#ArchivesBlackEducation

#ArchivesBlackEducation

Every month Fort Collins Museum of Discovery participates in a themed #ArchivesHashtagParty on Twitter. This month’s theme is #ArchivesBlackEducation in honor of Black History Month.

What is an #ArchivesHashtagParty you ask? That’s a great question! This article from the New York Times, The Record Keepers’ Rave, helps explain just that. Started by The National Archives and Records Administration of the United States, participating archives, museums, and libraries tune in to share a treasure trove of photos, stories, collections, and more.

For #ArchivesBlackEducation, the museum shared the following on Twitter (@focomod) of our local history from the Archive & Collections at FCMoD.

Let’s get started, shall we?

This #ArchivesHashtagParty we’re exploring local African American history with #ArchivesBlackEducation. Pictured here is Ella Mae Cook, Fort Collins Resident from about 1931 to 1944.

Grafton St. Clair Norman was the first Black student to attend and graduate from CSU, then Colorado Agricultural College. He became the 2nd lieutenant in the Army and teacher in Kentucky. This photo appeared in the 1896 CAC yearbook.

Charley Clay arrived in Colorado in 1864. By the early 1900s, the Clay home was a center of Black social life in Larimer County, hosting groups such as the local chapter of the Paul Laurence Dunbar Literary Society.

William Clay, son of Charley Clay, served with the Fort Collins Volunteer Fire Department in the 1890s and was a member of the State Champion Hose Team in 1897.

As a child, Academy Award winning film star Hattie McDaniel briefly lived in this home on Cherry Street in Fort Collins and attended Franklin School. She would later move to Denver on her way to Hollywood.

In March of 1939, Mattie Lyle sued the owner of the State Theater in Fort Collins for discrimination and won damager. Her daughter Joyce, pictured here, served as a witness to her mother’s testimony.

During the 1920s, ’30s, and ’40s, Charles and Mamie Birdwhitle’s home on Oak Street in Fort Collins was a gathering spot for Black gospel groups, jazz orchestras, and scholars visiting Northern Colorado.

Virgil Thomas was a star left tackle – and the only Black player – for the Fort Collins High School Lambkins in the late 1930s.

In 1969, members of the Mexican-American Committee for Equality & the Black Student Assn. demanded more recruitment of minority students and faculty. Shown here is a protest they held at the home of college president William Morgan.

That wraps up this month’s #ArchivesHashtagParty! Explore more Black history with a walking tour from our friends at the Fort Collins History Preservation Department.

Thanks for tuning in! We’ll share next month’s #ArchivesHashtagParty content with you back here on the blog.

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Mindful Mondays: The Best Life-Saving “Drug” I Found

Written by Carl Nassar, President of Heart Centered Counseling

Mindful Mondays: The Best Life-Saving “Drug” I Found

Therapy saved my life. That wouldn’t come as a surprise to you if video footage of my childhood was available for you to view.

The screen would zoom in on a boy whose constant companion was loneliness. A boy whose imaginary friend Bucky tried valiantly, but without success, to fill the relational void. You’d discover a boy attending a religious elementary school promoting the fear of God over the love of God, and a fear of the world rather than a love for it.

In therapy, I came to understand how my past was shaping my future (Freud called it “the transference of everyday life,” and Berne labeled it “replaying your life script”). I learned how my scared-ness was trampling over my vitality (Perlz called it the “dilemma of secondary Gestalts”). I learned what it looked like to open my heart, first to my own pain, as something to go through (and not around), and then to the world, as a way to lean in (instead of leaning out).

I loved therapy. It helped me to reclaim my excitement and energy for life. It also gave me my voice. That love grew into a professional desire to become a therapist myself. I wanted to help good people realize that they no longer needed to simply get by in this life, but rather to discover and learn to thrive. I wanted to help others work through the traumas (of childhood and later life) to become the people they’re meant to be—to find their voice in the world and to use it to express all of who they are, in its endless unfolding.

After 20 years in the field, I’m more convinced than ever that the popular song from 1965 speaks a profound truth, “What the world needs now is love, sweet love…” and, while not in the song, I might add a line about therapy being a beautiful way to discover that love within ourselves.

I’m more convinced now than ever that each of us can become the hope we long to see in the world. I believe this so much that I created a video series called “What if a Therapist Reported the News?” It’s my way of helping people break free from the paralysis of waiting for the news to change, and instead encouraging each one of us to find the courage—in how we live our everyday lives—to take the small steps that allow us to create the news we’re waiting for.

As we come to the end of our time together in this blog post, I want to share my gratitude for you…not only for taking the time to read this, but for each small act of courage—each small step toward kindness—you show in your everyday life. Because one final lesson therapy taught me was that each us matter far more than we image, and each small act adds up to create a new world, even if we don’t see its dawning quite yet.

Carl Nassar is known differently to different people. To some, he’s a professional counselor offering a safe space to reclaim hope and tenderness. To others he’s the president of Heart Centered Counseling, supporting a team of 250 providers that together provide access to a counseling and psychiatric care throughout Colorado (www.heartcenteredcounselors.com). And to those who find his YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCW3MmwKez76a51rQRp17qwQ/), Carl offers a thoughtful and inspiring answer to the question What if a Therapist Reported the News?

 

To stay informed on the latest Mental Health: Mind Matters programs and experiences, visit the Mind Matters webpage and follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter. Don’t forget to tag us in your experiences when you visit the museum to help us #MakeItOk. 

We look forward to welcoming you to FCMoD to experience this amazing exhibit!  

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Daily Discovery: Crazy Quilt Tie-Blanket

Post written by Morgan Wilson, Museum Assistant for Collections.

Daily Discovery: Crazy Quilt Tie-Blanket

What even is a crazy quilt? It is a pieced together blanket that is all about looking good and does not follow a pattern or have the quilting stitches joining its front to its back that define true quilts. Crazy quilts are often full of souvenir ribbons, fancy fabrics, and embroidered or painted pictures. We have several crazy quilts in our collections at FCMOD. Check them out to get inspiration for your own. Today, we will be making a tie-blanket crazy quilt. There is no sewing required! Don’t worry if you make a mistake, it will just add to the craziness of the quilt!

Supplies:

  • Fleece (2 yards total in at least 2 different colors but use as many as you like. Most fleece that you buy from a craft store will be 60 inches in width which is perfect for this project!)
  • Scissors
  • Tape Measure
  • Colored pencil or fabric marker

Instructions:

  1. Find a work surface to lay your fabric on.
  2. Use the tape measure and colored pencil to lightly sketch a 12 x 12-inch square on the corner of one piece of fabric.
  3. Cut out the square. You can use this first square as a template for the rest of them!
  4. Using your template, cut the rest of the fabric into 12 x 12-inch squares.
  5. Once you have all your squares cut out, take one square, your tape measure and pencil and mark every inch on each edge of the square.
  6. Make a 2-inch cut on each mark. This will create fringe around the square and cut off the corners!
  7. Repeat step 6 until all your squares have fringe.
  8. Take two squares that you want to tie together and line them up so that the tabs are lined up with each other.
  9. Double knot the tabs on either square together until you have 8 knots joining two squares together!
  10. Continue tying squares together lengthwise until you have 5 squares in a row. Make 6 rows of 5 squares.
  11. Now, join each row together width wise until you have a 5 x 6 square blanket –crazy!

Tips and Tricks:

  • You may knot the fringe on the edges of the blanket to give it a more finished look.
  • If your squares are not exactly even, that’s okay. As long as they all have an equal number of fringes it will come together just fine.
  • You can arrange the squares in any pattern you like since a crazy quilt has no pattern.

Image Credit: The Spruce Crafts

Want to download these directions? Click here for a handy PDF!

Follow along with our Daily Discovery! Click here for all activities that you can do at home.

Educational opportunities like this are supported in part by Fort Fund.

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Background in History!

Post written by Lesley Struc, Curator of the Archive.

Background in History!

Feeling the need to add a little historical zing to your online video meetings? Well, the Archive at Fort Collins Museum of Discovery has you covered. Feel free to download these images of Fort Collins’ past and use them as your virtual backdrop during your next online meeting or chat; impress your friends and coworkers with your fervor for local history!

Welcome to Camp Collins, circa 1865, looking southwest from the Poudre River toward the fort’s parade ground and buildings. This would have been near present-day Linden and Jefferson Streets. Download photo.

Fisticuffsmanship! Well, not exactly. This is wrestling match that took place circa 1908 on the east side of the 200 block of Mountain Avenue. All the people are looking at you, waiting for you to finish your meeting so they can start the bout. Download photo.

Meet your new officemate H.C. Lighter, Justice of the Peace for Larimer County, in his office at the Avery Block in Old Town, circa 1908. Download photo.

Your new office has a great view of the west side of North College Avenue, circa 1904. Download photo.

Now you’re on top of a streetcar in 1908, looking down North College toward Mountain Avenue. Check out all the cars in Fort Collins at that time and what is believed to be the earliest photo of the trolley. Download photo.

Finally, some color! Here’s a view of Pingree Park from a hand-tinted lantern slide from the 1910s. Ahhh, so peaceful. Download photo.

Nice office! Get things done here in the Poudre Valley Bank offices at 401 South College in 1967. This building is now home to Wells Fargo Bank. Download photo.

You can hold an important meeting in this stylish board room, also from the Poudre Valley Bank, 1967. Can you spy the Safeway out of the window? That building now houses Lucky’s Market at 425 South College Avenue. Download photo.

The Northern Hotel is looking bright and cheery in this postcard from 1958. Download photo.

Lounge around at the Safari Club, once located at 400 Link Lane in Fort Collins, where you could enjoy “Cocktails, Steaks, Prime Rib, Seafood and European Delicacies. Piano Lounge, Live Music, and Ballroom Dancing.” This image is from a circa 1975 postcard. Download photo.

 

Voila! Now boring video meetings will be a thing of the past… literally! Check out even more awesome local history photo background options by visiting the Fort Collins History Connections website: history.fcgov.com.

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National Beer Day

Post written by Alex Ballou, Marketing Assistant.

National Beer Day

It’s #NationalBeerDay and there is no better place to celebrate this holiday than our home – Fort Collins, Colorado!

History of National Beer Day

National Beer Day is celebrated annually on April 7. This day marks the signing of the Cullen-Harrison Act. The signing of this act led to the 18th Amendment being repealed, with ratification of the 21st Amendment to the constitution. This enactment took the first step toward ending the prohibition. Beer drinkers rejoiced as they were able to purchase beer again for the first time in 13 years!

Beer is now the world’s most widely consumed alcoholic beverage. Following water and tea, it is the third most popular drink overall. This was not a “sour” move to make!

Fun fact: April 6, the day before National Beer Day, is also known as, New Beer’s Eve.

Local Beer History

Fort Collins is sometimes referred to as the “Napa Valley of Beer.” Although alcohol arrived with the first settlers in Fort Collins, prohibition hindered the growth of the industry until 1969.

In 1980, the large beer company, Anheuser Busch, made a bid to open a brewery in the city. It took 8 years to get the city on board for the first brewery in Fort Collins. The plant began construction in 1988. In 1990, Doug Odell opened Odell Brewery Co. Soon after, New Belgium opened in 1991. Other breweries opened soon after these leaders in the industry. Fort Collins was one of the first to latch onto the craft beer movement. By 2010, a new generation of breweries, like Funkwerks & Equinox Brewing, emerged. According to Visit Fort Collins, the city is now home to over 20 local craft breweries!

The craft beer industry, with its emphasis on local breweries, plays a vital role in the communities economy and culture, this goes hand in hand with the outdoor recreation that is popular in Colorado.

How YOU can celebrate!

Celebrate today with a pint of your favorite local brew. Even if you are stuck at home, no worries! You can order beer from your favorite breweries in Fort Collins (please check the preferred brewery website for updated hours and delivery options).

Cheers! 🍻

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Creating Family Archives, Part One

Post written by Jenny Hannifin, Archive Assistant.

Creating Family Archives, Part One

Primary sources – letters, emails, photos, scrapbooks, programs, pamphlets, dance cards, etc. – reveal wonders, and preserving and organizing them is a forever-gift. When you decide to create personal archives, you are committing to a rewarding and valuable task.

But how do you get started?

Margot Note recently published a book called Creating Family Archives: A Step‐by‐Step Guide for Saving Your Memories for Future Generations published by the Society of American Archivists. You can find details about the book here. Margot Note is an archives and records management consultant in New York, and a professor in the graduate Women’s History program at Sarah Lawrence College.

In this blog I will summarize some guiding concepts from Margot’s book to help you get you started.

What are your goals?

Personal archives can capture many things. Are you interested in storytelling and preserving memories? Are you hoping to create an instrument of legitimacy (like genealogical evidence), or to document someone’s specific legacy? Do you want to highlight the roots of your self-identification and cultural values? Is it an institution you want to document, perhaps one you were intimately involved in?

The more you conceptualize the final product, the easier it will be to devise the steps required to get there. Each of the goals listed above would have a different approach to saving, processing, and preserving materials.

What do you save?

There are three archival principles that can guide you in deciding what to save: that the item is original, reflects daily life/lives, and is of enduring value.

Original means there is just one copy of it, and it doesn’t exist anywhere else.

Reflecting daily life/lives means that it initially began life as a record of some sort and wasn’t created with the public in mind (like published materials).

Enduring value is probably the hardest to determine. In short, it means “value as evidence,” or “a source for historical research;” something that has value AFTER the creator has finished with it. Note says “For organizations, for example, only about 5 percent of records created in the course of business have enduring (archival) value. The same may be said of the records that you and your family create in the course of your lives. Among the receipts, invoices, notes, and selfies you take or receive during your lifetime, only a sliver is worth saving forever.” (Note, p37)

All items that you save, and that reflect these values, are format independent. In other words, a 50-year-old newspaper clipping may be less important to save than an email from last month, depending on your goals. Things don’t have to be “old” to be of enduring value – archival records can be born-digital, in the present.

Create a plan

Once you know what you want to do, and (roughly) what you want to save, you need to create a plan. Start by surveying what you have gathered. Can you divide the project up into different parts, so it is less overwhelming? How many folders or boxes do you need? Would it be easiest to create and store your project digitally?

MPLP (more product, less process) is an archival guiding principle whereby you take care of the most important things first, without feeling like you must get it all done at once. For example, start by stabilizing and re-housing fragile items, storing items by groups in separate boxes, and creating brief inventories. Later you can dive deeper with descriptions, etc. – but in the meantime, you’ve made a start.

Note suggests creating a month by month plan to stay organized. Here’s an example (Note, p6):

  • August: Survey the collection; buy archival supplies
  • September: Organize and process the collection; rehouse slides in archival enclosures;
    create a guide
  • October: Select images for scanning; digitize images
  • November: Interview Person A and Person B; transcribe the best selections of the interview
  • December: Create memory book with photographs and interview quotes; give the books to Person A, Person B, and other relatives

Moving forward

I hope this has been useful! In a future blog we will discuss best practices in handling materials, storing materials, and related topics.

To learn more right now about materials most subject to damage, go here. To learn more about where to buy archival materials (like acid-free folders and plastic sheets), go here.

There is so much to know in this area that we will offer later this year a workshop called Caring for Your Family Treasures. So stay tuned for dates and details on our website calendar!

 

 

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A Mountain of Memories: Processing an Archival Collection at Fort Collins Museum of Discovery

Post written by Lauryn Bolz, Archive Intern Fall 2019.

A Mountain of Memories: Processing an Archival Collection at Fort Collins Museum of Discovery

“To unite the energy, interest, and knowledge of the students, explorers and lovers of the mountains of Colorado; Collect and disseminate information regarding the Rocky Mountains on behalf of science, literature, art, and recreation; Stimulate public interest in our mountain area; Encourage the preservation of forests, flowers, fauna, and natural scenery; and Render readily accessible the alpine attractions of this region.”

The Colorado Mountain Club’s mission statement, written in 1912, has stood as an important pillar of the organization’s 100+ year existence. Its holistic approach to preservation, respect, and exploration of Colorado’s wild lands attracted a diverse cast of characters that are not only interwoven into the history of the club, but also in Fort Collins and Colorado State University.

cmc_large_052: Snowshoeing near Bunce School Road in Allenspark, Colorado

This project was my first experience with archiving, and though I was ecstatic to have been given the opportunity to work at Fort Collins Museum of Discovery, the task appeared very daunting to me. One of the things that struck me was the vast amount of creative freedom given to archivists, despite the very methodical nature of the work. When Lesley Struc, the Archive’s curator and my internship advisor, gave me the “Okay, go!” on my project, I found myself overwhelmed at how there could seemingly be infinite equations that all lead to the same result: a clean, organized set of documents.

Scanning my three boxes of material, I remembered my mother meticulously scanning my grandmother’s old slides into the computer when I was a child, so that is where I decided to start. And wow, did my mom make that look easy.

Blog01: Sleeved slides from the Colorado Mountain Club Records

While some of these slides were organized snugly into appropriately sized boxes, with printed descriptions to match, some were thrown haphazardly into half-disintegrated brown paper bags from the 1960s, bound together with sticky old rubber bands. Though some of these methods were difficult to organize, I couldn’t help but find it fun to get to know each of the photographers vicariously through their styles of handwriting and sorting. Alan Kilminster, who studied at CSU and later took a position there as a biomedical photographer, meticulously laid out each trail the Club took, taking more time to describe ‘neighborhoods’ of rocks than the people photographed around them. Chet Watts was a bit more relaxed, photographing his friends in funny poses as they made their way through Colorado’s dazzling mountain settings. Frank Goeder was a professor of physics at CSU with difficult-to-decipher handwriting, which he used to describe the colors of rocks in his beautiful black and white photography.

Being a transfer student, and still relatively new to Colorado, it has sometimes been difficult to find an avenue to connect to the new culture and free-spirited mindset of my new home. Through exploring this collection, I’ve found that these connections are all around us, through art, literature, science, and our instinctual drawing into the wild lands.

cmc_large_013: Hikers taking a rest

Through conducting this project, I felt extremely connected to my new home in Fort Collins through getting to know the photographers of the CMC and seeing the Rocky Mountains through their eyes. I hope this collection helps other future explorers of the vast, diverse landscapes of Colorado, and prompts them to feel the same respect and inspiration shown by the original members of the CMC.

I would especially like to thank the beautiful, intelligent, and endlessly entertaining ladies of FCMoD’s Archive. Lesley Struc and Jenny Hannifin, along with the cast of volunteers, that made my first experience with archiving fun, educational, and profound in many aspects in my life as I continue to pursue a career in museum work. Seeing new researchers come in every day, met with the wonderment of the archive and the passion of the workers there, has invigorated my interests in public history and Fort Collins’ unique past.

Cmc_large_051: Climbing Mount Audobon

View the finding aid for the Colorado Mountain Club Records on the Fort Collins History Connection here.

 

Local history lives here. Visit the Archive & Collections at FCMoD – open Tuesday through Saturday from 10:00 am to 12:00 pm, and 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm – and like us on Facebook to see more historical images and artifacts. Archival images are available for research, purchase, and more through the online Fort Collins History Connection website.

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Time Travel: 1950s – 1980s

Post written by Alex Ballou, Marketing & Design Assistant. 

Time Travel: 1950s – 1980s

Have you ever wanted to travel back in time? In our latest blog we travel back to the historic decades of Fort Collins. We will start in 1910 and travel up to 1980. Join us as we scavenge the local history of our town.

 

1950s: Reformation

The need for reform in Fort Collins’ city government had been a local topic since the late 1940s. Voter reluctance to change the structure of the local government led city officials to move the city toward a more efficient system by using special powers, as with the placement of Guy Palmes as city manager in 1949. This movement necessitated a revision to the city charter. To this end the local chapter of the National League of Women Voters, formed in 1951, supported an analysis of the government, an updated charter, and voter education to convince the public. The effort was rewarded when, on October 5, 1954, a new city charter was adopted by special election.

Under the council-manager form of government, the City Manager was given administration of the city. He was hired and fired by the city council, attended council meetings, but had no vote. The mayor was chosen by the council, did not have the discretionary powers a mayor in the council-mayor form had, and authority for decision-making resided in the council.

In 1952 the local streetcar system became the last such operation in Colorado to end its services. The trolley had been costing the city money for several years and the cars were not in good condition. The establishment of an independent bus company in Fort Collins in June 1951 made the loss easier for local commuters. However, Bussard Bus Company’s Fort Collins operation did not match the trolley’s longevity. It ended its services in December, 1955.

 

1960s: Migration

The 1960s were turbulent years in Fort Collins. National unrest over the Vietnam War and the civil rights movement was reflected locally, especially on the Colorado State University campus. These crises combined with amazing growth in the city’s size and population, made the 1960s an unsettled period in Fort Collins history.

Rapidly increasing enrollment led to a building boom on the CSU campus. 7,304 students were enrolled at the University during the 1962-63 academic year. The figure grew to 15,361 in the 1968-69 year and plans were made to provide facilities for 25,000 students in the 1970s. Three new structures were built during the 1960s: Morgan Library, Moby Gym, and Hughes Stadium. In 1968, CSU became a member of the Western Athletic Conference and dedicated the new 30,000-seat Hughes Stadium to legendary coach Harry Hughes.

The social consciousness of the 1960s found expression through a variety of organizations and activities. One of these was the Peace Corps, which began with a feasibility study conducted at CSU in 1960. Maurice Albertson, an engineering professor who directed the University’s international programs office, was responsible for obtaining the grant for the study. By 1966, over 15,000 Peace Corps volunteer workers were scattered throughout the world.

 

1970s: Designing tomorrow

Campus unrest over civil rights issues and the Vietnam War continued at CSU in the 1970s. The alleged racist practices of Brigham Young University were a relatively volatile issue. While CSU’s administration refused to cancel a basketball game with BYU in January 1970, it did reluctantly allow a peaceful demonstration prior to the game. The demonstration proceeded as planned with no problems. However, during halftime, a group of predominantly black protesters rushed onto the floor of Moby Gym, fists held high in the “Black Power” salute. The protesters were slow to leave the floor and Fort Collins police were called on to clear the area. A student protest on a less serious matter occurred in April 1975. University administrators were reluctant to allow a Rolling Stones concert at Hughes Stadium that summer. The protest was relatively small, and the band was allowed to play. Traffic jams and discarded beer cans were the only adverse consequences.

The growth of Fort Collins between 1950 and 1970 completely changed the city. A new organization was founded in 1970 to help Fort Collins residents cope with rapid changes and to develop comprehensive long-range planning. Under Mayor Karl Carson’s initiative, a committee called “Planned Development for Quality” (PDQ), was formed. The name was later changed to “Designing Tomorrow Today” or “DT squared.”

“Design tomorrow today.”

In October 1970, DT reported projections up to the year 2000 concerning housing, transportation, education, employment, utilities, recreation, and social services. Task forces developed plans for public facilities and projects. On January 4, 1973, DT included: A new City Library; the Lincoln Community Center; Poudre River Parkway; land use planning and growth control; Transfort and Care-a-Van transportation systems; new parks; federally subsidized low income housing projects; sewer lines to Alta Vista and Andersonville; and restoration of the Avery House.

A popular park developed during the 1970s was the Lee Martinez Park, bordering the south bank of the Poudre River, west of the College Avenue bridge. The park was named after Librado “Lee” Martinez, a Fort Collins resident from 1906 until his death in 1970. Martinez was very active in community affairs. Shopping malls appeared in Fort Collins in the 1970s. The malls changed the face of the city and ended the downtown area’s dominance retail business. The major malls built during the decade were Foothills Fashion Mall, University Mall, and The Square, all off South College Avenue.

 

1980s: Growth

City planning continued as a major concern of the city of Fort Collins in the 1980s. Unincorporated border areas were a special problem. These areas often developed in ways inconsistent with standards established by the City, which created problems when these areas were annexed. To obtain some control over this development and avoid inefficient urban sprawl, the cities of Fort Collins and Loveland, joined by Larimer County, instituted the Urban Growth Area Plan in 1980. This plan designated a growth area boundary to accommodate expected development, provided guidelines for development within the boundary, established zoning regulations for development in the growth area, and contained an agreement which assured that land would be annexed by the appropriate adjacent city.

The development and restoration of downtown Fort Collins, a consideration begun in the 1970s, continued in the 1980s. In March 1981, voters created the Downtown Development Authority (DDA), made up of downtown property owners. Its board included one city council member. Their initial concerns were for parking and the undergrounding of utilities. The DDA supported projects with money from a five-mill tax levy in the DDA district and from tax revenue generated by new development. Projects the DDA has completed or supported included the parking garage on Mountain Avenue near Old Town and Old Town Square on Linden. Mitchell and Company of Denver revealed plans in 1981 for turning Old Town into a viable business district. 200,000 square feet of business space was included in the project, which sought to preserve historic buildings and build new structures compatible with them.

Increased growth was blamed, in part, for a two-thirds increase in felony crimes in Fort Collins between 1978 and 1981. One crime in Fort Collins that received worldwide attention in 1981 was the conviction of Eugene A. Tafoya for third-degree assault and conspiracy to commit third-degree assault. He had been charged with first-degree attempted murder and conspiracy. Investigators suspected that Tafoya had been hired by a former CIA agent to kill Faisal A. Zagallai, a Libyan dissident who had been critical of Mohammar Khadafy. However, there was not enough evidence to connect Tafoya with the agent.

 

To discover more about the decades and history of Fort Collins check out Fort Collins History Connection, the online collaboration between FCMoD and the Poudre River Public Library District: history.fcgov.com.

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Armistice: The eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month

Post written by Jenny Hannifin, Archive Research Assistant, and Doug Ernest, Archive Volunteer.

Join us on Thursday, November 8th, for World War I and Fort Collins: Exploring the John Hurdle Scrapbook in the OtterBox Digital Dome Theater to commemorate the “War to End All Wars” through the local lens of a remarkable scrapbook created by John Hurdle, a Fort Collins man who traveled to Europe and served on the Western Front with Artillery Battery A during The Great War.

Armistice:

On November 11, 1918, an armistice with Germany was signed in a railroad carriage at Compiègne. The ceasefire went into effect at 11am, and for the soldiers of Battery A, the war was effectively over.

“There was none of the cheering or the excitement, crying, weeping, hugging and slapping of shoulders that you would want to see. It is hard to express our feelings. We were tired.” Fort Collins Weekly Courier, December 27, 1918

H12036: WWI Red Cross Nurses in Parade on College Avenue, Fort Collins, Colorado, 1917

The fighting may have been over, but it would be many more months before the soldiers of Battery A returned home to Fort Collins.

Soldiers of the 66th Field Artillery Brigade (which included Battery A) were part of the occupation force in Germany. They spent a few weeks in Blercourt; on Thanksgiving were served a huge traditional dinner; on December 2 departed for Germany; and celebrated Christmas Day in Germany by opening six kegs of beer. They remained in the town of Hohr-Grenzhausen, near Koblenz, until late May 1919.

H00350: Charles Conrey (circa 1910), killed in action during WWI

Stories in Fort Collins newspapers in 1918 and 1919 reported the deaths of three men of Battery A. Charles Conrey was killed in action on October 10, 1918. Jesse Martin and Frank Niemeyer died of pneumonia while the unit was still in Europe. In addition to these three, John Hurdle’s album lists four other casualties: Louis H. Pinkham, Charles C. Moore, James Orendorf, and Walter G. Ridgeway.

“LeRoy Hafen’s Colorado and its People, Volume 1 (1949), page 540, reports that ‘1,009 [Colorado military personnel] were killed or died in service.’ … Many died of disease, including Walter Ridgeway of Battery A, felled by tuberculosis. … Ironically the number of war dead paled in comparison with the more than 7,783 Coloradans who died during the influenza pandemic which dealt death around the world mainly between September 1918 and early 1919.” (Colorado World War I Centennial Commission)

Battery A soldiers left Germany for France on May 26, 1919; departed France on June 3; and arrived in New York City on June 15. At Camp Mills, on June 19, their regiment was disbanded.  Batteries A, B, C, D, and E arrived at Colorado Springs on June 24 via train, and “the Regiment marched in parade amid the shouts and praises of the entire populace.” From there the soldiers went on to Denver, Fort Collins, and Cheyenne, where they received similar welcomes “and the appreciation from the citizens of our record on the fields of France.” By the end of June the batteries had been discharged from military service.

To learn more about what happened to our Fort Collins soldiers AFTER World War, check out the resources below. And visit the Archive!

Resources:

 

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Battery A: Second Battle of the Marne

Post written by Jenny Hannifin, Archive Research Assistant, and Doug Ernest, Archive Volunteer.

During four months in combat in World War I, Battery A took part in three major battles: the Second Battle of the Marne (July 15–August 6), the Battle of St. Mihiel (September 12–16), and the Battle of the Meuse-Argonne (September 26–November 11). The Meuse-Argonne remains the largest battle ever fought in American history, with 1.2 million American troops involved and a casualty roll of approximately 122,000 dead and wounded.

It is no exaggeration to say that the Fort Collins soldiers of Battery A had a significant role in World War I.

At the Second Battle of the Marne (also known as the Aisne-Marne Offensive) Battery A saw their first dead and wounded soldiers from both sides of the conflict, witnessed enemy aircraft circle overhead, and suffered deadly gas exposure.

In his history of Battery A’s Grande Puissance Filloux artillery piece, aka “Gila Monster,” Hurdle tells us that at the start of the German offensive, the GPF was in action for 72 hours. The barrel grew so hot that it could have fried steak and eggs and at times had to be filled with water to cool it.

H0096: Excerpt from Hurdle’s history of the GPF “Gila Monster,” with “steak and eggs” reference circled

The troops’ efforts in July and August of 1918 would significantly impact the future of the war. Whereas in the spring and early summer of 1918 the Germans had been on the attack, hoping to defeat the French and British before American troops arrived, the Second Battle of the Marne reversed that situation. From August 1918 until the end of the war, the Germans were on the defensive, and the Allies always moving forward.

An anonymous letter from a member of Battery A to the Rocky Mountain Collegian reported: “We counter-attacked right in the center of [the German] push, men met men, and after the hell stopped we held the River Marne’s south bank, and Paris, if not the world, was saved.” (“Battery A Actively Engaged in Fiercest of American Drives,” Rocky Mountain Collegian, January 2, 1919).

In a letter to The Weekly Courier (published August 16 but dated July 12), Hurdle writes “the doughboys here tell us that when the gas comes over, there are just two kinds of soldiers, ‘the quick and the dead’ … ” (page 2.)

Unfortunately, that deadly gas could spread almost instantaneously, and Hurdle was caught by it on August 10, near the village of Chery-Chartreuve. Though in serious condition due to gas exposure, he refused to be evacuated. His military Record Book shows him as having participated in battles until August 16, 1918, but not thereafter. It seems likely that the Army sent him to a rear area not just for further officer training (he had been promoted from corporal to sergeant in the summer of 1918), but also to allow him time to recuperate from the lingering effects of that terrible gas exposure.

H0108: Hurdle’s Officer’s Record Book, with gassing incident circled

 

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