The Upper Historical Museum burned down in the Marshall Fire. It plans to reopen – and with a new set of artifacts


Six months after the fire, commission members hope to build a replica of the house on the museum site, they said. They don’t know when it will start or how much it will cost, but they have appealed for donations of artifacts and other items closely related to the history of Superior and surrounding areas.

In the meantime, the commission will move the museum to another location with historical roots: the bungalow of Frank Grasso, a Polish immigrant who settled in the area and delivered milk to locals in the early 20th century.

Miguel Otarola/CPR News
The Superior History Museum is moving into Frank Grasso’s bungalow, six months after the Marshall Fire tore through its original location.

“The city…saw the importance of the historic committee that needed a space,” said Lydia Yecke, the city’s recreation coordinator. “We don’t know how long it will take to rebuild a replica, so they need space for their newly donated artifacts.”

The remains of some of the original artifacts are still strewn around the charred site of the museum. The commission wants to salvage and display as many artifacts as possible and display them in a new exhibit about the Marshall Fire, the most destructive in Colorado’s history, Yecke said.

Items include a cream separator in the basement that survived the fire and a burned school desk chair that Yecke pulled from the rubble. Collecting new artifacts will be a challenge, Waligorski said, one the historical commission already went through when the first museum opened in 2010.

The remains of the Upper History Museum, six months after the Marshall fire which devastated it.

“It’s important to us to allow people — especially when new people move in — to see where the roots of the town of Superior began and preserve as much of it as possible,” he said. .

The commission began receiving requests for donations, including from Renee Lewellyn in Broomfield. She is a descendant of the Varra family, Italian immigrants who settled in the region.

Lewellyn said it was important for her to remember the story. The area around her property, where she houses horses, has grown significantly over the years. Her 20-year-old son died of an asthma attack in 2020. Marshall’s fire, she said, is another loss that must be preserved.

Renee Lewellyn with desk chairs her mother had acquired at a school in a nearby mining town.

“It means a lot to me: the history of this region, the family, the people,” she said. “And fire is history. It’s a big part of our history now.

Her mother had acquired items from a school in a nearby mining town, including children’s textbooks and mining lamps.

Two school desk chairs sit in his garage, warped and rusted from the elements. Lewellyn said she hopes to repair them and donate them to the museum.

More stories about the aftermath of the Marshall fire:

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Patrick F. Williams