Huerfano County, Colorado
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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
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
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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