Originally Published January 20, 2015
If you like house museums and the mountains, then the Humphrey Memorial Park and Museum is the place for you! Located just on the outskirts of Evergreen, it is easily reachable and just a short drive from Denver.
The property started as the Clark Homestead in 1878 and was bought by the Humphreys, who moved in during 1921. They moved the original cabin on the property and attached it to the house,and throughout the years, expanded the house to what it is today, including the outbuildings and other houses on the property. They named the property Kinnickinick Ranch
The Humphrey’s daughter, Hazel Lou, remained living on the property until her death in 1995, and thanks to previous efforts on her part, the remaining homestead land and buildings were set up as a museum, having gotten a national Register designation in 1974.
When you walk into the house, you will immediately find that this museum is unlike almost every other house museum you’ve ever been in. As part of the trust, and part of the nature of the Humphrey family, the house contains hundreds of different collections and over 800,000 different items from Victorian times up through the 1990s. The general structure of the house was not changed from the 1920s and 1930s; propane stoves were put in place of the original fireplaces ad the fireplaces were bricked up. In the main bedroom, the original and quite unique bedside wall sconces are still in place, even though more modern lighting was put in on the ceiling. At one point, Hazel had a very much modern washer and dryer, though those were most likely the most modern items in the house besides a 1960s refrigerator and hazel’s clothing.
Looking throughout the house, you will find decades of items co-mingled in every room. To those used to house museums that pick one decade, you might find, for example, Grandma hammer’s bedroom a little odd at first sight, with its Victorian dresser set and 1920s and 1930s lamps. But as you look around, you realize everything n the house was put there because someone loved this item and wanted it as a part of their lives. Thanks to bequests in the various family member’s wills, all of their things still exist in the house; every closet, drawer, cupboard is full of things they owned, used and loved. This makes it a truly unique museum.
Outside, the construction of the home is a mix of hewn log cabin and gingerbread, equally unique, just like the people were.
For a small fee, the exceedingly knowledgable staff will take you on an hour long tour of the house – and with so much to see, the hour passes very quickly! You are also welcome to take a walking our of the property, and the museum offers over 150 different classes in folkart and homesteading crafts throughout the year, as well as a gift and antique shop.
Humphrey Museum is located at 620 Soda Creek Road in Evergreen, and the schedules, days open and rates are available on their web page, http://www.hmpm.org/
Well worth the drive into the beautiful mountains, located right near one of the state day parks – so bring a lunch, come on up and see the museum!
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