Museum’s Interior Tours, Pub Crawl Begin ‘History Month’

Hinsdale County Museum is sponsoring an impressive array of lectures, tours and special events in the concluding days of July and for the start of History Month in Lake City in early August.
Among these is the first Pub Crawl featuring three entertaining lectures in three Lake City watering holes next Wednesday, August 1. The walking Pub Crawl benefits restoration of the museum’s newest acquisition, a 42’-long passenger and freight car, Car No. 211, which was used on the Lake City branch of the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad in the 1910s and 1920s.
Among the museum’s numerous special events are two guided interior tours of Lake City homes, the first of which sets off from the museum today, Friday, July 27, for an insider’s view of three remarkable San Juan Ranch Estates residences.
Cost of the tour benefiting Hinsdale County Museum is $10 per person, vehicle transportation required. The tour will be led by museum volunteer Jane Swanson, aided by a corps of assistants.
The museum’s second and final interior home tour of the year is next Friday, August 3, again scheduled to depart the museum at 1 p.m. and with car pooling advised. Cost of next week’s interior tour is $10 per person and includes a cookie and lemonade refresher at the tour’s
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Historic homes on next Friday’s interior tour are two side-by-side Gunnison Avenue residences reflecting two distinct eras architectural styles.
Joanne Mallett and Judy Hashem’s two-story frame McClellan-Lampert house was built in 1877 at a cost of $2,000 and was at one time owned and occupied by the ill-fated John Addington who was killed in the Surtees-Addington gun fight in 1901. Later owners of the house included Florence Doyle, who used it as the Grove Rooming House, and Denver & Rio Grande Railroad brakeman Ed Lampert.
Mallett and Hashem have recently finished a new exterior paint scheme and, several years ago, completed a thorough renovation which entailed raising the vintage home into the air in order to build a new foundation.
Immediately next door to the McClellan-Lampert house is a 1947 single-story residence built of cinder blocks which was the newlywed home of the late Joel and Celia Swank.
Joel Swank employed Bud Slater to manufacture cinder blocks in the late 1940s and 50s, key components of which were cement and cinders from the railroad right-of-way which were used as a binder.
The Swank home at 217 Gunnison Avenue, now owned by Rob and Donna Beeman, was snug in its original configuration with two bedrooms, kitchen and — most notable — an indoor bathroom, reportedly the first in Lake City. The home boasted running water on the interior and a novel bathroom equipped with a septic system.
A final interior stop on next Friday’s tour is the notable Queen Anne-style Harry Youmans-A.B. Carey house, 6th and Gunnison Avenue across from Lake City School, which is owned by David and Susan Kolb.
Designed and built by local architect and contractor J.J. Marsh, the structure was owned by Lake Fork and Cebolla pioneer Harry Youmans utilizing native lumber from his Henson Street sawmill. At its completion in 1893 at $3,000 cost, it was described as being of “East Lake architecture, two stories and rather imposing and showy… an ornamental tower sets off the corner, and the cornices extend over a baywindow on the side elevation.”

As a brief recap of tours and special events hosted by Hinsdale County Museum, tour guides Mette Flynt and her father, museum director Dave Flynt, will preside at a walking ghost tour leaving from the museum 8 p.m. Friday, July 27, followed by a fascinating guided walking tour of both the IOOF and City Cemeteries starting 10:30 a.m. next Tuesday, July 31.
Participants on the cemetery tour will learn about pioneer residents who are interred in both the 1877 Odd Fellows Cemetery and its down-hill counterpart, the 1876 City Cemetery. Cost of the tour is $5 per person, vehicle transportation required.
Flynt also leads a walking tour of the Lake City Historic District covering both residential and downtown business district leaving from the museum at 10:30 a.m. Thursday, August 2. Cost of the guided walking tour is $5 per person.
The final two performances of the museum’s prostitute drama, Scarlet Belles, are scheduled 7 p.m. Tuesdays July 31 and August 7. Seating for both performances is limited and it is advised that $8 tickets for the historical drama be purchased at the museum in advance. In addition to local actors portraying South Bluff Street luminaries such as Maggie Hartman, Madam Irish Ann Blanchard, Jessie Landers, Lola Mattice, and Dora Delmer, brothel pianist Leo Jo Lowry and her song bird granddaughter, Chelsea Bissell, begin each evening’s performance.
Hinsdale Museum’s benefit for the restoration of narrow gauge combination Car No. 211 begins at 3 p.m. next Wednesday, August 1, which also happens to be Colorado Day.
Modeled after similar successful Pub Crawls which are held in both Crested Butte and Gunnison, Hinsdale Museum’s Pub Crawl starts with a discussion by Scott Campbell and Jesse Kendall on the challenges ahead as the museum restores Car 211. The narrow gauge passenger car was built in 1881 and reconfigured in 1900 as a combined freight and passenger car.
Participants on the Pub Crawl will receive a commemorative Car 211 beer mug for beer samples at three Lake City watering holes, Restless Spirits Saloon, Packer’s Bar and Lake City Brewing Co. Speakers will be stationed at each of the bars to discuss particular aspects of Lake City history: Grant Houston at Restless Spirits providing an overview on Lake City history, Phil Virden at Packer’s Bar talking on Lake City social history and Gunnison historian Dr. Duane Vandenbusche who will be at DeShazo’s Lake City Brewing Co. for an animated discussion on the history of the Lake City branch of the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad.
Tickets for the benefit Pub Crawl are $40 per person, including commemorative beer stein and beer samples, proceeds benefiting the Car 211 restoration. Tickets may be purchased in advance at the museum or at the door on August 1.
Local historian Michelle Pierce has researched the notable lives of both Chipeta, wife of Ute Chief Ouray, and suffragette Susan B. Anthony who visited Lake City on a lecture circuit in September, 1877.
The result of Pierce’s intense research is an illustrated lecture which she will deliver highlighting the lives of both Chipeta and Anthony starting at the museum next Thursday, August 2, at 6:30 p.m. Cost of the lecture is $5 per person.
Next Saturday, August 4, is World Championship Stick Horse Show in Lake City Park. Hinsdale Museum gets in on the Saturday action with Harvey DuChene’s half-day “Volcanoes of Lake City” geologic field trip. Car pooling is advised as members of the tour learn about the region’s volcanic history during successive stops at Windy Point on Slumgullion Pass, followed by stops at Slumgullion Slide and Lake San Cristobal overlooks, concluding at San Juan Ranch Estates north of Lake City for a view of the rim of the Uncompahgre volcano caldera.
Cost of the DuChene volcano tour is $20 per adult, $5 for children under age 13 accompanied by parent; vehicle transportation required.
Also on Saturday, August 4, renown Powderhorn blacksmith Terry Klug returns to the grounds of Hinsdale County Museum for an iron-working demonstration starting at 2 p.m.
Klug traces the development of the blacksmithing art and with a glowing ember forge will use tongs and hammer to create examples of both utilitarian and decorate ironwork.
Klug’s demonstration is free of charge, although donations will be accepted.