After three hours at the Denver Zoo I uber’ed over to the Molly Brown House in hopes of catching the next tour. Unfortunately it was sold out but luckily the next one 30 minutes later was not. I don’t really recall learning much about Molly Brown in school so my knowledge about her stemmed from Kathy Bate’s portrayal of her in the movie Titanic in 1997. She seemed headstrong and progressive in that movie so I thought I might like the actual historical figure, too.
The first thing our tour guide told us was that no one EVER called her “Molly.” They think that nickname started when movies started being made about her life. Our tour guide said that and I was like, “Oh, well, better change the name outside then.”
Anyway, the tours start on the deck of the Victorian mansion that the Brown’s bought in 1894 for $30,000. Our tour guide told us the backstory on Margaret, how she moved with her siblings to Leadville, Colorado and married JJ Abrams for love, even though he was poor, and they had two children. The Brown’s became rich in 1893 when JJ’s engineering skills were rewarded with 12,500 shares of his employer’s stock shares and a year later they moved to Denver because there would be greater social opportunities there.
Margaret became a charter member of the Denver Women’s Club, a club whose mission it was to improve the lives of women. She was extremely ahead of her time as far as women’s rights go. She also worked to found the first juvenile court with Judge Ben Lindsey.
She wasn’t originally supposed to be on the Titanic, but when she received word that her oldest grandchild’s health was declining she did whatever she had to do to get from where she was traveling (in Egypt) to Denver. She helped passengers board life boats before boarding one herself. She also allegedly threatened to throw the lifeboat’s crew member overboard if he refused to go back and help survivors. She later started a fund for survivors of the terrible accident.
So I think we can all agree: She was pretty badass.
The tour throughout her house started downstairs and went to the second floor. The third floor was closed but it was a big parlor room where they’d host parties, etc. Some of the furnishings weren’t originally but all of the stain glass windows were as was an atrium ceiling on the first floor dining room. (In these photos you’ll see Halloween decorations because it was the weekend before Halloween and apparently they have Halloween events in there, too, but you can ignore those!)
The Molly Brown House is located at 1340 Pennsylvania Avenue in Denver Colorado. There are tours that start every 30 minutes and admission for adults is $12. For more information you can check out their site.