING EAST—Utility workers continue their slow progress east along U.S. 20 south of Morenci. New electrical poles are put in place before wiring is moved into place.
  • Face Paint
    FUN NIGHT FUN—Savanna Miles sits patiently while Abbie White works on a face paint design Friday during the Morenci PTO Fun Night. Gracie Snead watches the progress after having spent time in the chair. Abbie was one of several volunteer painters, each creating their own unique look. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.

Weekly newspaper serving SE Michigan and NW Ohio - State Line Observer ©2006-2017