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Town of Superior historical commissioners hoping to reopen, rebuild old history museum

The Town of Superior's history museum burned down in the Marshall Fire. While details are still being worked out, commissioners hope to reopen and possibly rebuild.

SUPERIOR, Colo. — As Larry Dorsey approaches what remains of the Town of Superior's history museum, he lets out a deep breath. 

“Some town personnel let us know that it was gone," Dorsey recalled. 

As the town's chairperson of the historical commission, Dorsey knew the history that burned along with the building on the day of the Marshall Fire. 

“This was a small town of coal miners and farmers…it didn’t have a lot of preservation before this," he said. 

Joined by fellow commissioner Errol "Wally" Waligorski, they recall the memories made as they played a pivotal role in the formation of the museum itself. 

"And we made a lot of friends down in here and they’ve lost everything so it’s just tough all the way around," Waligorski said. 

Credit: Luis de Leon
What remains of the Town of Superior's History Museum after it burned down in the Marshall Fire.

Dorsey and Waligorski estimate that the home was built in 1908. 

Superior they say, holds a rich history of miners and agriculture workers. 

The home was part of the "mine camp" and housed miners.

When they started using the home as a museum, they included all sorts of artifacts and family heirlooms from the past century to help show the town of Superior's history. 

“It was a link to the past but it was also a link to the people from the era," Waligorski said. 

They shared memories of school children going on field trips to the museum, being able to enjoy an education room with a full living room and kitchen filled with old kitchenware from historic homes around town, including a kitchen table dated back to the 1890s. 

Credit: Photo Courtesy of Larry Dorsey
An old miner's uniform sits in a room that once stood in the old Superior History Museum.

“This allows people to both see and understand what the miners lived in when it was sitting over on the actual mine site," Dorsey said. 

On July 18, the foundation of the museum will finally have its debris cleanup. 

In the meantime, Dorsey and Waligorski say they plan to house a temporary museum at a historic home just a few blocks away from where the museum once stood. 

While many details still need to be worked out, they hope to one day be able to rebuild a replica of the historic museum, right on the site where it once stood.

“The prospect of all the old houses replaced by new houses…its going to be a whole different world and that link is gone," Dorsey said. 

So far, they say they've received several donations of artifacts and monetary donations to help rebuild the inventory of the museum, but are also willing to look at anyone's heirlooms or artifacts they may have from Superior, to be considered for being put on display. 

While the rebuild of the replica remains hopeful, Waligorski says that mentality is what will carry them through. 

"So we have to believe in what we’re doing, and believe we’re going to make it work," he said. 

Credit: Photo courtesy of Larry Dorsey
What the old historical museum once looked like.

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