HOW THE HISTORIC PARISH HOUSEAND
MUSEUM CAME TO BE
The beautiful Arts and Crafts bungalow at 701 Charlotte Street, built in 1914 by Town Founders Harvey and Mary Parish, came up for sale by private party in 1998. The house, long thought of as "The Parish House," was quickly researched and found to indeed be the last house built by the couple.
The Johnstown Historical Society and the Town of Johnstown then began a cooperative effort to create a museum, and historic house to depict life in the early 1900s in this area.
The Town started the purchase process at Thanksgiving time 1998 and the Historical Society opened the doors for the first open house just a few weeks later. Because Johnstown had never had a museum before in her almost-100 years, the house was bare but full of promise.
Owned by the Town, the museum is run by the Historical Society. The office of the Historical Society is located at the museum. Maintenance of the buildings and grounds are shared by the Town and Historical Society.
In the summer of 2003, the main floor of the house was furnished in early 1900s antiques on loan from local antique dealers. The lower level of the house houses displays of agricultural history, the importance of the Great Western Sugar Factory here, a sealed time capsule, as well as other items of interest. A collection of composite graduation pictures of the classes of Johnstown and early Roosevelt High schools is growing. One display shows the items that pioneers brought west in their prairie schooners as they settled this land.
The Parish House has undergone some exterior restoration, during the summer of 2005. This included cedar shingles and replicated gutters, rebuilt stained glass windows on the front porch as well as replacement of some old, broken windows and repainting of the mortar. The house was given a much needed paint job, restoring it to the colors of paint that Harvey and Mary chose in 1914. The restoration was completed with grant funds from the State Historical Fund of the Colorado Historical Society as well as funding from the Town of Johnstown and the historical society.
The next step in restoration will be to update wiring and plumbing in the house, and to create an interpretive center for visitors in the current garage area.
Donations are always welcome to help restore the Historic Parish House and Museum and to make displays and programs at the museum possible. The Historical Society also gives educational programs in the community and tours of the museum.
Your contributions are welcome. (Printable Donation form) All contributions over $500 are recognized on a plaque at the Historic Parish House. Your donation will provide for future generations to learn about our heritage. Donations to the Johnstown Historical Society are tax deductible.