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Brown-nosing through the Molly Brown House in Denver


The Molly Brown House Museum in Denver, Colorado          Photo Credit: Suzy Guese

Grandiosely seated in Denver’s Capitol Hill neighborhood, the home of the “unsinkable” Molly Brown has weathered more than icebergs in its long Denver history. It housed the supposed forceful and obstinate woman Margaret Tobin Brown.

Margaret Tobin Brown, born in 1867, moved from Missouri to Leadville, Colorado where she met and married J.J. Brown, a mining engineer with little fortune. It was not until J.J. discovered the Little Johnny Mine that Molly and her husband’s luck turned, making the Browns instant millionaires.

Shortly there after, Molly and J.J. moved to the “big city” of Denver in 1894, purchasing the home on Pennsylvania that today is a museum to the famous Brown. The three-story home reflects the Victorian Era throughout Denver. After various occupants post Brown’s death, including at one point the governor, Historic Denver Inc. purchased the home in the 1970s.

Today, Denverites and out-of-towners can join tours daily of the home, beginning on the hour and half hour, Tuesday-Saturday 10-4 and Sunday 12-4. Tickets cost $8 for adults, $6 for seniors, and $4 for children.

For Halloween, the Molly Brown House Museum may go a little overboard with the theme. Tour guides wear black Victorian dresses complete with pointy witch hats. If you are the only one on the tour, trying to take someone seriously in a witch hat may either produce a few giggles, or truly add to the experience.

Some say J.J. Brown haunts the home, with staff and guests rumored to smell cigar smoke, one of J.J.’s vices. Supposedly Molly has been seen in her room that she surprisingly did not share with her husband. One reason for this may be timeliness, but the two did quietly separate in 1909.

Molly Brown truly became a household name for her trip on the Titanic in 1912. Thrown four feet down into lifeboat #6, Brown would surrive and even labled herself with an eternal adjective. She told reporters she survived saying, “Typical Brown luck. We’re unsinkable.”

The tour only briefly touches base on what Molly was most famous for, her unsinkability. A few framed photographs line the hallway of the home, one of which an insurance claim of lost items on the Titanic by Brown. One item Brown may have stretched the truth on, a $20,000 necklace that the tour guide dramatically repeated, “we will never know” as to what the necklace looked like. We may never know either because it is at the bottom of the Atlantic or Molly wanted to collect a few.

Either way, if you proudly stick a Denver native sticker to your car and have never visited the home of one of Denver’s most infamous residents, a visit to the Molly Brown home is worth traversing for the replicationed rooms and hokey aspects or for the history for those that can look beyond the tour guide’s witch hat.

For more information, visit the Molly Brown House Museum website

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