Sunday, August 2, 2015

Where Are My Guests?

Back in 1880 a strong and determined, newly divorced young woman from Missouri, headed to this booming mining town, high in the Colorado mountains....with two small children in tow..
Josephine with here first husband.
Someone once stated that she was the prettiest young woman who had ever moved to this town. I won't go in to Josephine's whole life, but she did face many struggles. Losing both children to illness, and her second husband, who was the newspaper editor, abandoning her.
Josephine later in her life
Josephine was arguable also the  best cook in this mining town. She cooked in a restaurant, a hotel, a boarding house,and several mines, before marrying her third husband, a wealthy rancher, mine owner, and stage line operator. He was also named Inspector General of Colorado in 1898, which took them to Denver for a few years, before moving back to Lake City in 1904
and building this home, which at the time was quite a showplace (and on our home tour this weekend).
Josephine finally had a place to properly entertain her guests. The home had thick Turkish carpets, Haviland china and crystal glasses.
New owners are presently remodeling the place, and found several layers of wallpaper, before coming to this, which was probably Josephine's paper. It covered the dining room and parlor.

The original staircase remains, although the new owner is not sure how old the worn stair carpet is.

A close up reveals it's many colors.

Before entering the homes, on tour, the president of our Historical Society, and who is also our newspaper editor, tells us the history of these homes. Born and raised here himself, he is one of the best storytellers that I have ever met. Note the captivated audience.
Back in 1918, when Josephine was 62, the Swine and Spanish Flus were ravaging  across the world. ..Millions died, and Lake City ,Co was not spared. 
No one is sure when, but Josephine, the quintessential party planner, planned her own funeral. What she would wear, where in the house she should lie in state, the menu, the minister and even the invitation list. As fate would have it, Josephine did contract the flu, and died, but the town was under quarantine and no public gatherings allowed. Josephine was laid to rest  in the City Cemetery, with only the minister in attendance. Let's hope it was the right one. 
It is widely believed, among those who believe in ghosts, that Josephine is still roaming this house, looking for her guests.

* research for parts of this article were done using:
 An Official Guide to Vintage Residences in Lake City Historical District, by Grant Houston.
Pioneer Women of Lake City, by D. Watson


  1. She was obviously a very strong women to cope with so many difficulties throughout her life, and it was very unusual to be divorced in the late C19th.
    I can see that your narrated has you all enthralled and held in the palm of his hand.

  2. Sounds like a very interesting story--and a neat place to tour.

  3. I like those stories with the illustrations to it. When I see such a picture as the first one it make me sad to read what was going to happen tho them, losing two children,

  4. Hi, Janey! I have been reading your wonderful blog for some time. You mention a house tour. Did you visit the Hough house? I would love to see pictures of the inside of this home, since John and Mary Hough (the original builders/owners) were my great-great-grandparents. I love your blog, because I am interested in all things Lake City!

    1. We have toured that house. I think it is on the corner of Gunnison Ave. and Fifth Street. It is gray trimmed in white with a bay window. it hasn't changed much.Sorry I don't have pictures. Gee he also built the bank!

  5. What a remarkable woman, and too bad that she could not go out in style as she planned. "The best laid plans…"