Goals. Gotta love ‘em.
Volunteers in the Johnson Cabin and the Old Sod House have been working steadily toward the goal of bringing both museums in line to illustrate the Century-long Story theme the Historical Society adopted in 2021. The Cabin is around 95 percent done, reports Priscilla Marshall, Director of Collections. The remaining five percent amounts to tweaks in the Cabin’s contents, like deciding which antique quilt best reflects a family’s rugged trip to Colorado Territory from established society back east, reflecting the backstory of hard decisions made concerning what gets brought and what gets left behind.
The cabin also now features a one-legged bed built by a handy volunteer member and is complete with a straw tick mattress sewn by another member. Theoretically, such a bed could be folded up against the wall when the need for added floor space arose. (Tick, in this case, refers to the fabric used for mattresses, a tightly woven cotton with navy blue and white stripes.)
Details that seem insignificant to some matter greatly in scenarios used during tours. Even the size of the coffee pot on display has undergone careful consideration. The small “single-serve” pot would have been appropriate for a single man traveling on horseback and settling at this destination, says Marshall, but a woman sharing the home would have furnished it with a larger pot. In the corner stands the pot that would have served company or neighbors come to share the work at a barn-raising.
The Soddy also features new beds with the same straw tick mattresses; the two beds will accommodate six feather tick pillows, two for the adults’ bed and four on the children’s bed, two at the top and two at the bottom with the quilt placed through the middle. Hard now to imagine what was common then: kids sleeping with siblings’ feet on either side of their heads. It probably made the Saturday night bath even more important. One wonders how many bloody noses resulted from a kick during a bad dream.
At the opposite end of the goal continuum lies the ability to make quick decisions and revise goals that demand to be met immediately, even if it takes a gargantuan effort. This rang true in the Old Post Office recently where it was discovered that a decades-dormant water spot in a corner of the ceiling was dormant no more. The winter’s heavy snows and winds, along with a cache of pine needles from an adjacent tree, allowed water to penetrate the roof. Not an overly complicated fix – until it was discovered that water had also leaked on the inside of the wall to the floor where it leached upward and infected two of the filing cabinets located there.
Volunteers are now in the process of emptying the remaining file cabinets along that wall and moving all files out of the building and two blocks south to the Baugh House where there is room to sort and curate the files while city workers patch and paint the Post Office.