In 1917, in response to a request by the U.S. Army Depot Quartermaster in New York, the Edison Company created a special model of phonograph. Known as the Army and Navy Model, the cost of this machine at the time was $60. The Edison Army/Navy Phonograph was protected in a sturdy wooden crate that was reinforced by angle iron and painted into anonymity with military enamel paint. The 280 different pieces of the model were numbered and labeled so it could be dismantled and rebuilt.
This Edison Phonograph was bought by Montrose Elks Lodge No. 1053 for Montrose and Colorado soldiers. One soldier wrote that they cherished it like a baby, carrying it thru shell-torn villages to the front. The men would come back on relief and found comfort in the dingy dugout with the Phonograph. With the onset of WW II, this phonograph was again used for the war effort in a window display of a local jewelry store. The sight of it reminded passersby of what music had meant to troops years ago and the need for money to buy records for the soldiers.
Painted theatre curtains are rare artifacts and at times hard to exhibit due to their size. A national organization that studies theatre curtains (Curtains Without Borders) believes the Rex Theatre curtain is unusual, in good condition and older than most in this region. The Historical Museum has it fully displayed in our main building, the Jacoe Store, demonstrating an early 20th century example of business support for the arts. The City of Louisville funded the cleaning of the curtain by a conservator in August 2016 so that we may exhibit it for years to come.
Montrose County Historical Museum
21 N Rio Grande Ave
Montrose, CO 81401