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Wise Homestead Museum

The Wise Homestead dates back to 1869, when Oliver Wise, his wife Adaline, 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.

A walk through Wise Homestead Museum will give you a peek into the day-to-day lives of residents in Erie, in the late 1800s. 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 family farmhouse can be described as a Western Victorian and is now one of the oldest frame houses in Jasper Rd, Erie, CO. The original house had a kitchen, pantry, and three bedrooms. 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 1990s. 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. Generations later in 2007, the homestead was restored and reopened as a museum with the help of Sarah Wise. To keep it as authentic as possible, they renovated and maintained the homestead’s original interiors and exteriors. A tour through Wise Homestead Museum will take you back to a time when life was not as fast-paced as it is today.

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 can see the mud that was used to insulate the house and the animal hair used in the plaster. Also visible are samples of 1900s advertising that were revealed as the original wallpaper was removed.

Furthermore,  the museum hosts many special events throughout the year. These include holiday events, such as Candlelight Living History and Christmas at the Homestead. The Homestead also opens its doors for monthly Spiritual Sundays, in which a local church holds Sunday services onsite for the community to enjoy. 

Educating through projects like the Wise Homestead Museum helps to commemorate early homesteaders and through partnerships with community members. Even more, historic talks by local historians and lecturers provide a glimpse back in time and reveal remarkable stories about the people who settled in our region of Colorado.

The Wise Homestead Museum is currently open Saturday from May through September, 10 am to 2 pm, or year-round by appointment. 

Thus, if you’re looking for something fun and educational to do with your family or friends, be sure to visit the Wise Homestead Museum around Erie, CO. Not only will you learn about Colorado’s agricultural past, but you’ll also get an idea of what life was like for pioneers who settled this beautiful state long ago.

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