Three big guys from Keyboard Carriers arrived at 1:30 on Thursday to prep our J. M. Pelton square grand piano for a move from the Astor House Museum to the Golden History Center. Dating from 1860-1880, this 1600-pound mass of cherry and gumwood was one of the first major donations to the Astor House Museum in 1972, where it has remained ever since.
Back when Mr. and Mrs. Keith Simmons from Littleton donated the piano, Mrs. Simmons recalled that Colorado Territorial Governor John Evans bought the instrument around 1859 for his youngest daughter. She died later at age 15. The piano was later sold, only to reside in Central City until 1910, when it was purchased by Mrs. Simmon’s family.
This was back before Golden had a train, so the story goes that he had the piano shipped to Cheyenne by train, and then transported by wagon to Golden. Fortunately, the four piano legs are removable, allowing the cabinet to fit snugly into a wagon. Come full circle back to today–this is basically what we did. The legs were removed and it was carted this time in a truck by professional movers.
|Padding the piano at the Astor House Museum.|
|Removing one of the legs at the Astor House Museum.|
|Putting legs back on at the Golden History Center.|
This is only the beginning of this story. The piano is about to undergo a complete restoration of all of its musical components. It will have new strings, hammers, and more, thanks to the generous support of several longtime museum supporters. All of the work will be completed under the talented eye of Dan Holstein, owner of Dan’s Piano Service, who will sponsor our upcoming music exhibit showcasing the Pelton grand. When the exhibit is done, you might even get a chance to hear it make beautiful music. This yet-to-be-named exhibit will open June 3, 2011. Stay tuned, because next week Dan will be working in the Golden History Center’s gallery when he plans to began removing the strings.