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The Eagle County Historical Society (ECHS) is joining forces with Bonfire Brewing on Sunday, Jan. 26 for a history happy hour at the taproom located at 127 W. 2nd St. in Eagle from 4:30 to 6 p.m. One dollar of each beer sold will benefit the “Raise the Roof” campaign, which is seeking less than $15,000 to achieve the final funds needed for a new roof and other repairs to the Society’s museum, housed in the beloved 120-year old Chambers Dairy Barn in Eagle.
“We’ve been working incredibly hard the last several years raising and setting aside funds for capital projects and we’re extremely grateful for every contribution to date, but this particular project needs extra support,” said Kathy Heicher, ECHS president. “We’re looking forward to sharing fun tales of historical mischief-makers like the Red Cliff “Munchers” and bringing to life the history of Eagle County for the community and visitors over some of Bonfire’s best brews.”
The shake shingle roof on the museum dates to 1986. The ECHS has determined that a metal roof will be the most effective, long-term solution in maintaining the structure. The building exterior needs a fresh coat of paint and some minor repairs.
If the fundraising goal is reached, the new museum roof will be installed and additional repairs made this year. Heicher is thrilled with the community’s generosity over the holidays and is excited to be so close to their fundraising goal.
Heicher leads the ECHS in educating residents and visitors about Eagle County’s rich history. The society approaches this through a number of outreach efforts including cemetery tours, history hikes, educational programs, and preservation of historic buildings and landscapes. The extensive history archives, housed at the Eagle Public Library, and the museum serve thousands of locals and visitors annually.
“Our motivation at Bonfire Brewing is not just to craft outstanding beer, but to bring the community together through beer,” said Andy Jessen, co-founder of Bonfire Brewing. “We are proud to support the Eagle County Historical Society in preserving an important piece of our community. After all, maybe some of Bonfire’s history will be preserved by the Society and on display at the museum someday!”
The Chambers Dairy Barn, built in 1899, was acquired from a local rancher in 1980. Historical Society founders spent four years raising money and assessing the logistics of moving the dilapidated structure to a public park in Eagle. Volunteers worked another seven years to transform the rickety building into a habitable, workable museum. The museum opened in June of 1991, featuring exhibits that tell the history of Eagle County from the time of Ute habitation to the development of the Vail ski resort.
Vail resident Charlyn Canada helped establish the museum and recalls the founders who saved and organized photos, documents and artifacts and collected stories with the intent of preserving the county’s history for future generations.
“The Eagle County History Museum stands as a testament of appreciation for the hardy souls who worked through the decades to keep the communities along the Eagle River advancing with the times. Eagle County’s record is unique in time and place, and it is important,” said Canada.
Supporters who are unable to join History Happy Hour at Bonfire Brewing can donate anytime online at https://eaglecountyhistoricalsociety.com/donate/ or mail a check to Eagle County Historical Society, PO Box 192, Eagle, CO 81631.