By Patricia Calhoun, Westword | Colfax Avenue, the longest Main Street in America, has always encouraged movement. Jonny Barber first heard about Colfax Avenue while reading On the Road in high school in Salt Lake City. His first up-close-and-personal experience with the storied street came when he played the Lion’s Lair in 1995, about six years after he moved to Colorado. At that show, he fell in love with the strip.
As his first act of devotion, Barber launched http://www.colfaxavenue.com fourteen years ago, documenting tales of Colfax. In November 2017, he made his love much more concrete, opening the Colfax Museum in the Ed Moore Flower Shop on East Colfax. But not long after, Lydia Mary, who has been running the flower shop for close to four decades, decided to sell the property.
After that, Barber moved his museum and all of its fabulous collection dedicated to Colfax across town, into Lakewood’s 40 West Arts District, in the former Pasternack’s Pawn Shop building, home to Next gallery. But while Lakewood has lately secured many cultural institutions fleeing Denver, including Pirate, the Colfax Museum is no longer one of them. This week the museum “definitely closed its door for good in Lakewood,” Barber says.
In fact, he adds, “Colfax Museum is currently homeless.”
So is the Root40 MusicFest, the fundraising bash that Barber had planned to hold on June 29 behind the museum, with Americana star/Nashville legend Jim Lauderdale. “It was the event being thrown to raise the necessary money to keep us alive,” says Barber. “Donations are desperately needed at this time to ensure that the museum doesn’t disappear along with so much of Denver’s history.” (You can make a tax-deductible donation at http://www.thecolfaxmuseum.org.)
Barber has put all of the museum’s contents in storage while he figures out his next move. One thing is certain: The new destination will be somewhere on Colfax.
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Patricia Calhoun co-founded Westword in 1977; she’s been the editor ever since. She’s a regular on the weekly CPT12 roundtable Colorado Inside Out, played a real journalist in John Sayles’s Silver City, once interviewed President Bill Clinton while wearing flip-flops, and has been honored with numerous national awards for her columns and feature-writing.