Friday, February 9, 2018

Dougherty Musem

Despite being just a few miles from where I live, and passing it everyday for twenty years, I had never visited the Dougherty Museum just south of Longmont.  Finally in August of last year (2017), I went inside.

Ray G. Dougherty was a Boulder County poultry farmer and began collecting musical keyboard instruments like organs and the pianos in the late 1920s, along with audio equipment (phonographs, radios, etc.).  In the 40s, he and his wife's interests expanded to vintage cars and farm equipment, with their first acquisition being a 1913  Ford Model T.  As their collection grew, it was stashed but safely preserved, in various storage sheds on their property.  In the 1970s, the Dougherty family decided that their collections had public interest and built a 29,000 square foot building to house a museum.  Ray died in 1988 but the museum continues to this day as a private foundation and is open part of the year in the summer months, June through August.

This is just a sampling of what's inside.  I liked seeing the history of these well-preserved vehicles, including from some manufacturers that I had never heard of.

First, a 1924 "Silver Ghost" Rolls Royce.  6000 of these were made, all hand-built.

One of the oldest bicycles in Longmont, an 1896 Cleveland.  Dougherty was way ahead of his time in collecting vintage stuff and some were even questioning his judgement. I kind of wish he had snapped up more of the early bicycles.

One of the many musical instruments in the Dougherty museum, this one an amazing 1895 foot pump Pianola player-piano, with me at the helm!  It's taken a lot of precision volunteer hours to keep these operating.

The Dougherty's found this 1918 Cadillac Model 57 in a Boulder garage. 

1917 Studebaker, originally owned by the John W. Goss family of Hygiene, Colorado:

Lozier was a short lived Detroit turn-of-the-century car company, started by a bicycle builder.  This 1913 model was made a year before they shut down.

A reminder that electric cars are not a new thing, here's a early 1900's Detroit Electric 84-Volt coupe, top speed 25 mph.  List price was $3300. 

1919 Locomobile, a Connecticut car company, known as the staff car of General Pershing during WWI.

1908 Packard Model 30, found in Basalt, Colorado.

Just one of the many tractors and farm implements at the museum, a 1936 Fordson, manufactured in Dagenhem, UK by Ford and originally purchased by Philip Travarton in 1936 from Cleveland Motors, Longmont.

Speaking of tractors, you can double up on visiting the museum and seeing vintage tractors outside by attending the Yesteryear Farm Show on the Dougherty property, usually at the end of August each year.  That's what I did.   Vintage tractors used to be on display at the annual Boulder County Fair but they now gather at Dougherty instead. The farm show is free and admission to the museum is $5, $3 for kids.

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