The Story of Telstar and Fort Collins

By Barbara Cline, Archive Assistant – Processing, Fort Collins Museum of Discovery

Is there anything special about July 12, 1962?  I imagine there are several reasons for that date to be special.  According to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration article on their website, it was “The Day Information Went Global.”  It was the day that the world first witnessed communications via satellite.

On July 10, 1962, the first active communications satellite, Telstar, was launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida, aboard a Thor/Delta 316 rocket. 

A Thor/Delta 316 launches with the Telstar 1 satellite launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station’s Space Launch Complex 17B, July 10, 1962. Courtesy: NASA

The first transatlantic television signal was relayed via Telstar two days later on July 12, 1962, from Andover Earth Station, Maine, to Pleumeur-Bodou Telecom Center, Brittany, France.  Maine and France had the two tracking stations for Telstar.

Bell Laboratories – A Telstar 1 satellite, courtesy Bell Laboratories.

Though only operational for a few months, the Telstar satellite transmitted images from President John F. Kennedy’s press conference, short clips of sporting events and images of an American flag and Mount Rushmore.

The first telephone call via Telstar was between Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson and Fred Kappel, President of AT&T. 

“Good evening, Mr. Vice President,” Kappel said. “This is Fred Kappel calling from the Earth Station at Andover, Maine.  The call is being relayed through our Telstar satellite as I’m sure you know.  How do you hear me?”

“You’re coming through nicely, Mr. Kappel,” said Vice President Johnson.

Courtesy, The Coloradoan, 9/29/64

So, we see the beginning of the information age.  But what is the connection between Fort Collins and Telstar, you ask?  Let me tell you!

Telstar 2 was launched by NASA on May 7, 1963 and remained active for two years.  As part of a Memorial Day-Centennial event on May 21, 1964, Myron “Mike” M. Braden, president of the Fort Collins Rotary Club and Rotary district governor in Sweden, Percy Hallencruetz, spoke via Telstar 2.  By using the satellite, the Swedish Rotarian was able to express congratulations on the occasion of Fort Collins’ Centennial anniversary.  Mr. Hallencruetz tied the Centennial slogan to the use of Telstar in making this phone call:

“This is probably why we are making this call the way we are.  But I didn’t tell you, Mike, that this call is taking place by way of Telstar.  The most advanced means of communication in this fast-moving world of ours.  This is our way of helping you make your Centennial slogan come true:  Past Achievements Challenge the Future.  It’s an excellent slogan, and I cannot think of any better way to challenge the future, nor to fulfill the dreams of the past than to speak to you on this historic occasion through the reality of today’s modern communication achievement, the Telstar satellite.”

You can listen to the recording and see a transcript on our website

Courtesy The Coloradoan, May 24, 1964.

When you use your cell phones and other handheld devices, laptops, and televisions, you can proudly note that Fort Collins was at the forefront of the use of satellites.  And as you ponder this piece of local, national, and international history, you can listen on YouTube to “Telstar” by the Tornadoes.  Inspired by the first of the famous satellites, the pop song went to number one on the charts in both the United States and the United Kingdom.

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What’s new in our Archive and Collections?

Have you paid a visit to our Archive and Collections recently?

The Archive and Collections team is made up of a dedicated seven person team whose work keeps the stories of Fort Collins and the Front Range alive. Tasked with making discoveries every day, many of the tens of thousands of items housed at the museum come right from our community.

Recently, we caught up with Linda Moore, our Curator of Collections, to talk about what is going on at Fort Collins Museum of Discovery’s Archive and Collections.

Our Archive and Collections team is a regional touchpoint, connecting us to the past, and we love having them here. If you have questions for Archive and Collections, you can connect with them in a number of ways.

Hi Linda, can you give us an idea as to how much has been collected recently?

Linda: In 2021, we received 240 object donations, including 16 objects specific to the COVID-19 pandemic. We put together a website with a sampling of images of new donations.

What are the highlights from the recent collections efforts?

Other than objects that continue to come in representing the current and recently past COVID-19 pandemic, we received a large donation of T-shirts and pint glasses representing the Downtown Business Association’s evolving celebration of local brewing over the past 27 years or so. We received some timely objects from the presidential campaigns of 2020 and we also received handmade textiles created by local women in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

What is one of the most unique donations requests you’ve received?

We recently received a music writer – it is a typewriter that types musical notation. It’s about 50 years old and it helped automate music writing back in the day. It’s really special to be put in touch with objects like this.

How did it come about?

One of the inventors of it was in the Colorado State University music department and it came to us via that person.

That’s really interesting. How much of the collections come directly from the community like that?

We respond to Fort Collins community members’ offers of items to be donated. Occasionally we make a call-out to the community via social media for objects related to specific themes, like our recent request for objects and experiences related to the pandemic and actions in support of social justice. When we develop in-house exhibits we issue a call out for relevant objects our current collections lack.

The Archive and Collections has a great Facebook page, and your Wednesday “Hum? Ump Day Artifact” spotlight is a lot fun. Do you have a favorite Weekly “Huh? Ump Day Artifact?”

We love putting this page together. Sharing the artifacts out really allows us to get to know the people and places of Fort Collins in a really interesting way.

I personally really connect with the artwork made my Alice and Helen Dickerson. Just looking at their art makes me feel like we would have gotten along well. They are sisters and one of them makes pine needle baskets and the other one paints them.

Alice and Helen Dickerson were sisters born at the beginning of the 20th century who lived their lives together in a rustic and isolated cabin in Buckhorn Canyon. Both spent the winters making crafts which they sold at their store located in the canyon. Helen wove pine needle baskets, carved wood, designed jewelry, and crafted items using bits and pieces from nature. Alice especially enjoyed painting, which she did on nearly every surface imaginable—including many of Helen’s baskets. Origin Place Masonville, CO
Alice and Helen Dickerson were early twentieth century artists who painted pine needle baskets, carved wood, designed jewelry, and crafted items using bits and pieces from nature.

What is one of your favorite places in the museum besides Archive and Collections?

The café! There are always interesting folks and things going on in there. It’s where we end up doing our pop up crafts time to time, and it’s a great place to hang out.

Earlier this year you presented at the Bold Women, Change History symposium at History Colorado museum. Can you talk about that?

It was attended by a really diverse set of presenters, with people ranging from professional writers and historians to graduate students presenting at their first conference, on subjects as diverse as women’stravel clubs in the 1920s to a comprehensive history of access to birth control in America. The Archives and Collections team all went and we presented on themes from our collection on women’s history. It was fascinating – we learned so much and got great feedback on our presentations as well.

My presentation was about one of our larger object collections: the artwork and ephemera of local textile artist, Dorothy Udall. Her story is an inspiring demonstration of how object collections can be used to access histories that are underrepresented in our community’s written historical records.

Dorothy Udall in her printing studio.

I have to ask: do you believe bold women can change history?

Certainly, but I’d like to answer with a yes and no. The reason I say that is some of my favorite research and collections discoveries uncover people who were quiet and lived their lives in the way that were important to them. They didn’t make a huge splash, but they certainly made contributions.

What else has Archive and Collections done in the past year that you are proud of?

We love being involved with schools in our area, and we were excited to host classes from Compass Charter School while working on History Day entries in Collections. We also hosted a visit with Roots and Wings Preschool students with activities about collections and curation. We visited the resulting Shell Museum they created in their classroom. It was so lovely.

We’ve also recently received a $5,000 grant from the International Questers to support the conservation of a Northern Arapahoe-painted bison hide recently donated to the Object Collections. This is really special to all of our communities.

And in our continued work to spotlight community members, we create a video about Betty Herrmann, a major donor and volunteer to the Fort Collins Museum of Discovery Object Collections and elsewhere in the museum since the 1980s.


We also work to participate in the Día de Muertos Celebration. In keeping with the spirit of the Celebration, I created an altar honoring my father.

Please look for the next Día de Muertos Celebrating in the fall!

Finally, how can the community get involved in the collections?

Visit our galleries to view the many collections objects that make up our exhibits. You can always contact me to arrange a visit to Collections or to do research on a particular object or theme. It’s free.

As always, take a look through our online database of over 38,000 objects, available at https://history.fcgov.com/.

And you can always volunteer to help process donated objects and add them to our historic collections.

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The Neuroscience of Cooperation   

Post written by Jenny Hannifin, Archive Assistant

The Neuroscience of Cooperation     

Back in May 2020 we posted a blog called “The Neuroscience of Discovery.” Based on observations from The Brain in Context (by J.D. Moreno and J. Schulkin), that blog highlighted – in scientific terms – how our brains are wired for discovery and exploration. 

Turns out that our brains are also wired for cooperation and empathy. Here are a few excerpts from the book

  • “Perceiving another’s misfortune, their psychic or literal pain, requires a wide array of both cortical and sub cortical tissue.” (p 53-4)   
  • “Human evolution, like our cultural development, is marked by many neural/cognitive events, but social capabilities [are involved in] most of them.” (p 183)   
  •  “Cooperation is as critical as competition [in science], because we need to learn from one another and to develop new ideas.” (p 192)  

So, what does this mean to you and me? 

It means that humans evolved through expression of social behaviors, and through the integration of those behaviors within the very functioning of our brain.   

It means that adapting socially, and being good at interacting with others, is at the heart of our evolution as a species. 

It means that “although we may think of ourselves as individuals, the truth is that we are designed to work together, revealing our evolutionary drive toward social cooperation and our neurodevelopmental proclivity toward shared decision-making.” (Moreno and Schulkin p 199) 
 
It means that we are wired to cooperate, and to work at understanding each other.   
 
(If you want to learn more about recent developments in neuroscience, here’s a link to The Brain in Context: A Pragmatic Guide to Neuroscience by Jonathan D. Moreno and Jay Schulkin)

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From the Archive – Gems from a Local Diary

By Lesley Struc, Curator of the Archive at Fort Collins Museum of Discovery

I spent some time recently reading Fort Collins local Mary Hottel’s diary from Book I (1901-1906) of the Hottel collection.  Her work shares life experiences that are over 100 years old, giving us a glimpse of what it was like to be the daughter of Fort Collins’ first millionaire.

Her father Benjamin Hottel’s life is quite a story too, but one of starting up. He came to Fort Collins from Virginia in 1877 and worked in milling and developed a sugar factory, later becoming the president of Poudre Valley National Bank.

I only made it about halfway through this first book and found these gems from Mary’s life. They are insightful and humorous all these years later, so I’ve included some of my favorite quotes.

This collection is such a treasure trove, offering a personal look of the life of a very busy woman in Fort Collins at the turn of the 20th century. So far volunteers have scanned five dairies and transcribed seven – there are 14 in all, covering the years of 1901-1925.

The Poudre Valley National Bank, pictured in 1930

Thursday, December 11, 1902

Chick [Charles Davis, her boyfriend at the time] & I strolled downtown, then made fudge on our return – he had an old sweater on and was afraid to come in until the family went away.

Saturday March 21, 1903

Chick & I got in a big crowd at the Columbian musical tonight – The program was fine – Coming home

in the wash – ahem!!

we struck a regular blizzard & nearly froze stiff – Through pure ackwardness, [sic] while making fudge I spilled a lot of it on Chicks coat & felt too cheap for words – Hope it will all come out

Saturday, May 27, 1904

Went to the H.S. Alumni dance at Odd Fellows Hall tonight with Aida Ault & Ethel Avery. There was some sort of a programme first & then during the dance Roy came – So Mary Ann had an escort home – Considering the scarcity of men we had a real good time.

Odd Fellows Block, at 111 East Mountain, circa 1903

Friday, October 13, 1905

This afternoon Warren Bristol called & we had a good chat over old times. Tonight Bob Tedmon & I ploughed through mud & rain galore with  Anna Tedmon & Mr Baker of New York to the college dance at Odd Fellows. Had a corking time & just giggled continually. Lets pray I’ll still have a few more good times before I die.  [Mary was 22 years old at the time of this writing]

Tuesday, November 7, 1905

After I made seven calls this afternoon, Roy stopped in for a long chat & to inform me had to work so hard wouldn’t be down until Sunday. Oh he is the worst tease & his ability  seems to be on the increase Anna Tedmon appeared this noon with an invitation for me to accompany acrowd of ladies to see the play “Wyoming” tonight [at the Opera House]. But upon discovering that the party was to be composed almost entirely of married women, I refused.

The Opera House business block, from 1908

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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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Women of Fort Collins: Carmen Johnson

Women of Fort Collins: Carmen Johnson

Get inspired!

For the 4th year in a row, the Collections and Archives staff of Fort Collins Museum of Discovery are sharing stories and photographs of notable Fort Collins women. Discover the paths of many local luminaries with inspirational video presentations full of historic images, audio recordings, and fascinating information!

This Episode: Carmen Johnson

Carmen Johnson spent twenty-three years as Larimer County’s Home Demonstration agent for the Extension Service. This presentation talks about her life and just what home demonstration was.

Ready for more? You can learn about other amazing people of Fort Collins and Northern Colorado in the Archive at FCMoD! Visit fcmod.org/research for more information.

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Women of Fort Collins: Betty Herrmann

Women of Fort Collins: Betty Herrmann

Get inspired!

For the 4th year in a row, the Collections and Archives staff of Fort Collins Museum of Discovery are sharing stories and photographs of notable Fort Collins women. Discover the paths of many local luminaries with inspirational video presentations full of historic images, audio recordings, and fascinating information!

This Episode: Betty Herrmann

Betty Herrmann left a legacy at the Fort Collins Museum of Discovery through her work, donations, and the impact she had on the people there.

Ready for more? You can learn about other amazing people of Fort Collins and Northern Colorado in the Archive at FCMoD! Visit fcmod.org/research for more information.

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Women of Fort Collins: Elfreda Stebbins

Women of Fort Collins: Elfreda Stebbins

Get inspired!

For the 4th year in a row, the Collections and Archives staff of Fort Collins Museum of Discovery are sharing stories and photographs of notable Fort Collins women. Discover the paths of many local luminaries with inspirational video presentations full of historic images, audio recordings, and fascinating information!

This Episode: Elfreda Stebbins

Elfreda Stebbins, graduate of the library school at the Drexel Institute in Philadelphia, became our city’s first librarian in 1903. Throughout her 28-year career, she served as a force for literacy and culture in Fort Collins.

Ready for more? You can learn about other amazing people of Fort Collins and Northern Colorado in the Archive at FCMoD! Visit fcmod.org/research for more information.

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Women of Fort Collins: Isabelle Knopf

Women of Fort Collins: Isabelle Knopf

Get inspired!

For the 4th year in a row, the Collections and Archives staff of Fort Collins Museum of Discovery are sharing stories and photographs of notable Fort Collins women. Discover the paths of many local luminaries with inspirational video presentations full of historic images, audio recordings, and fascinating information!

This Episode: Isabelle Knopf

Fort Collins native Isabelle Knopf worked at Heart Mountain Japanese Internment Camp during World War II. As a single mother, she had various jobs before having a long career with the U. S. Department of Agriculture.

Ready for more? You can learn about other amazing people of Fort Collins and Northern Colorado in the Archive at FCMoD! Visit fcmod.org/research for more information.

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Women of Fort Collins: Virginia Corbett

Women of Fort Collins: Virginia Corbett

Get inspired!

For the 4th year in a row, the Collections and Archives staff of Fort Collins Museum of Discovery are sharing stories and photographs of notable Fort Collins women. Discover the paths of many local luminaries with inspirational video presentations full of historic images, audio recordings, and fascinating information!

This Episode: Virginia Corbett

Virginia Corbett came to Colorado Agricultural College in 1900 to teach literature and history. She was a passionate advocate for college women for over 30 years and taught briefly at Ginling College, Nanjing, China in the 1920s.

Ready for more? You can learn about other amazing people of Fort Collins and Northern Colorado in the Archive at FCMoD! Visit fcmod.org/research for more information.

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