The Dougherty Museum in the Longmont region arouses curiosity about vintage cars
Ray Dougherty had a sense of originality when it came to vintage cars, musical instruments and farm equipment.
Tucked away safely in storage sheds on his farm, he preserved such items as a Mason and Hamlin Reed organ, a 1913 Model T Ford and a 1903 Cadillac. As he accumulated a larger collection of vintage cars , farm equipment and musical instruments, his family convinced him to share the treasures with the world. They opened the 29,000 square foot Dougherty Museum in 1974.
Dougherty passed away in 1988, but his family continues to carry on his love for the preservation of the original. After two years of temporary closure, the museum opened on Friday for the August season. Museum owner Doug Dougherty, son of Ray Dougherty, said the museum was unable to operate last year due to the coronavirus pandemic. The museum will be open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday through August at 8306 N. 107th St., just south of Longmont.
Back among the 35 vintage cars built between 1902 and 1930, Dougherty was ready to share his knowledge of the machines his father collected and how they helped shape the auto industry.
At the museum, people can find a variety of gas, steam and electric vehicles. There’s the 1902 Mobile Steamer, owned by Boulder pioneer Andrew J. Macky, the namesake of the Macky Auditorium at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Macky, president of the First National Bank, donated land and money to create the prominent campus building. An abundance of agricultural equipment and musical instruments complete the collection.
Nestled among the objects is a Steinway & Sons Square grand piano, a number of pipe organs, phonographs and many other objects like a display case full of hats.
“It was the kind of thing my dad was interested in,” Dougherty said. “He was looking for originality and wanted to see it preserved.”
Among those returning to the museum on Friday was Judy Silver, who began serving as a museum guide in 2018.
“It’s like coming home,” Silver said. “It’s just wonderful. I love being here. You can’t stop drinking it all. It’s a wonderful collection.
Although the cars are antiques, they were not treated as items too valuable to be used for their intended purpose. Dougherty helped his father work on the cars. As a farmer, Dougherty said his father was a savvy mechanic.
“It was a hobby of a lifetime. The first thing he did was make it work, ”said Dougherty. “I was there, close at hand, when it was time to drive him.”
He said that most of the museum’s cars he has been passenger or driven at least once. Dougherty said his father’s collection illustrates the evolution of automobiles over a period of more than 20 years.
“Electric cars were easy to use and popular with ladies (because they didn’t need to be hand operated) and gasoline cars eventually replaced steam cars because it wasn’t necessary. to be a mechanic to operate one. Dougherty said. “The first tires (1920s era) were canvas.
“Anyone taking a trip of any length in the summer thought about taking a couple of spare parts, because you would have apartments. “
Dougherty’s father was a farmer, who mainly raised and sold turkeys in the 1920s and 1930s. Dougherty said the industry was profitable despite the economic challenges of the Great Depression. The museum stands on what was once a cattle feedlot.
On Friday, Boulderers Eliza Rayner and her son, Aden Bicknell, 15, visited the museum. They tried out a few bars of a song on the grand piano and listened to Anita Meriwether, coordinator of the museum guides, tell them about the history of the instruments. .
Rayner said she first heard of the museum last year and has been waiting since it reopened. She learned on Thursday that the museum was resuming operations on Friday.
“I said ‘Well, great we can go,’” Rayner said. “We thought it looked really interesting, especially seeing the cool cars.”
With many stories to share, Dougherty encouraged people to come and visit the museum.
“I think most people who visit thought their time was well spent,” said Dougherty. “There is a lot of history here, especially the history of Boulder County.”
The cost of admission to the museum is $ 7 for adults and $ 3 for children 6 to 12 years old. Children under 6 are admitted free. Payment is cash only. For questions or more information, people can call the museum at 303-776-2520.