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Molly Brown Summer House
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Source:.Several Authors Date Posted:11/21/2017 Time Posted:..10:01:32 AM.
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Featured Story:..Molly Brown Summer House
Avoca Lodge, known as The Molly Brown Summer House, is a Registered Historic Place in southwest Denver, Colorado near Bear Creek. The home served as a summer retreat for philanthropist, socialite, and activist Margaret Brown and her husband James Joseph Brown. Location is at 2690 S. Wadsworth Blvd., Denver, Colorado

Most everyone knows about Colorado’s flamboyant Margaret “Molly” Brown, her marriage to James Joseph Brown, her philanthropy, her heroics aboard a Titanic lifeboat, her welfare work, and her stately mansion on Pennsylvania Avenue in downtown Denver. But, few know about the buttered-brick house standing at the corner of South Wadsworth Blvd. and Yale Avenue that Molly named Avoca Lodge after the aforementioned poem.

As much as Molly and J.J. enjoyed the social whirl of Denver, they also sought refuge. A two and one-half hour carriage ride from the Pennsylvania home served that purpose. This westward location was a peaceful place that provided a view of the majestic mountains. There they might have been able to more readily reflect on early years in Leadville, the little mountain town where they met and married in 1886. In Molly’s own words, “I wanted a rich man, but I loved Jim Brown. I thought about how I wanted comfort for my father and how I was determined to stay single until a man presented himself, who could give to the tired old man the things I longed for him. Jim was as poor as we were, and had no better chance in life. I struggled hard with myself in those days. I loved Jim, but he was poor. Finally, I decided that I’d be better off with a poor man whom I loved than a wealthy one whose money had attracted me. So I married Jim.”

Molly and J.J. had two children, a boy and a girl, both raised at Avoca. Their son was named Lawrence and their daughter, Catherine, called Helen after a favorite aunt. Love may have come early for Molly, but it wasn’t until J.J. struck gold in The Little Johnny Mine that fame and fortune followed. The family moved to Denver soon after and purchased the downtown Denver home on Pennsylvania Avenue.
Meanwhile J.J. began purchasing land on which Avoca would be built in 1893. Construction on the 400 plus acre estate began in 1895 and was completed in 1897 giving birth to Avoca Lodge, with its cascading water. It was the place where Molly and J.J. escaped Denver’s hustle and bustle and found peace and solitude among the trees and farmlands along Bear Creek.
Through the guidance and ingenuity of J.J. Brown, Avoca Lodge became one of the most productive working farms in Colorado. Hundreds of orchard trees in every variety were planted and produced bountiful fruits like plum, peach, apple and cherry to name a few. Along with produce were a variety of fowl, livestock, and thoroughbred horses, all of which combined to create another form of financial success on the stately property.

Peace and quiet was not a permanent condition as the retreat also had its share of lavish parties. A large brick dairy barn built near the main house was fitted with an oak floor suitable for dancing and performing. It was the setting for partying until dawn. The barn and dancing floor remained until the mid-1960s, but by then the tunes of the fiddler had long since ceased to play. After many joyful years, the events that once filled the barn and the rooms of Avoca Lodge languished when Molly and J.J. parted ways. After twenty-three years of marriage, Molly and J.J. privately signed a separation agreement in 1909. Although they never reconciled nor divorced, they continued to communicate and cared for each other throughout their lives. At the time of J.J. Brown’s death in 1922, Molly told newspapers, “I’ve never met a finer, bigger, more worthwhile man than J.J. Brown.”

Margaret Brown died in her sleep at 10:55 p.m. on October 26, 1932, at the Barbizon Hotel in New York City, New York. Subsequent autopsy revealed a brain tumor. Her body was buried along with J.J. in the Cemetery of the Holy Rood in Westbury, New York, following a small ceremony on October 31, 1932, attended only by family members. There was no eulogy

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