The Wise Homestead dates back to 1869, when Oliver Wise, his wife Adaline (Ada), and their three children came across the plains from Wisconsin to settle in Colorado. Oliver built a small log cabin and began to farm the land. In 1870, he was granted a U.S. Homestead Patent on the property and began building a permanent farmhouse.
The family farmhouse can be described as a Western Victorian and is now one of the oldest frame houses in Boulder county. The original house had a kitchen, pantry and three bedrooms (two upstairs). To alleviate Ada’s asthma symptoms, Oliver filled the outside walls with mud to insulate the house.
Sarah Wise, great-granddaughter of Oliver Wise and longtime Erie resident, became involved in the Erie Historical Society in the early 1990’s. It had been her dream for many years to honor her family’s heritage by turning the house into a museum. With Sarah’s help, the Erie Historical Society received a grant from the Colorado Historical Society for the restoration of the original farmhouse’s exterior. Eventually, the restoration of the home’s interior was also funded and completed. The Wise Homestead museum opened to the public in July 2007.
The museum highlights many of the home’s original features. The wood floors are a “rugged” precursor to today’s hardwood floors. Through unique “windows to the past,” visitors are able to see the mud that was used to insulate the house and the animal hair used in the plaster. Also visible are samples of 1900’s advertising that were revealed as the original wallpaper was removed.
The wallpaper, painstakingly replicated to match the original design, contains real flecks of mica that create an illuminating effect. The paper on the walls, ceilings, and borders of three different rooms was professionally recreated, and the material was cut by hand.
The Wise Homestead is currently open Saturdays (May through September) from 10am to 2pm and by appointment. To schedule a visit, please call Alan at 303-489-7309. For more information about the museum or the Erie Historical Society please call 303-828-4561
Location of Museum:
Get Directions from Google maps
From Denver: Take I-25 North to the Lafayette exit #229.
Go west on Highway 7 to 119th Street
Go north to Jasper Rd
Turn west to the museum. Located on the right hand side.