Museum of Northwest Colorado: Third time’s a charm
June 12, 2015
It has been paraphrased you can take the boy (or girl) out of Craig, but you can't take the Craig out of the boy. Woodson Herring, Sr. is an outstanding example of the appeal our little community has for those who live here. Born in 1895 in Missouri, Woodson served in the Great War before coming to work for Ben Wright's Dry Cleaning and Men's Clothing Store in Craig shortly after the war. After a brief time, Woody and his wife Anna moved to California to operate their own dry cleaning business. It wasn't long before the lure of the small rural Craig drew them back again. Upon their return in 1922, the Herrings purchased a home, which remained the family residence for many years.
Anna died in 1927, and Woodson took his two young boys back to her family in Iowa with the intention of settling in that area. It was during his time there that he met his second wife, Mildred, and for the third time, Craig called out to Woodson. In 1933, Woodson returned to Craig with his new wife and his sons, Woody, Jr. and Robert, to settle again into the residence at 648 School St.
A proud veteran of World War I, Woodson was a member of the local 157th National Guard and when World War II broke out, Woodson and both of his sons signed up for active duty. Woodson served on the Pacific Front, while son Robert went to Germany. Woody, Jr. died as a result of wounds received on Anzio Beach in Italy. A daughter, Mary Louise was born to Woodson and Mildred during the war.
In 1946, Woodson opened his own business — the Wardrobe Cleaners — located at 33 E. Victory Way, in a tiny building near today's West Theater. By the mid-1950s, Woodson was an established member of the local business scene and a likely target for cartoonist Chet Klock and his caricatures, which were featured in the local newspaper.
Woodson was an ardent fly fisherman and small game hunter, and he and the family loved to go for long drives in the mountains with a good picnic lunch to see them through the day. Golf was another favorite pastime and upon his retirement in 1976, Woodson could be found almost daily out on the Yampa Valley Golf Course, south of town. He golfed up until just two months before his death in September 1979. Woodson was a steady and contributing member of our rural community for almost six decades. Despite his several attempts to leave, he always returned, proving that there is indeed something special and unique about our area, which leaves a lasting imprint on each of us.
The Museum of Northwest Colorado, hosts various displays, highlighting our local businessmen and businesses. The museum is open Monday through Saturday and as always, admission is free.
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Mary Pat Dunn is the registrar at the Museum of Northwest Colorado in Craig.