The Molly Brown Museum is set to be back in black

Historic Denver’s flagship building, the Molly Brown Museum, is set to be painted black in honor of its original look in the late 19th century.
3 min. read
Stone lions outside the Molly Brown House, Capitol Hill. March 27, 2018. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

The Molly Brown House, Capitol Hill, March 27, 2018. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Historic Denver’s flagship building, the Molly Brown Museum, is set to be painted black in honor of its original look in the late 19th century.

The paint job will mark the final phase in a more than $1 million restoration project at the museum.

The building is a testament to Margaret "Molly" Brown’s legacy in Denver of accumulating wealth during the gold rush and becoming an integral part of the women’s suffrage movement as well as other social justice movements of her time. In between pursing her philanthropic work, Brown also famously survived the sinking of the Titanic because she was, as she said, "unsinkable."

“Her activism and civic pride are part of what made Denver the great city it is it today,” said Andrea Malcomb, director of the Molly Brown Museum. “She is representative of the Western spirit and Western work ethic. She believed that it's our responsibility to take care of each of other as humans.”

On the more literal side, Brown's home itself is a product of Colorado's history. Malcomb noted that the building’s sandstone is actually from Manitou Springs and its rhyolite stones are from Colorado Springs.

Through some investigative work using photos of the building from the 1890s up until today, historians were able to determine that the original color on the building was a black hue with greenish undertones, which was a trendy color for homes during that time.

Historic Denver encourages the general public to come by and take a look at the repainting of the building as crews put the finishing touches on the restoration work. The other projects included things like refurbishing the masonry on the front porch and the restoration of a stained glass window. Danielle Dascalos, the public relations liaison for Historic Denver, was especially excited that the basement had been reworked to become accessible and now features an exhibit.

The home also played a significant role in the beginnings of Historic Denver. By the late '60s, the beautiful Victorian home that had previously housed Brown had become dilapidated and was in danger of being destroyed. The potential demolition of the building is actually what triggered people in 1970 to get together and incorporate an organization dedicated to protecting historic landmarks in the city: Historic Denver Inc.

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