Donations keep rolling in to museum

Early-day fire chief’s badge to go on display

The Animas Museum now has a badge that once belonged to George Goodman, Durango’s first paid fire chief, according Goodman’s great-great-grandson, Brian Goodman, who donated the badge to the museum. Enlarge photo

STEVE LEWIS/Durango Herald

The Animas Museum now has a badge that once belonged to George Goodman, Durango’s first paid fire chief, according Goodman’s great-great-grandson, Brian Goodman, who donated the badge to the museum.

Items with historical ties to La Plata County keep finding their way to the Animas Museum.

The most recent arrived Friday when Brian Goodman, an animal-control officer from Las Cruces, N.M., and his great-aunt, Barbara Cornelius, donated the badge of George Goodman, a volunteer fireman and later paid chief of the Durango fire department.

The badge bears the date April 15, 1895.

Brian Goodman is George Goodman’s great-great-grandson and Cornelius is his granddaughter.

“I’m the last of the Goodmans because I don’t have children,” Goodman said. “There’s no point having the badge in a safety deposit box. There’s no better place for it than here.”

Goodman and Cornelius also donated original vintage photographs of their ancestor. They were accompanied by Goodman’s wife, Vivian, and his stepmother, Ellie Goodman.

George Goodman, they said, was never idle. He operated a painting business, worked as a mortician and acted as county coroner. He served as mayor and was active in the Masons, the Elks, Moose and Eagles and Woodmen of the World.

Cornelius, a Durango native and lifetime resident, recalled her grandfather as a fancy dresser and a “delight to be around.”

Six members from Durango Fire & Rescue Authority dropped in to see Goodman’s badge.

Jan Postler, the museum’s curator of collections, said she receives donations frequently.

“Every year, 30 to 80 people donate a single object or a collection,” Postler said.

Postler said the historical value of items usually outweighs the monetary value.

Among recent significant donations are:

In August 2011, Deane Winkler, a member of the McCluer family from Prescott, Ariz., donated documents, photographs, letters, pottery and two firearms from the late 1800s.

The McCluer family figured in another donation in May, when a Californian, Ann Dierks, made her second donation to the museum – two handguns and two badges belonging to Timothy J. McCluer Jr., La Plata County sheriff from 1910 to 1912. Dierks is McCluer’s granddaughter.

In June, Lonnie Selby from Tushka, Okla., dropped off a plaque from a cash register that was in the Durango Mercantile Co. office when it and an adjoining building were destroyed by fire in 1948.

Selby found the plaque while fly-fishing in the Animas River in the mid-1970s. He put it in a shed and forgot about it until a tornado in April 2011 leveled the shed.

daler@durangoherald.com

Barbara Cornelius, the granddaughter of George Goodman, Durango’s first paid fire chief, looks over some photos of Goodman and what then was the Durango Fire Department on Friday at the Animas Museum. Enlarge photo

STEVE LEWIS/Durango Herald

Barbara Cornelius, the granddaughter of George Goodman, Durango’s first paid fire chief, looks over some photos of Goodman and what then was the Durango Fire Department on Friday at the Animas Museum.

“That’s just so special,” said Karola Hanks of Durango Fire & Rescue Authority, right, after seeing the badge that once belonged to George Goodman, Durango fire chief in the late 1800s. “It’s so neat that we get it back here,” Hanks added. From left are museum curator Jan Postler and firefighters Brian Cartwright and Dan Steaves. Enlarge photo

STEVE LEWIS/Durango Herald

“That’s just so special,” said Karola Hanks of Durango Fire & Rescue Authority, right, after seeing the badge that once belonged to George Goodman, Durango fire chief in the late 1800s. “It’s so neat that we get it back here,” Hanks added. From left are museum curator Jan Postler and firefighters Brian Cartwright and Dan Steaves.

A photo of George Goodman and the badge he wore as fire chief are now part of the collection of the Animas Museum. Enlarge photo

STEVE LEWIS/Durango Herald

A photo of George Goodman and the badge he wore as fire chief are now part of the collection of the Animas Museum.

Comments » Read and share your thoughts on this story