Huerfano County, Colorado
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Dishes Donated

Dishes Donated - Huerfano World - July 18, 2002
Contributed by Louise Adams

Donor - Thomas P. Mason Jr. and Walsenburg Mining Museum board president Lois Holbrook exclaim over the two-foot long fish platter, one of 121 Haviland china dishes believed to have belonged at one time to Fred G. Walsen. Mason and his father donated the dishes to the museum.

To carry out the wishes of two women before they died, two men drove some 1200 miles in bringing 121 dishes belonging Fred G. Walsen to the Walsen Mining Museum last week.

The Haviland china, made and decorated in Limoges, France, has a W impressed on the back, and may have been made especially for the Walsens, probably between 1868 and 1883. The shape of the pieces, which originally consisted of 130 pieces, is in the 'Napkin Fold' form. The decoration is a transfer pinks floral pattern scattered randomly across the surface.

The largest piece in this service for 12 is more than two feet long, a fish platter.

Margaret Schaffer Cradit bought the dishes in 1945 from a Denver dealer, W.T. Scott and Son Antique Store, 1614 Broadway, Denver. Margaret and her daughter, Elizabeth Rose Cradit Mason, asked that the set be brought to Walsenburg. Both women are deceased now.

Elizabeth Rose's widower, Thomas P. Mason Junior, of Cool, CA, rented a trailer to bring the carefully packed dishes to Walsenburg June 9. Only a few pieces will be on display in the museum at any time. Walsen was the first mayor of Walsenburg, founded the first bank and was engaged in many business enterprises within the county and elsewhere. From 1882 to 1884 Walsen was treasurer of the state of Colorado and built a fine home on Grand Avenue, Denver. This may have been when the Walsen family acquired the dishes.

Also recently donated to the museum is the very heavy, although small, safe with Fred G. Walsen lettered in gilt across the top. Betty Dick Ridge donated the safe, one that her father, George Dick, and Fred Walsen used in their mine partnership.

Thanks to Bill Duran Construction crew and Scott Davis with his front-end loader, the safe was moved to the museum in June.

Plans are underway for an open house and old-fashioned ice ream social Friday evening, August 23, 2002, at the museum, but visitors to the museum are welcome any time 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays and 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays. There is a $2 admission charge for adults. The museum now is able to copy your historical black and white photos on the spot for museum use.

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