Photo and text by Will Grandbois
Sopris Sun Staff
The Historic Thompson House will soon be getting a new furnace thanks to a grant from the Community Office for Resource Efficiency (CORE), but its historic counterpart will stay in place so that Lew Ron Thompson can tell its story.
Thompson grew up in the house before it was set aside, along with its original contents, as a museum owned by the town and run by the Mount Sopris Historical Society. As such, he’s well acquainted with the coal fired furnace in a little hand dug room beneath the house, as well as the pipe and radiator system that runs on convection instead of electric pumps.
“In a lot of ways, we’ve kinda come a long way backwards,” he observed. “It took a lot of attention, but back in those days you didn’t have much else to do in the winter.”
The CORE grant is just one of several supporting an array of renovations on the house, with funds coming from the State Historical Fund, Federal Mineral Lease District, Garfield County and the Aspen Thrift Store. The goal is to have the house ship shape and ready for more tours next year. In some ways, that’s when the hard work begins: securing funding to keep the doors open long term. The 1A ballot initiative might provide just the ticket, but while Carbondale’s Board of Trustees has already endorsed the measure, the final decision will be up to the voters.