Reader: Molly Brown Was Just One of Many on a Sinking Ship

Reader: Molly Brown Was Just One of Many on a Sinking Ship
Kenzie Bruce
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The Molly Brown House Museum is in the midst of a million-dollar makeover, a top-to-bottom overhaul of the building at 1340 Pennsylvania Street that the legendary heroine of the Titanic once called home. On March 12, restored stained-glass windows were returned to the entryway of the museum, which remains open during the renovation work. And some fans can't wait to see it finished. Says Windermere:

Such a uniquely beautiful piece of architecture and history. Looking forward to seeing it in all its renewed glory. 

But does the reputation of the home's most historic occupation need some restoration, too? Suggests Mark:

That house has had so many changes to it that it's no longer historically accurate. It should be removed as a historical building because it is no longer historical. Not to mention Molly Brown really wasn't that much of a historical figure, anyway. Just one of many on a sinking ship.

Says Zechoriah: 

The locals treated her like shit until she was a celebrity, but oh, now she is one of them. Go to hell.

Maybe that attitude explains another aspect of the building's reputation: Advises Celina: 

Be prepared to be haunted.

Keep reading for more of our coverage of the Molly Brown House...and the real story on Margaret Tobin Brown.

Reader: Molly Brown Was Just One of Many on a Sinking Ship
Kenzie Bruce

"The Molly Brown House Looks Like a Million Bucks!"

Reader: Molly Brown Was Just One of Many on a Sinking ShipEXPAND
Kenzie Bruce

  "Renovations Will Open Basement of Historic Molly Brown House"

Reader: Molly Brown Was Just One of Many on a Sinking Ship
The Unsinkable Molly Brown

"RIP, Debbie Reynolds: She Gave New Life — and a New Name — to Margaret Brown"

"Women and Children First! Travel Back to 1912 on Colorado Public Television"

Margaret Tobin Brown was not the perky, Debbie Reynolds-like character from The Unsinkable Molly Brown. In fact, she was not even known as Molly when she lived in Denver. The "Indomitable Mrs. James J. Brown" might have been a better nickname, since despite being snubbed by this city's society mavens after she moved here from Leadville with her husband — the manager of a silver mine who found a deposit of gold that made them filthy rich — she proceeded to launch a series of good works.

And, yes, the couple also bought a gaudy mansion on Pennsylvania Street that survives today as the Molly Brown House Museum, thanks to a group of concerned citizens who were worried that the structure would be knocked down in the late ’60s, and founded Historic Denver in the process of saving it.

Before she took her trip on the Titanic, Margaret Brown pushed for safer mining conditions, pushed for public bathhouses and parks, pushed for juvenile justice and pushed for a woman's right to vote. She even ran for the state Senate.

Brown was returning from a European trip when she booked passage on the brand-new Titanic in April 1912. When that vessel hit an iceberg, she drew on her experiences in the wild, wild West to rally the passengers on her lifeboat before they were rescued by the Carpathia. When that boat arrived in New York, reporters asked how she had survived. "Typical Brown luck," she replied. "We're unsinkable."

That's when she became the Unsinkable Mrs. Brown. The "Molly" followed later, when her story was resurrected for a Broadway musical and then a movie.

Do you consider Margaret Brown a historic figure worth celebrating? Have you been to the Molly Brown House Museum? Post a comment or share your thoughts at editorial@westword.com.

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