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Site of the precursor to the Golden History Museum – enlarge - Click to enlarge

88 Years Ago
The June 18, 1936 Colorado Transcript described the first hint of an idea that eventually became the Golden History Museum.

The City had recently celebrated its 77th anniversary. They held a parade, as they did most years. Radio station KOA did a special broadcast airing tales of Golden history and featuring oldtime fiddling.

The local chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution spearheaded a unique celebration that year. They went all over town, persuading people to get their pioneer-era possessions out of storage and put them on display in the windows of the downtown shops.

People showed off old photographs, ox yokes, 1860-era dresses, Civil War uniforms, a side saddle, an award made to the Golden Fire Department in 1879, a stage coach shotgun used on the Kansas City to Golden route in the 1860s, a brick made in Golden in the 1860s, a baby buggy used in Golden in the 1860s, and on, and on….

The display was so popular that the citizens collectively decided that we should have a permanent museum.

“The last time we moved I burnt up a lot of old photographs and things.” “I gave away a cartload of this junk to the Salvation Army.” “I just had to have the room so over the dump it went.” Such remarks as these heard on the street Friday convinces one that unless something is done to preserve these heirlooms from a grand and glorious past many valuable articles will be lost and gone forever.

With this in mind, the local chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution…is being urged to start a museum in Golden.
Colorado Transcript – June 18, 1936

The work of soliciting artifacts and looking for a suitable (fireproof) home for a museum proceeded over the next year. At that point in the Depression, the Works Progress Administration was running full-force, and civic leaders were able to secure grant funding to get the museum up and running.

The museum was subject to availability of Federal funds, so staffing and open hours waxed and waned over the next few years. When World War II began, the museum closed for the duration. By the time the War ended, the WPA had faded away.

This diorama, still on display at the Golden History Museum, was built by WPA workers.

This is when the Daughters of the American Revolution stepped in again. They offered to re-open and operate the museum. They ran it for more than half a century—from 1953 until 2007—when the City took over museum operations.

It all started 88 years ago, on Washington Avenue!

Thanks to the Golden History Museum for providing the online cache of historic Transcripts, and to the Golden Transcript for documenting our history since 1866!