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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Time Travel: 1910s – 1940s

Post written by Alex Ballou, Marketing & Design Assistant. 

Time Travel: 1910s – 1940s

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.

 

1910s: Development

The 1910s were turbulent for Fort Collins, as for the rest of the world. The first world war dominated the news of the latter half of the decade. However, there were also many important civic developments. Among these was the city’s change to a commission form of government in 1913.

Also important to the town’s continued development was the sugar industry, which continued as the dominant economic force of the area. In September 1919, The Fort Collins Express noted that an estimated twenty million dollars had been paid for sugar beets in Larimer County in over a period of seventeen years.

College students built and whitewashed the “Aggie A” on a hillside west of town in 1912. Three years later the school and the town celebrated the football team’s first conference championship. The Fort Collins Express expected the title to bring more students and prestige to the school and consequently benefit the town. Annually, the “Aggie A” is still painted by college students.

   

1920s: Prospering

Despite a generally depressed farm economy after World War I, Larimer County farmers were comparatively prosperous. The Fort Collins Express-Courier (the two local papers combined in 1920) claimed that no other county in Colorado fed as many sheep and cattle as did Larimer County.

Beet growers were also still doing well. An attractive contract in 1925 between Great Western Sugar Company and the Mountain States Beet Growers Marketing Association guaranteed eight dollars per ton plus incentive bonuses.

Larimer County was also prospering industrially. It ranked third among Colorado counties in manufacturing. Most of the factories were in or near Fort Collins. The biggest producers were the sugar factory and the Ideal Cement plant built in 1927 near La Porte.

“History is the whole series of past events.”

History contains the good, bad, and ugly – and the 1920s witnessed a resurgence of the Ku Klux Klan in Colorado. The Klan gained control of state politics during the early part of the decade and had many men in elective and appointive offices. Klansmen in Fort Collins could be found in courthouse offices and city hall. During one rally, sheet-covered KKK members marched from North College Avenue to Lincoln Park. However, the Klan did not place a significant number of its people into local public offices. Its influence faded during the latter half of the decade.

A political figure on the rise, Franklin D. Roosevelt, visited Fort Collins in 1920 on a campaign tour as a vice-presidential candidate, and spoke from the courthouse steps against increasing the Navy and for the League of Nations.

 

1930s: Depression

The Great Depression of the 1930s worsened an already dismal situation. A farm economy which had been depressed since the end of World War I sank even lower as prices fell to new lows for agricultural commodities. Drought during the first half of the decade, combined with a grasshopper plague, added to the hardships, especially for plains farmers, many of whose crops were lost.

In the Fort Collins area, the water shortage became so severe that the city banned the use of water from the waterworks system for lawns and gardens in September 1934. The Cache la Poudre River was said to be at the lowest level known since settlement of the valley. In March 1935, the city council approved a watering rule which allowed townspeople to water their lawns one day per week.

The Extension Service of Colorado Agricultural College played a vital role in providing relief to afflicted farmers. Extension personnel helped to gather and distribute food, protect crops from grasshoppers, and promoted tree cultivation. The Extension Service also participated in the development of several New Deal programs. The College’s Experiment Station also worked to alleviate the effects of the drought and grasshoppers and conducted other beneficial projects.

 

1940s: Defense

The war in Europe, which began in 1939, had almost immediate effects in Fort Collins.In October 1940, 3,881 Larimer County men registered for Selective Service. A national draft was held at the end of the month. Battery A, of the 168th Field Artillery and Medical Detachment, was inducted into the U. S. Army in February 1941.

Because of Colorado State College’s tradition of supplying military instruction, an R. O. T. C. program, and pilot training, its former students contributed heavily to the war effort. More than eighty former C. S. C. students died in the war. The College’s faculty also took part. Over one-third of the male teaching and research staff served in the armed forces or as advisers to the military. Several members of the faculty aided in weapons research, including work on the atom bomb. The College’s Extension Service and Experiment Station worked to maximize food production.

Fort Collins women took part in defense training classes which taught skills needed for war industries. Although excluded from foundry work, women were included in classes for welding, machine shop and sheet metal work.

 

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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National Authors Day: Barbara Fleming

Post written by Alex Ballou, Marketing & Design Assistant. 

National Authors Day

Fort Collins Museum of Discovery had the honor of interviewing local author, Barbara Fleming. Barbara, a Colorado native, was interested in history and reading historical novels at a young age. When she went to college at Colorado State University, she studied English and writing. Barbara then ventured out to work as a journalist, teacher, and finally found herself writing books of her own in the 1980s.

Barbara sat down with staff for an interview in honor of National Authors Day on November 1st. The following interview has been edited for length and clarity.

  1. Tell us a little bit about yourself and your connection to FCMoD?

I am a native of Fort Collins. I have always been a lover of history. When I retired, and we moved back to Fort Collins, my late husband and I, I started writing the historical column for the now Fort Collins Weekly which became Fort Collins Now, in the meantime I had been contacted by a company called Arcadia publishing about writing historical books. So, I got together with a friend of mine, Mac McNeill, and we put together Fort Collins: The Miller Photographs and in the course of writing that I got even more interested in the history of my hometown because it is rich and fascinating. So, when the Weekly went out of business, I contacted the Coloradoan and started writing the column for them. Doing that brought me to the Archive multiple times before and after it was moved to the Fort Collins Museum of Discovery (FCMoD). I was well acquainted with [the archivists] back in the basement of the Carnegie building, where the Archive used to be, and am still now acquainted with the archivists at FCMoD. So, I have been coming to the Archive for a very long time.

“The history of [Fort Collins] is rich and fascinating.”

  1. What inspired you to become a writer?

I was always a writer. I started writing, almost, well actually before I started school and I taught myself to read when I was four years old. When I was young I was going to be like Jo March from little women – I was going to be sitting in a garret and eating apples and writing famous books. Didn’t quite work out that way, I had to earn a living, so instead I started teaching English. I did write a book in 1983, which is called, Fort Collins a Pictorial History, which is a hard-back book that is now out of print. And subsequently I wrote from time to time about various topics for various publications. It was not until I came back here that I started to devote more time. I went to college at CSU. My late husband Tom and I lived in Denver for a time and I taught at various community colleges as an adjunct English teacher. But I was always a writer.

  1. How did the process of writing your first book, Journeying, go?

Journeying was the first book I published without a co-author. Then I published a couple more: Legendary Locals of Fort Collins, Fort Collins A History, and Hidden History of Fort Collins. The process included a lot of research, and a lot of pondering. But when I write a novel – and I have written several, even though only two have been published – I just wait for the characters to find out what they are going to do, that’s hard to describe if you’re not a writer, but writers understand that. Journeying is historical fiction. The others I have written are more contemporary, but who knows if they will ever see the light of day, it’s hard to say.

  1. Now that you’ve been published, is there anything you wish you would have known before?

I think any writer can look at anything he or she has published and would like to do it all over again. We can see the flaws even if other people can’t. But, no, when your writing you reach a point that I quit that’s it and enough is enough and you let it go because you have to. So, no there is not anything that I wish I would have known before.

  1. What are some books you would recommend for locals to learn about Fort Collins history?

History of Larimer County Colorado by Ansel Watrous – it’s not a book you sit down and read, but a book you can take in bits and pieces of. And a book that ought to be in any serious historian’s library. And Fort Collins Yesterdays by Evadene Swanson as well as and John Gray’s book The Story of Camp and Fort Collins: Calvary and Coaches, which I would love to own (but if I got it through ebay or somewhere it would cost me almost $300 so I can’t do that). The Wrecking Ball of Progress by Wayne Sundberg is a good video to understand about historic preservation. The museum has done a video about the history of Fort Collins and that’s a good one too. I don’t listen to podcasts so can’t recommend one. There is a digital newspaper state collection online, Colorado historic newspapers, which goes from beginning of newspapers of the 1860s to 1924, that they have all been digitized.

  1. What role would you like to see museums like FCMoD play in helping prepare young people for a career in STEAM related fields?

Anything that can get them engaged is of value. Young people are – well I can’t make generalizations – I feel young people can be somewhat disaffected, and not as involved with the world around them as we – or I – would like them to be. Anything a museum, or anyplace really, does that reaches young people and encourages them to be engaged and hands-on is of value. The arts are critical to the survival of a culture. We need art.

“Anything a museum does that reaches young people and encourages them to be engaged & hands-on is of value.”

  1. FCMoD’s archive has multiple of your books in our collections. How does it feel to have your story preserved in a museum?

I think it’s very gratifying. I think the more information we can share about history the better. To me, history is not just dates and events – and that’s the way it is usually taught. And so, a lot of people say they hate history and say it is boring. History is people and their stories. And so, I don’t record history. I tell stories. And there is a huge difference between the two. So, I am pleased if my stories are there for future generations.

  1. What do you wish people would ask you about writing?

Hmm…  I think rather than having people ask me about writing, because it is such an individual task, I would like to be able to encourage people to write, whether they think they are good writers or not, because everyone has stories to tell and we ought to share our stories. So even if you do nothing more as an older person than write out significant events in your life, you are telling a story and that is what is important. I would love to think that such ideas and information are being shared by younger generations. One of the things I do is through the Partnership for Age- Friendly Communities- a formal nonprofit organization. They publish a blog once a month called Graceful Aging that is written by older people whose stories are told about their experiences of aging. Our goal is to reach young people to help them understand what it feels like to be old and what kind of experiences we had and what we share; to touch them in some way.

  1. Here at FCMoD, we tell the stories of Northern Colorado. Part of the museum’s vision is to inspire inquisitive thinkers. What advice do you have for the future journalists, writers, authors and dreamers of the world?

Well for writers, first of all, write about what you know, write from your own life and experience and it will expand as you begin to write to the world around you.

For dreamers, I think anything is possible, the world is changing so rapidly, so intensely, that we sometimes, I feel that I am on a merry-go-round, going around and around, faster than I can keep up with. I think you just have to grab the brass ring and believe anything is possible… because look how far we’ve come.

In my lifetime, it’s astounding, we have gone from communication by telephone – when I was growing up we had a party line – to this; to the internet. It is astounding what has happened, even in the last twenty years. I think it is because people keep dreaming, and I think people need to keep dreaming. Writers should know though that making a living writing is tough, really tough. I couldn’t live on my writing. I travel on it, but I couldn’t live on it. Unless you’re really lucky or if you’re JK Rowling or James Patterson, you’re not going to make a living. But that should not deter them from writing because there are always stories to share. And I think we do not share enough.

“I think you just have to grab the brass ring and believe anything is possible… because look how far we’ve come.”

Thank you to Barbara for her time and for sharing her stories!

To find out more about Barbara’s books and to hear more from a local author follow: www.authorbarbarafleming.com

Barbara will also be at a book signing December 1st at JAX Outdoor for their annual author day celebration.

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American Archives Month

Post written by staff members at Fort Collins Museum of Discovery.

Did you know October is American Archives Month?

American Archives Month is a nationwide event that presents an opportunity to communicate to people that historical materials important to them are being properly preserved, cataloged, cared for, and made accessible by trained archivists, archives assistants, interns, and volunteers.

On October 16th, the Curator of the Archive at Fort Collins Museum of Discovery (FCMoD), Lesley Struc, will attend the Fort Collins City Council Meeting for a special proclamation. Mayor Wade Troxell will proclaim October 2018 to be American Archives Month in the City of Fort Collins!

At Fort Collins Museum of Discovery, the Archive serves as a free and open resource for people of all ages to learn about the local history of their families, homes, and communities, so we can understand and strengthen our collective memory and reflect on our shared past.

The Archive fosters discovery. Whether you are writing a research paper on local history, are interested in seeing what Old Town looked like 100 years ago, or are viewing local high school yearbooks – the Archive at FCMoD is the place to study firsthand facts, data, and evidence from letters, diaries, reports, scrapbooks, rare books, maps, newspapers, oral histories, and many other primary sources that elucidate the story of Fort Collins. No appointment is necessary to visit the Archive (open Tuesday through Saturday from 10:00 am to 12:00 pm, and 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm), but if you have specific questions, contact the Archive staff or Curator of the Archive prior to your visit so we can better assist you. Access to many resources from the Archive’s collection is also available through the Fort Collins History Connection website (history.fcgov.com), an online collaboration between the Poudre River Public Library District and FCMoD.

Celebrate American Archives Month by visiting the Archive at FCMoD today. What will you discover? For more information visit fcmod.org/research.

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The Founding Mother of Fort Collins

Post written by Alex Ballou, Marketing & Design Assistant.

On September 8th, 2018 we will celebrate Elizabeth “Auntie” Stone’s birthday at her cabin.

Who is this woman who danced the night away, cooked for her neighbors, and who co-operated the first flour mill?

She is Fort Collins’ very own Elizabeth “Auntie” Stone, the “Founding Mother of Fort Collins.”

Elizabeth “Auntie” Stone

In 1862, Elizabeth Stone and her husband Lewis Stone traveled from Minnesota to Denver, Colorado in a covered wagon pulled by milk cows. In 1864 they moved to the frontier post that eventually grew into the Fort Collins we know today. There they built a log cabin to serve as both their private residence and an officers’ mess. In 1867 Auntie converted the officers’ mess into a public hotel.

The Stone Cabin

Elizabeth, in her sixties at the time, cooked meals and baked goodies for the officers. Since she was so kind and hospitable, the soldiers of the post came to call her “Auntie” Stone, since she was like family to them. Elizabeth was the first non-native woman to permanently locate in Fort Collins. The community often referred to her as “dear old lady.” She was well-liked, and her cabin served as the first school house in Fort Collins.

The First School House

The Fort of Fort Collins was decommissioned in 1867, but that’s when Elizabeth hit her peak as a businesswoman. With her business partner Henry Clay Peterson, she started Lindell Mills, the town’s first flour mill. She and Peterson also started and the first brick factory in Fort Collins.

Lindell Flour Mills

She was again in the hotel business. Auntie first ran the Pioneer Hotel out of her cabin, and then bought the Blake House hotel in 1873. She also ran the Cottage House, a small hotel made from bricks from her factory, until age 80, when her daughter Theodosia Van Brunt arrived to take over.

Blake House

Auntie Stone was a woman of energy. In 1882, for her 81st birthday, townspeople and four generations of the Stone family held a dance in her honor at the Masonic Hall. Everyone thought she would tire and turn in early. Instead, she cooked breakfast for everyone the next morning at 5:00 am, without any sleep.

“Auntie was a woman of the people.” 

Painting of Fort Collins in the 1880s created by local artist Frank Miller in 1945

When she passed away in 1895, at age 94, the firehouse tower bell tolled 94 times in honor of each year of her life. The Auntie Stone cabin is cited as the oldest building in Fort Collins. After her death, women’s societies in Fort Collins preserved her home as the first home in Fort Collins. Her cabin has survived three moves—it now sits at the Heritage Courtyard on Mathews Street in Library Park.

Present-day Elizabeth “Auntie” Stone Cabin

Auntie Stone was beloved in her own time, and still is today. It is theorized that Elizabeth Street is named in her memory. Auntie Stone Street is also named in her honor. There is a restaurant inside Fort Fun called Auntie Stone’s Kitchen that follows the example of her fabulous hospitality. She’s inspired living history interpreters, educational programs in her cabin, and even an Auntie Stone doll.

Auntie Stone influenced the movement for women’s rights, the production of flour, and she transformed the community through her kindness and hospitality. We are excited to celebrate her memory. Let’s keep the party going that Auntie started on her 81st birthday. Ain’t no party like an Auntie Stone party! Join us on September 8th to celebrate Auntie Stone’s 217th birthday in her very own historic cabin. Learn the Virginia Reel dance, decorate your own brick (after all, Auntie Stone owned the first brick kiln in Fort Collins!), and, of course, eat some birthday cake! We’ll have our two other historic cabins and our 1905 schoolhouse open for exploration, too!

Sources:

Photos from the Archive
https://history.fcgov.com/explore/stone

Auntie Stone’s Kitchen

 

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Tree City USA

Post written by Alex Ballou, Marketing & Design Assistant.

Did you know that Fort Collins is an Arbor Foundation’s Tree City USA? And that we have been a Tree City USA for over 40 years?

What is Tree City USA?

The Tree City USA program has been greening cities in America since 1976. The Tree City USA program has the potential to positively transform how communities see themselves. The Tree City USA program recognizes cities for basic tree care efforts and activities they are doing to keep their residents safe, increase their community’s livability, and build community spirit. Healthy trees “advertise” a healthy community, and the Tree City USA program helps a community display that it values improving its trees on behalf of its residents.

How did we become a Tree City USA?

To certify as a Tree City USA a city needs to meet these four standards within a calendar year:

Standard 1 requires that a city have a tree committee or urban forestry department.  For many cities, the tree committee is a sub-committee of an existing commission. The formation of a tree board often stems from a group of citizens. Standard one identifies the people, or department, who are responsible for the policies and procedures related to a city’s publicly owned trees, such as those along roadways and in parks. Involving residents and business owners creates wide awareness of what trees do for the community and provides broad support for better tree care. The Forestry staff of Fort Collins maintains more than 40,000 city property trees.

Standard 2 requires that a city have a tree care ordinance. No city needs to regulate tree care or tree removal off private property to meet this Standard. The tree board or forestry department has responsibility for public tree care (as reflected in Standard 1).

Standard 3 requires a $2 per capita expenditure on tree care and an annual urban forestry plan. This Standard is all about keeping records and being accountable to a cities residents. It is a way of showing how your city proactively manages it trees for the safety of its residents and beauty of the city. This expenditure goal doesn’t need to be a line item in a city’s budget. Volunteer time, contracted services for tree care and removal can also be included, as can the costs of leaf pick up and tree-related software purchase.

Standard 4 requires an Arbor Day observation and proclamation. Your city does not have to do this on National Arbor Day, but any time during the calendar year. Citizens join to celebrate the benefits of community trees and the work accomplished to plant and maintain them.

Why be a Tree City USA?

Tree City USA is a nationwide movement that provides communities with direction, assistance, and national recognition for their community. It doesn’t relate to federal funding for state urban forestry efforts. State foresters are not paid by the Arbor Day Foundation to administer the program, but we do so because we see a lot of value in the simple urban forestry framework the Tree City USA program provides.

Fort Collins is proud to have been a Tree City USA for over 40 years.

 

“Someone is sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.” -Warren Buffett

 

 

CSU Arboretum

Adding to Fort Collins as Tree City USA is the CSU Arboretum. The arboretum at CSU has the largest collections of woody plants in Fort Collins with over 1,100 different taxa represented. In 2017, 79 different woody plants were donated from 8 different nurseries arboreta, USDA, and other state experiment stations. Most plants are labeled with scientific and common names listed on it. In the southeast corner of the arboretum, a Plant Select® demonstration garden is planted. In this planting current and future woody and herbaceous Plant Select® endorsements, introductions or original plants are planted. Plant Select® is a joint plant introduction program between Colorado State University, Denver Botanic Gardens and the Green Industry of Colorado.

 

Celebrate Fort Collins being Tree City USA at the museum! Join us for Museum Takeover: Tremendous Trees on September 15th.

 

Sources:

www.fcgov.com/forestry/

landscapeplants.agsci.colostate.edu/arboretum/

www.arborday.org/PROGRAMS/treecityusa/treecities.cfm?chosenstate=Colorado

 

Photo courtesy of Visit Fort Collins Colorados’ Website: www.visitftcollins.com/csu

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Diamond T Fire Truck

Post written by Kristin Rush, Marketing & Communications Manager. 

History speaks to us from many sources. From words and pictures we construct images of the past. But no source is more alive than the legacy we can still see and touch for ourselves. And so it is with the Diamond T Fire Truck.

The Diamond T was a mainstay of the Fort Collins municipal fire department from 1937 to 1963. When the department’s original ladder truck was damaged in a collision in 1937, City Council approved the $1,234.85 necessary to purchase a Diamond T chassis. Without delay, the firefighters sprang into action. They repaired and remodeled the body from the wrecked truck and installed it on the new Diamond T chassis. As shiny as a newly minted coin, bearing 287 feet of ladder and 237 different tools, the Diamond T, Truck No. 3, found its home in the Walnut Street Fire Station.

The Diamond T reached the end of its fire-fighting days in the 1960s when newer equipment pushed aside the old. It was sold to Lake County in 1963. In 1981, after years of languishing in the elements, the deteriorated Diamond T was sold to a private individual, who then sold it to the Fort Collins Museum for $685.

In 1994 the Fort Collins Museum and retired fire chief Ed Yonker [pictured below] initiated a campaign to restore the Diamond T, which was designated a Local Landmark in 1996. Local citizens, businesses and the Colorado Historical Society State Historical Fund all contributed to the effort to breathe new life into the Diamond T and restore it to its 1952 appearance.

The restoration process was completed over the course of a year by the Colorado Artifact Conservation Center (CACC) in Ordway, Colorado. The truck was completely taken apart, rewired, repaired, rebuilt and rechromed piece by piece. The restoration crew is pictured with the Diamond T below.

Poudre Fire Authority Lead Mechanic, Jim Mirowski, rebuilt and installed the Diamond T’s engine. Although much of the original vehicle was preserved, its dilapidated condition required the use of some parts salvaged from other Diamond T’s. The tires and upholstery are reproductions.

Our history tells us who we are, and preserving it sharpens our understanding and sense of direction. Preserving the Diamond T, saving it from near extinction, helps us stay in touch with a century of fire-fighting lore, and the small town ingenuity which found ways to adopt the Diamond T to ever-changing needs.

“Our history tells us who we are.”

The Fort Collins Museum of Discovery will continue to care for the Diamond T and all the other objects within its trust, preserving them for generations to come.

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Battery A: Before the Battle

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

In May of 1918, Battery A soldiers were stationed at training camps at Libourne and Castillon, near Bordeaux, France.

In letters published in local newspapers in May and June of 1918, John Hurdle described the French locals, visits to nearby castles and dungeons, and eating doughnuts back at Battery A. He also mentions the issuance of helmets and artillery, although censorship kept him from describing the 155 mm GPFs (Grande Puissance Filloux) in detail.

Here are excerpts from the May 1918 letter written by Hurdle and published in the Fort Collins Weekly Courier:

“Our quarters and office are right in the middle of town in the front of a boys’ school building. …We have a nice bed of violets, carnations and tulips in the yard … We are the first American troops to stop here and the people treat us grand … The country here is much better than the part we just left; has large “chateaus” and well kept fields and excellent roads. … About two miles from here is what the natives call the oldest town in France. I went over, saw a lot of old castles and dungeons which they say were built about 300 A.D.” (Friday, May 31, 1918)

“We have finally drawn our own guns … Capt. Coffin would have no trouble at all in killing one of Dora’s pet milk cows with the gun set up in our back yard at 400. … We have also drawn helmets which we are told are shrapnel proof. They are not much from a beauty standpoint but they are excellent for rainy weather and can be used for wash pan, cuspidor, frying pan or foot tub with very satisfactory results.” (Friday, May 31, 1918)

A letter written by Vance Lough was also published in the Fort Collins newspaper. Lough, formerly the proprietor of Poudre Valley Dairy, was now a truck driver with Battery A. He described the French countryside, and went on to note “The boys [of the Battery] are becoming good Frenchmen so far as drinking wine is concerned.”

Despite the excursions recounted by Hurdle and Lough, the real work of the unit continued day after day: firing the 155 mm GPFs, transporting guns by convoy, marching, and practicing the use of gas masks. The time for drills and practice was nearing its end: On July 4, 2018, the 148th moved northward, and on July 6 they heard the sound of firing for the first time. The men of the Colorado batteries were about to take part in their first battle.

Next post:  Second Battle of the Marne

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Earth Day 1970

Post written by Jenny Hannifin, Archive Research Assistant.

On April 21, 1970, the Coloradoan’s above-the-fold front page was dedicated to Earth Day stories: a national AP piece (“Key is local participation”), a picture of an electric car at CSU (“Electric car part of environmental teach-in at CSU”), and a few inches about students advocating for a cleaner environment (“CSU students sign national interdependence declaration”).

This year marked the first Earth Day celebration. According to the AP article above, Earth Day grew out of a suggestion made by Senator Gaylord Nelson, D-Wis.

The text accompanying the electric car photo notes “the automobile is powered by a 15 horsepower electric motor and 20 six-volt batteries. Before modification the car weighed 1,775 pounds. It now weighs 4,160 pounds. … The car has a driving range between 70 and 120 miles before recharging. The batteries can be charged up to 800 times. Replacement cost of the batteries is estimated at $600.”

Compare these to the specs for the Tesla Model 3 (long range sedan):  271 horsepower, 75 kWh 350V lithium-ion battery, weight 3,838 pounds, driving range 310 miles, battery charge time 12 hours at 220V.

The 1970 article doesn’t mention how long it took to charge the battery, which remains one of the biggest practical obstacles today to committing to an electric car. According to NREL, approximately 8,600 plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) were registered in Colorado as of the end of 2016. According to Bloomberg New Energy Finance, by 2020 over 120 electric vehicle models will be available to consumers, including the Chevrolet Bolt, Tesla Model 3, and 2nd generation Nissan Leaf.

Here’s the Department of Energy listing of charging stations in Colorado. We are so pleased that FCMoD is included.

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