By Sonja Lee The Daily Times-Call
ERIE – After eight years of resting on support beams, the building intended to house Erie’s historical treasures has finally moved on to a foundation.
In 1990 the house was raised and moved east a couple of lots to the future museum site. It has stayed there ever since. In 1997, the Wise Homestead House was designated a historic landmark by the Historic Preservation Commission in the town of Erie.
“We finally have the beams out, ” said Sarah Wise, director of the museum project. “We’re just pleased that it’s finally down.”
The museum will eventually house Erie’s historical memorabilia.
Wise donated the seven-bedroom house and her sister-in-law, Olive Wise, donated the four acres of land on Jasper Road for the museum.
The house had been sitting on support beams at the site several yards from where it was built in 1872.
A long beam must still be bought for the north end. And the cement floor has to be poured for the project. A support column is also needed below the south room where unfired brick is in the walls.
“There’s still a lot that needs to be done, ” Wise said. “And we will probably spend the rest of the summer firming up the foundation.”
The house remains on the Wise homestead. It was built by O.E. Wise, who passed it on to his son, J.O.V. Wise. The last person to live in the house was Sarah Wise’s aunt, Ada A. Wise. Since 1935 the house has been unoccupied.
While the house has been placed on a foundation, the interior remains cluttered with debris.
The Erie Historical Society has applied for grants from the Colorado State Historical Society to help with the renovation of the house.
“And with everything that is going on in and around Erie, we expect that we will be able to get some of the developers and builders to donate some items to us, ” said Pat Bundy, a board member with the Historical Society. “Everybody’s been pretty generous.”
The society also continues to collect photos and historical items to display in the museum. The main goal of the society is to preserve the town’s mining and agricultural history.
The society is also working to collect and catalog the history of early Erie residents.
It will take at least an estimated $50,000 to transform the homestead into a museum, she said.
A number of builders have volunteered to help rebuild the Wise Homestead Museum. And most reconstruction materials have been pledged for free or at a reduced cost.
Perpetual fund-raising events also keep the project moving along.
“It’s been slow, but we’re on our way, ” Wise said. “The biggest thing was to get it down on a foundation.”
The next fund-raiser for the project will be a vintage baseball game on July 17 at 10 a.m. Snack sales will go to the Historical Society. Town employees will be on the team that challenges the Vintage Baseball team. For more information call 303-828-4561.