The Museum's History
The Lewis Home, located at 108 East Simpson Street, became the Lafayette Miners Museum in August 1976. Built in the 1890s, the house was occupied by miners at the Gladstone Mine northeast of Lafayette. After the mine closed, the house was moved into town.
In December 1913, coal miner William E. Lewis and his family purchased the home from Oscar Padfield. (Padfield's father had owned the Gladstone Mine.) The Lewis Home served as a meeting place for miners during a lengthy strike, which lasted until 1915. During that turbulent period, frequent gun fire would often force the Lewis family to sleep in a nearby cellar for safety.
William Lewis died in 1914, leaving his wife, Hannah, to rear their three children. Hannah Lewis continued to live in the house until her death in 1975 at the age of 95. In 1976, with the generous help of Elmo Lewis, the youngest of the children, the Lafayette Historical Society acquired the Lewis Home for the sole purpose of housing the museum.
What the Museum Contains
The museum contains a wealth of Lafayette history, from the early days of pioneer heritage, through the coal mining years and into the present. Visitors will view a broad collection of artifacts which includes a kitchen full of unusual household items used by Lafayette's founding families, plus a tremendous collection of mining tools and equipment.
In the "school room" of the museum, the town's educational heritage has been well preserved in pictures, trophies and memorabilia. Current residents often enjoy searching for a "school days" picture of their parents or grandparents. A small bedroom also contains vintage clothing and accessories from the turn of the century.
The museum is open to the public year round.
Visitors are welcome and encouraged to explore Lafayette's past.