The Walls Talk: Historic House Museums of Colorado | Center for Colorado & the West at Auraria Library http://coloradowest.staging.auraria.edu/book-review/walls-talk-historic-house-museums-colorado[12/8/2015 12:33:44 PM] Home The Walls Talk: Historic House Museums of ColoradoThe Walls Talk: Historic House Museums of ColoradoSubmitted by jainlayconley on 12-20-2010 05:04 PMAuthor: Patricia Werner Publishing: Palmer Lake, CO: Filter Press, 2010. Photos, appendices, endnotes, index. xv + 223 pages. $16.95. Reviewer: Amy Zimmer Anyone traveling around Colorado who loves old homes should pick up a copy of The Walls Talk: Historic House Museums of Colorado to discover wonderful house museums in every part of the state. Some, like the Byers-Evans House (Denver), the Miramont Castle (Manitou Springs), or Rosemount (Pueblo), are famous and widely known to tourists and history buffs alike. Others, like the Hedlund House (Hugo), the Gully Homestead (Aurora), and the Underhill Museum (Idaho Springs) are much less well known. Yet each museum tells the story of its past inhabitants, which Werner reproduces enthusiastically here. As someone who has always loved to discover the lives lived in old houses, I was delighted to read in Werners preface, The house museums included in this book tell the stories of the families who lived in these dwellings. It was these stories that I wanted to bring to life. She has been successful in this endeavor throughout the book. The Walls Talk features thirty-seven museums throughout Colorado, from large mansions to tiny homesteads. Some had famous inhabitants, such as Jack Dempsey or Molly Brown; others were home to ordinary folks whose houses, farms, or ranches are among the few reminders of their more obscure lives. Yet, famous or not, Werner provides the same loving attention to each family, making all the stories in the book come alive. The book outshines so many other house books in that it tells many anecdotes of day-today living, going well beyond the basic birth dateoccupationdeath date biographical information that so many other old-house books limit themselves to. For instance, in the chapter on the Lula Myers Ranch House in Dillon, Colorado, Werner describes how Lula Myers liked driving an old red truck, which she sometimes drove into an irrigation ditch and had to be pulled out. Unfortunately, the book is poorly organized. The chapters are arranged alphabetically by the name of the museum. Sometimes the museums town or county is not mentioned until late in the chapter, leaving the reader wondering where the museum they are reading about is located. It would have flowed much better if it had been arranged by region. Further, as it turns out, by arranging alphabetically, the first couple of museums are in northern Colorado, then we jump down to Trinidad for the Baca House, then over to Breckenridge, then back to Trinidad for the Bloom House. It would have been a little less jarring to have, for instance, the Baca and Bloom Houses grouped together. Aside from this, the stories contained in this book are delightful and Werner has a sweet, engaging writing style. Unfortunately, she died before the book could be published, and her husband, James, took the completed manuscript to the publisher. I am sorry Werner was never able to see her book in its final form; I think she would have been pleased. I enthusiastically recommend it to anyone interested in Colorado EXPLORE BY MEDIABook Reviews Photographs Video Biographies New Publications Resource Guides County Newspaper HistoriesEXPLORE BY TOPICLand & Natural Resources Government & Law Agriculture Mining Commerce & Industry Transportation People & Places Communication Healthcare & Medicine Education & Libraries Cultural Communities Recreation & Entertainment Tourism ReligionEXPLORE BY CULTUREHispanic Native AmericanKatherine Lee Bates wrote the lyrics of America the Beautiful after an awe-inspiring trip to the top of Pikes Peak in 1893.
The Walls Talk: Historic House Museums of Colorado | Center for Colorado & the West at Auraria Library http://coloradowest.staging.auraria.edu/book-review/walls-talk-historic-house-museums-colorado[12/8/2015 12:33:44 PM] Auraria Library 303-556-4587 1100 Lawrence Street Denver, Colorado 80204 In the News Partners & Donations About Us Contact Us social and domestic history, historic houses, and museum tours. Reviewer Info: Amy Zimmer has an MA in history from the University of Colorado Denver. She is a historian focusing on Colorado history and architecture. She is the author of Denver's Capitol Hill Neighborhood (Arcadia Publishing, 2009) and co-author (with Dr. Tom Noel) of Showtime: Denver's Performing Arts, Convention Centers, and Theatre District (City and County of Denver, 2008). Add new comment