Hinsdale County Museum has received a significant collection of late 19th/early 20th Century home furnishings which have been acquired through the generosity of Susan Story and Dave Jordan, new owners of the historic Forberg-Palmer house on Gunnison Avenue.
Among the intrguing relics is a fringed and tasseled golden oak fainting couch with original crushed velvet upholstery, a man’s shaving kit with porcelain cup and a box full of straight razors, photo album, telegraph and several men’s bow ties in what would have been considered wild designs and colors for the time. Museum curator Grant Houston says he is most excited about the white marble-topped golden oak barber’s cabinet, with original spring-hinged shelves. Middle shelf would have been used for dry, clean towels, and the carved, ventilated lower portion would have been for damp, used towels. Also donated by Story was an 1890’s woman’s vanity set made of popular material for the time, celluloid, complete with hairbrush, comb, mirror, containers for rouge and hooks for lacing up shoes.
The front portion of the Forberg-Palmer house, at 420 Gunnison Ave, was built in 1878 by George P. Chiles. Chiles was a miner and a prospector in the area, and in 1880, served as Constable. The house was purchased in 1886 by Lake City barber Carl Forberg following his marriage to Amelia Maurer. Forberg owned the elite Pioneer Barber Shop and was elected Lake City Mayor in 1898. Located on Silver Street, Forberg’s barber shop was founded in 1877 and was advertised as the “oldest in San Juan…fitted with every modern improvement, bathing rooms reserved for ladies on short notice.”
Later owners of the house were James T. and Jennie Palmer, and their daughter Edna (Palmer) Lampert, wife of Denver & Rio Grande Railroad brakeman Ed Lampert. Jeep club founders Dudley and Jenny Hartman bought the house from Horace Cooper in 1974 and sold it to Georgia residents Martha Rogers and Janet Moore in 2002, the latter owners adding a 256 square foot addition to the back of the house.