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Historical society museum closes for season on Sunday

By Shari Pierce
Special to The PREVIEW

Photo courtesy SJHSM It was more than 90 years ago when 9-year-old Ray Macht made a quilt that is on display at the historical society museum.  Ray was confined to the house with the measles. His mother, Lena, set him up with a project to make the quilt to keep him busy. The museum remains open through Sunday, when it closes for the season.

Photo courtesy SJHSM
It was more than 90 years ago when 9-year-old Ray Macht made a quilt that is on display at the historical society museum. Ray was confined to the house with the measles. His mother, Lena, set him up with a project to make the quilt to keep him busy. The museum remains open through Sunday, when it closes for the season.

The chill in the air signals the end of the season for the historical society museum. Last day to be open for this season is Sunday, Sept. 29.

You’ll want to be sure to stop in and take a last look at the special seasonal quilt display. Once this season is over, the quilts will be returned to their owners.

Among the special quilts on display this season were the comforters made by some of Pagosa Springs’ men — Art King and Ray Macht.

Art King was a local rancher who was also artistic and made exceptionally beautiful braided reins. It is likely that King made the comforter on display in the 1960s. Given the busy ranch lifestyle, this was probably a winter project for King. The comforter is on loan from Gloria Macht who classifies this as a “work quilt” — designed for warmth and used in bunkhouses and drafty homes. Macht tells us that, “Some would have found their way into chuck wagons and barns to bed down a newborn sheep or calf. Since they were not highly regarded or protected they seem to be rare.”

Another fun comforter is one made by Ray Macht about 1921. Ray was only about 9 years old and was confined to the house with the measles. His mother, Lena, set him up with a project to make this quilt to keep him busy. The museum is fortunate to have such a unique item on display. Folks, this comforter is over 90 years old and you can see it at the museum if you stop by before closing on Sunday.

Ray Macht was a grandson of Victoria Macht, who, as a widow, brought her children over the San Juans to Pagosa Springs in the 1870s. She settled here and homesteaded, as did her children. Generations later, many of the Machts still remain in the area. The Macht family has a strong family tradition of service to the community and their contributions to our area’s history are numerous.

On the subject of males and their contributions to textiles — the museum is fortunate to have on display Chuck’s Little Red Wagon Comforter. As a youth in Denver, Chuck (John Charles) Jordan would take his little wagon and go down the alley to the upholstery shop and collect fabrics that had been tossed out. His Grandmother Jordan made these into the heavy comforter for him. She made one of these for everyone in the family. These were made on a treadle sewing machine.

This is a wonderful piece of American history, showing the variety of upholstery fabrics used during that era  — most of these likely coming from the 1930s and 1940s.

There is no way one would be cold when covered with this heavy comforter!

Chuck’s wife, Judy, loaned the comforter for this display.

You won’t want to miss the Wild in Bloom quilt made by Judy Jordan. This quilt has been a favorite among museum visitors this summer. It features horses and former Pagosa Springs’ resident Claire Goldrick designed the fabric used in the quilt. You’ll find this exhibited in the Farming and Ranching display at the museum.

Dresden Plate, La Moyne Star, Dotty’s Butterflies, Scotty Dog Quilt, Colorado the Beautiful, Many Hands Quilt, Women on My Mother’s Side of the Family and the list goes on. You won’t want to miss these delightful and varying quilts. Be sure to visit before 5 p.m. on Sunday.

Not really into textiles and quilts? Well the museum is still a great place to go. View the numerous displays of farming and ranching equipment outside, and then come inside. You will be amazed at the quantity and quality of displays inside.

A beautiful surveyor’s transit, which belonged to Reef Egger; Henry Born’s outboard motor; an ornate cash register from the Hatcher Mercantile; Robert Oppenheimer’s desk chair; Henry Gordon’s saddle, metal art by Worthe Crouse and just a very few of the hundreds of items on display.

There is no charge to visit to Pagosa Springs’ own history museum, but donations are greatly appreciated to help the society offset the costs of operating the museum.

Operating expenses include utilities, insurance, payroll and general upkeep and maintenance.

The museum also houses a gift shop with a wide variety of merchandise. Very popular are books featuring local and regional history.

The historical society has also published its own series of history books titled “Remembrances.” This is a 13-volume set with topics such as The Silver San Juan, Unlucky Days, Living in God’s Country, Voices from the Past. The volumes were produced as a fund-raiser for the society.

Another project is the historical playing cards – a deck of playing cards featuring historic photos sponsored by local businesses. These cards make would make a great souvenir or gift.

Locally handcrafted items are offered for sale along with items selected especially with museum visitors in mind.

The museum is located at 96 Pagosa St., next to the bridge at the eastern edge of town. Hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.

Please plan a visit to the museum before this season ends. From what our visitors tell us, you’ll be glad you did.

This story was posted on September 26, 2013.