By Jason Hickman
Camera Staff Writer

ERIE - After years of hanging in suspense, the future Wise Homestead Museum will soon rest solidly on the ground.

The 91-year-old farmhouse has been propped up on beams on the north side of Jasper Road in Erie while Sara Wise, whose ancestors owned the 4-acre parcel and built the house, has teamed up with Erie Historical Society members to raise money to renovate it and fill it with artifacts of the small town's past.

Recently, more than just Erie history buffs have helped.

Passersby who glance at the weathered home will see more than $800 in cinder blocks donated by the Lyons-based St. Vrain Block Co. When workers from the Raimo Construction Co., also from Lyons, finish replacing the rotted wood beneath the floor and some weakened support beams, Kevin McCurdy, owner of Boulder's Big Horn Masonry and Chimney, will use the cinder blocks to lay the foundation.

"(The house) has been on those beams for four or five years, so it'll be happy to come down," Wise said.

Like the old photographs, newspaper clippings and mining and agricultural artifacts now sitting in area garages waiting for display, the materials and work are being given freely to the museum effort.

Wise, who with the historical society has been busy writing grants and working at fund-raisers, said the help is a welcome surprise. When the house is settled in - possibly by Thanksgiving - work on the inside can begin. The first task will be renovating the side of the building now facing south, which will be used for storage while the rest of the interior is shaped up.

Soon after, historical society members will have the welcome challenge of deciding how to express Erie's history.

One aspect of the past certain to be included is the town's mining heritage.

"Agriculture was here first, but coal mining was the big industry starting in 1860," said Jim Hutchison, who for years has delved into the evolution of Boulder County's mining industry and will be the historical society's guest at its Oct. 21 meeting in Town Hall.

Lafayette has a museum dedicated to mining and Louisville's historical museum pays great homage to the role the industry played in the beginnings of the city. Erie's history, Hutchison said, is no less centered around the mines that tapped the Northern Colorado Coal Field.

Originally published  , republished courtesy Daily Camera