Celebrate your Halloween at Molly Brown House | Denver, CO: When our capital and capacity-building effort started in 2014, it had three goals: to pay for improvements to the Molly Brown House Museum, to create a new Action Fund to build community relationships, and to set up a Legacy Fund to plan for long-term capital needs.
We are happy to say that these goals were met, thanks to the generosity of donors like the Colorado State Historical Fund, Bob Musgraves and Joan Prusse, Ruth Falkenberg and Larry Nelson, and Sharon and Lanny Martin. The Gates Family Foundation, Dennis Humphries, Newmont Mining, the Boettcher Foundation, and the Anschutz Foundation also gave large amounts of money.
After three years of work that cost more than $1 million and was planned by William Lang, the museum has been updated and fixed up. More than 75 local building, restoration, and specialty trade companies from around the area worked on this huge project, and more than 200 people worked on the job site during this time.
Celebrate your Halloween at Molly Brown House | Denver, CO
The museum was able to stay open to the public while it was being fixed up. Despite the dust, noise, and rerouted tours, Historic Denver showed more than 156,000 people how to do preservation right. Many people worked hard to keep this beautiful home and Margaret and J.J. Brown’s tradition of public service alive for the next 100 years.
Historic Denver fixed up the front porch, many of the windows and doors, the stained glass, the roof of the carriage house, and the outside brickwork with help from the Colorado State Historical Fund. Kris and Tim Hoehn of Hoehn Architects PC made detailed drawings of the porch stonework and tiles.
These drawings helped Spectrum General Contractors, Building Restoration Specialties, and American Restoration Tile find the right sandstone and rhyolite replacements and replicative tiles for the floor.
The plans also helped build a strong base slab for the porch, which will keep it strong for years to come. The front porch is stable and doesn’t have any cracks, and we dare you to figure out which tiles are original and which are copies.
Building Restoration Specialties also cleaned the museum’s front
Building Restoration Specialties also cleaned the museum’s front, which had been dirty and polluted for 128 years. Their three-step process included rinsing with pressured water, applying a restoration brick cleaner, and then rinsing again with pressurized water.
Within minutes, large parts of the house’s rhyolite and sandstone were as clean as the day they were mined, making it seem like a miracle that a century of “dirt” had been erased.
The careful and skilled work of Watkins Stained Glass, Phoenix Windows, and Heritage Window Restoration has given us windows and doors that are beautiful, renovated, useful, and better at saving energy.
Each window hole is a different size, so Phoenix Window in Pine
Each window hole is a different size, so Phoenix Window in Pine, Colorado, had to use different methods to fix them. The two-story stained glass on the steps was taken down for the first time in the house’s history and sent to Watkins Stained Glass for a full repair.
Historic Denver learned from Phil and Jane Watkins that the etched glass is a special gem made of faceted crystal pieces, unique colors, and gilt leads.
Other outdoor jobs included replacing the carriage house roof, gutters, and site drainage. Flagstone steps were also leveled, and the wood trim was painted a “new” historic color, which was the most noticeable change.
Historic Denver used paint research, pictures, and other detective work to choose the current dark green color because it was the color most often seen on houses and carriage houses between 1895 and 1910, which is the time of interpretive importance for the home.
This greenish-black color was popular at the time
This greenish-black color was popular at the time, and it is thought to have been there at the same time as the changes to the front porch, back porch, and roof. This color looks great next to the color of the Manitou stone and roof tiles, which makes them stand out.
Adding more room to a boring and dark basement was one of the most difficult things we had to do. Together with Spectrum General Contractors, architects at Anderson Mason Dale oversaw more than a dozen contractors who slowly turned a maze of rooms into a beautiful place that school groups and all of our guests can use.
With the help of Jackie Noble of Noble Erickson
With the help of Jackie Noble of Noble Erickson, we can use this room to add new meaning and dynamic programming that tells the rich story of Colorado’s natural resources, including, of course, gold. In the Natural Resource Education Center in the basement, there is a new permanent exhibit that goes into more detail about the effects of natural resource extraction on Denver and Colorado’s growth, both in the past and the present, and on the Brown family, who, like many other people in history, helped build a cultural metropolis by looking for mineral wealth.
We were able to add a lift to two floors of the museum because of the basement project. This means that people who use wheelchairs, walkers, or other mobility devices can get to the first floor of the museum and our new place in the basement, which has accessible bathrooms, drinking fountains, and a movie about Margaret Brown. Even though the lift doesn’t go to the second and third floors, there are ways for people to continue the tour online with headsets, pictures, and videos.
With these big wins, the Investing in Action Capital
With these big wins, the Investing in Action Capital & Capacity Building Campaign has propelled our organization into a bold new era of impact. This new era is now also being supported by the continued growth of our Legacy Fund, a kind of endowment that will help pay for future capital needs and keep our organization active in the community.
We are very thankful to the many people who gave to the effort and made it a success. They have made sure that Historic Denver will be a strong part of our changing community for many years to come.