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A Leadville Landmark Gets A Major Facelift

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The Healy House (credit: CBS)

The Healy House (credit: CBS)

LEADVILLE, Colo. (CBS4) – When the nice weather finally comes to Leadville there is so much to do. They’ve got mountains, mining history and museums. And just recently the grand re-opening of the Healy House took place.

Ed Nichols, president of the Colorado Historical Society, was on hand to help cut the ribbon.

After extensive renovations to the Leadville landmark, the Healy House Museum is now ready for the public.

“The house was built in 1878 by a man named August Meyer,” museum director Maureen Scanlon said.

The house on the hill, overlooking downtown Leadville, was sold to Daniel Healy in 1885. His cousin, Nellie, soon came to town to teach at the 9th Street School. Together they operated the property for decades as a fashionable boarding house, renting rooms to professional people like teachers, merchants and railroad men. The museum went to great lengths to recreate patterns of original wallpaper that once adorned the home.

“We’re very excited. We think it’s really a great opportunity to show folks what life was like in early Leadville,” Scanlon said.

Tour guides lead visitors through the hallways, up the stairs and into the rooms of the historic home.

“Women were educated in instrument, they were educated in needle work, they were educated in reading,” tour guide Erin McCracken said. “They had a very different education than the men. The men usually went to mining school. They went to smelting, geography.”

Another dwelling, the Dexter cabin, is also part of the tour.

“I’ve had people just say ‘Oh’ when they go inside,” McCracken said “The floors are nothing but a sign of wealth. It’s very expensive to have the inlaid floors. The closet as well was a sign of wealth. One man living here a couple of weeks out of the year is not going to need a closet that big.”

Donna Cornella began doing tours there when she was in high school. She’s been helping out in fixing the place up.

“Broken jars, little baby toys; I mean, people lived here and we were finding, we were finding life, we were finding history,” Cornella said. “If I could just go to every room and just sit and have the walls talk to me, boy would I listen.”

Additional Resources

Find out about special programs, hours, admission fees and more at the Healy House Museum and Dexter cabin by giving them a call at (719) 486-0487. Or log on to historycolorado.org.

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