In Erie, Colorado, there is a Western Victorian farmhouse, one of the oldest in the county. The story of the Wise homestead begins in 1869, when Wisconsinite Oliver Wise traveled to Colorado to begin a new life. He was accompanied by his wife Ada and their three children. They lived in a log cabin, farming the land. In 1870, the Wise family received a U.S. Homestead Patent for the property and built a permanent farmhouse.
Because Ada had asthma, Oliver took special care to insulate the home from the outside. Exposed areas in the walls show the mud and sticks that he used to insulate the building. Such rustic construction material did not preclude elegance, however. If you visit, pay close attention to the wallpaper, which has mica embedded in it to reflect light. This wallpaper is actually a reproduction, professionally recreated during the restoration of the home.
Restoration of the Wise Homestead began in the 1990s, spearheaded by Sarah Wise, great-granddaughter of the original homesteaders. Working with the Erie Historical Society and aided by a grant from the Colorado Historical Society, the restoration took many years. Finally, in 2007, the doors of the Wise Homestead Museum were opened to the public, offering visitors a free and immersive experience of the past.
Know Before You Go
The museum is open May through September on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., or by appointment. Parking is available onsite.