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Heading West Up Colfax

Jonny Barber Moves Museum To Lakewood

Story and photo by Adam Uribes

Colfax Museum curator and longtime Elvis impersonator Jonny Barber stands under the poster of himself.

On June 16, Jonny Barber – known in the neighborhood as Jonny B – closed the doors of his Colfax Museum inside of the Ed Moore Florist and More shop at 6109 E. Colfax Ave.

The museum, which opened last December to great fanfare, is moving to a bigger location in Lakewood. The new home will open on July 6 in the 40 West Arts District between Sheridan and Wadsworth.

Going from Elvis-impersonator to local historian, Barber spent the better part of the past decade gathering objects in relation to the colorful history of Colfax Avenue – the longest commercial street in the United States. The street was named in honor of Schuyler Colfax, the long-ago Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives when the 13th Amendment was ratified.

When the museum opened inside the flower shop at the southern border of Park Hill, guests got a taste of the rich history of Colorado, with stories about life along the legendary (and often rowdy) street, with artifacts and photographs documenting everything from the Lyle Alzado/Muhammad Ali exhibition fight to old images of the street and its namesake.

The location, inside the flower store, led noted Denver Historian Phil Goodstein to famously opine: “Having a Colfax Museum in a flower shop is just like carrying posies during the Plague: it covers the smell!”

While Barber is moving out of the neighborhood, he says he’ll be moving to a bigger venue, allowing him to expand accordingly.

“We will be able to hold events; we’ll have a stage and there is an outdoor courtyard that you can fit easily a few hundred people,” Barber said, noting that he has also secured nonprofit status for the museum, making it easier for him to seek grants and other funding.

The museum’s website is colfaxavenue.org/p/colfax-museum.html.


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