Welcome to the Killville Historical Museum of the Strange. Established in 1903 by Colonel Maurice A. Dalton upon his return from serving in the Philippine-American war where he had lost his left leg, an eye and a bunch of other parts. Prior to his enlistment he had passed through Chicago in 1893 and attended the World's Columbian Exposition. There he had witnessed wondrous oddities from the darkest corners of the globe and thousands of people willing to fork over their hard earned cash to see them. This fact was never far from his mind while in the South Pacific and though seriously wounded he still managed to come home with some shrunken heads acquired in the jungles of Borneo and a few other oddities which would be the seeds of his very own "dime museum".
While in Chicago in 1893 the colonel unwittingly crossed paths with the serial killer Herman Mudgett aka Dr. H. H. Holmes from whom he purchased a few cases of various "miracle cures" with the intention of peddling them to the rubes back home in Massachusetts. Unaware of Dr. Holmes' dark side, he even briefly lodged at his boarding house which would later become known as Holmes Castle, Mudgett's home base from which he carried out his evil deeds. Mudgett was later found out and eventually hanged but that's a story for the Chicago freak museums to tell.
Colonel Dalton realized that people would not only pay to see anything as long as it was "AMAZING" or "INCREDIBLE", but that a bottle of ordinary tap water with a fancy mumbo jumbo label would fetch as much as a hard days work in the factory, and he wanted a piece of the action. Killville Massachusetts and the surrounding area supplied him with all the freaks of flora and fauna that he needed and the museum opened to great fanfare in the fall of 1903 attracting thousands of visitors from around the world. The funny thing was that unlike the the poorly constructed fake mermaids and abominable snowmen that could be found around the country in the countless dime museums and freak shows of the day, most of the specimens he later gathered and displayed in his Killville Historical Museum Of The Strange through the years from his native western Massachusetts weren't gaffes at all, they were real.
But by 1917 the museum had fallen on hard times. It limped along like Dalton himself on his one good leg, old and broken down. World War I and the influenza pandemic had taken the fun right out of freak shows, and The Killville Historical Museum Of The Strange closed it's doors the following year. The colonel's affinity for the ponies, the bourbon and the ladies depleted his fortunes and sold off various exhibits and equipment to anyone with a buck. The property was seized by the Commonwealth for back taxes and what was left of the collection was either sold at auction or donated to local universities. Dalton spent the rest of his days mostly drunk and died under mysterious circumstances in 1923.
In 1976 the Killville Historical Society embarked on the monumental task of retrieving what they could of the museum's collection and after two years of restoration and repair of various specimens, along with the addition of many new exhibits, the Killville Historical Museum Of The Strange reopened just in time to cash in on the bicentennial frenzy.
It wasn't long though, before the town started coming down hard on the museum, citing them for various code violations and complaining about the riff raff and the bad eliment that the place attracted. In 2002 a suspicious fire ravaged the old Manhan Rendering Facility where the museum had found a home. When the inferno was finally extinguished , much of the collection had been totally destroyed. The local government was happy, they were never fans of The Killville Historical Society or the museum. They always claimed that those drunken hicks at the Society gave the town a bad name and they hoped that this would be the final nail in their coffin. The tourists wanted happy artists and happy coffee shops, not bucket of blood bar rooms and dusty old freak shows. Folks say that the fire department practically drove backwards to get to the blaze.
After more than seven years in limbo the museum still searches a new home. Many of the specimens have been painstakingly restored by our team of experts and new oddities continue to be found. But the battle against the bugs, mold and decay is never-ending. For now the exhibits remain in a secret storage facility somewhere in western Massachusetts. It's best that the arsonist who is still on the loose and the various state and town officials don't know where to find us. Please forgive the mess. The on-line museum is still under construction, there's still lots of hammerin', screwin' and drinkin' to do.
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