Daily Discovery: Baking with History – Mrs. Budrow’s Cream Puffs/ Descubrimiento en casa: Recetas con historia – Bocaditos de nata por la Señora Budrow

Post written by Charlotte Conway, Public Programs Coordinator.

Daily Discovery: Baking with History – Mrs. Budrow’s Cream Puffs

Mrs. Budrow’s Boston Cream Puffs recipe comes from a cookbook  called Our Best Receipts. The women of the First Baptist Church of Fort Collins, Colorado published the book in 1896. Filled with recipes developed by locals, advertisements for markets, medicines, and “toilet goods,” as well as information about the state agricultural college – what we now call Colorado State University!

Read about Caroline Budrow and grab a parent to try out her recipe!

Mrs. Budrow’s Boston Cream Puffs Recipe

Caroline (Carrie) Gamble married James Theodore Budrow in 1882 and they lived in Fort Collins for many years, where James was a county clerk and in the real estate business. They had three children, and eventually moved to Hollywood, California where they managed an “apartment hotel.” Caroline died in 1940 in California, and James died in 1943 in Pennsylvania. Carrie was involved in the Columbian Club and other civic affairs in Fort Collins. She’s often mentioned in the society pages from the old Fort Collins newspapers, entertaining guests or attending luncheons.

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.

Image credit: foodonthefood.com

 

Traducido por Károl de Rueda y Laura Vilaret-Tuma.

Descubrimiento en casa: Recetas con historia – Bocaditos de nata por la Señora Budrow

La receta para bocaditos de nata, de crema, o “boston cream puffs” de la Sra. Budrow, se descubrieron en un libro de cocina titulado Our Best Receipts (Nuestros mejores recibos). Las mujeres de la primera iglesia baptista de Fort Collins, Colorado, publicaron este libro en el año de 1896, y está compuesto de recetas desarrolladas por la población local, y también de anuncios para mercados, medicinas, y artículos de tocador. También contiene información sobre el Colegio Universitario de Agricultura de Fort Collins –mejor conocido hoy en día como Colorado State University, o CSU.

Lee sobre Caroline Budrow y, con la ayuda de un adulto, ¡prueba su receta!

La historia de la Sra. Budrow y su receta de los bocaditos de nata

Caroline (Carrie) Gamble se casó con James Theodore Budrow en 1882 y vivieron en Fort Collins por muchos años. Durante este tiempo, James fue un empleado del condado y también trabajó en el negocio inmobiliario. Tuvieron tres hijos y eventualmente se mudaron a Hollywood, California, donde fueron los administradores de un complejo de apartamentos. Caroline falleció en el año de 1940 en California, y James en 1943 en Pennsylvania. Carrie estuvo muy involucrada en el Columbian Club (un club para mujeres) y en otros asuntos cívicos en Fort Collins. Era a menudo mencionada entre las páginas de sociales en periódicos antiguos locales; usualmente estaba entreteniendo invitados o asistiendo a banquetes.

Receta original para hacer bocaditos de nata por la Sra. Budrow:

Para hacer la masa:
Pon a calentar 1 taza de agua junto con 2/3 tazas de mantequilla. Cuando estén hirviendo, agrégale 1 ½ tazas de harina de trigo y mezcla. Continúa mezclando hasta que se convierta en una masa uniforme y no se pegue a los lados de la olla. Retírala de la estufa y déjala enfriar. Agrégale 5 huevos batidos y mezcla hasta que estén completamente incorporados en la masa. Haz unas bolitas y colócalas sobre una bandeja bien engrasada. Hornea por unos 15 minutos a 190ºC (375ºF). *

Para hacer la nata:
La nata o crema requiere 2 tazas de leche. Pon a calentar la mitad de la leche, y reserva 2 cucharadas de esta para agregárselas a los huevos. Obtén una taza pequeña de harina, y viértela sobre la leche caliente, revolviendo hasta que la mezcla esté más densa que una crema. Aparte, bate 2 cucharadas de leche con 2 huevos, 1 taza de azúcar, una cucharadita de mantequilla, y una cucharadita de vainilla. Agrega gradualmente a la crema y continúa mezclando hasta que vuelvas a conseguir una textura cremosa. Cuando enfríe, rellena el pan horneado con nata, ¡y disfruta!

*En esos tiempos, muy pocas estufas eran completamente eléctricas, y por lo tanto no tenían indicadores de temperatura. Estas estufas quemaban madera, y solo panaderos  experimentados podrían adivinar la temperatura correcta para hornear. La temperatura de un horno “rápido” o quick oven, como se les solía llamar, se encuentra entre los 190ºC (375ºF) y los 230ºC (450ºF).

¿Te gustaría descargar esta actividad? Haz clic aquí para obtener un archivo PDF.

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Daily Discovery: Baking with History – Fort Collins Brownies/ Descubrimiento en casa: Recetas con historia – bizcochos de chocolate (brownies) de Fort Collins

Post written by Charlotte Conway, Public Programs Coordinator.

Daily Discovery: Baking with History – Fort Collins Brownies

Have you ever had trouble getting a brownie recipe to rise? High altitude baking requires special adjustments to get the same results as lower altitudes. Lucky for us, people from FoCo history have already developed recipes perfect for baking in our Colorado high altitude.

Learn about Dr. Inga Allison, a figure from Fort Collins history, who developed the science for high altitude baking, and then grab a parent to help you bake through history!

Dr. Inga Allison’s High Altitude Brownies Recipe

Inga Allison joined the Home Economics Department at Fort Collins’ Colorado Agriculture College from 1903 to 1908, at a time when several faculty members were starting to study the unique effects of high altitude on both crop growth and food preparation. Lacking an established lab, Allison conducted her experiments in cooking at altitude with improvised equipment in challenging conditions – baking, for example, in a rough Estes Park shanty located at 11,800 feet above sea level!

You can thank Dr. Allison for most brownie recipes that work here in Fort Collins – they most likely take into account the science developed by Dr. Allison! Follow along with her original brownie recipe on the next page!

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.

 

Traducido por Károl de Rueda y Laura Vilaret-Tuma.

Descubrimiento en casa: Recetas con historia – bizochos de chocolate (brownies) de Fort Collins

¿Alguna vez has tenido algún problema siguiendo recetas de brownies? En Colorado -y en lugares con gran altitud- el hornear ciertos platillos requiere ajustes especiales para obtener los mismos resultados que en lugares con altitudes más bajas. Pero por suerte, existen recetas locales comprobadas que sirven para hornear con éxito en nuestra área.

Conoce a la Dra. Inga Allison; una figura histórica de nuestra ciudad que descubrió la ciencia para hornear en elevaciones altas. Con la ayuda de un adulto, usa esta receta histórica ajustada por ella para hacer unos brownies, ¡y comparte el delicioso resultado con tu familia!

Horneando pasteles con diferentes alturas.

Columna A – Pasteles horneados al nivel del mar sin ningún ajustamiento.

Columna B – Pasteles horneados al nivel del mar con ajustamiento de levadura en polvo.

Columna C – Pasteles horneados con recetas correctamente balanceadas para elevaciones altas.

Un archivo de la colección del museo que representa el experimento de una misma receta horneada a diferentes niveles de altura. A 3,048 metros (10,000 pies), a 1,524 metros (5,000 pies), y al nivel del mar. Observa cómo cambia la estructura de cada postre.

Receta de brownies ajustada por la Dra. Inga Allison

Inga Allison se unió al Departamento de Economía Doméstica en el Colegio Universitario de Agricultura de Fort Collins de 1903 a 1908. En aquel entonces, muchos miembros de la facultad empezaron a estudiar los efectos de la altura en el crecimiento de los cultivos y la preparación de alimentos. El colegio no tenía un laboratorio disponible, por tanto, Allison comenzó sus experimentos sobre la cocción en elevaciones altas con equipos improvisados y bajo condiciones difíciles; por ejemplo, horneaba en una cabina desgastada localizada en el pueblo de Estes Park, que está a unos 3,596 metros (aproximadamente 11,800 pies) de altura.

Podemos agradecerle a la Dra. Allison por desarrollar la ciencia que influye en la mayoría de las recetas de brownies creadas aquí en Fort Collins. ¡Sigue su receta original traducida en la página siguiente!

Receta para hacer bizcochos de chocolate (brownies) de Fort Collins:

Ingredientes:

  •  2/3 taza de harina de trigo
  • 1/2 cucharadita de levadura en polvo
  • 1/4 cucharadita de sal
  • 1/3 taza de manteca vegetal
  • 2 barras de chocolate sin azúcar
  • 1 taza de azúcar blanca
  • 2 huevos batidos
  • 1/2 taza de nueces
  • 1 cucharadita de vainilla
  • Para alturas de 2,286 metros (aproximadamente 7,500 pies) o de 3,048 metros (10,000 pies) sobre el nivel del mar, añade 1/4 cucharadita de levadura en polvo

Instrucciones:

Derrite la manteca vegetal junto con el chocolate a baño maría. En otro recipiente, agrega gradualmente el azúcar a los huevos batidos hasta que estén completamente mezclados. Agrégales la mezcla de chocolate y bate. Adjunta todos los ingredientes secos y mézclalos hasta que estén incorporados. Incluye las nueces y la vainilla. Coloca la mezcla en un refractario engrasado tamaño 20x20x5 centímetros (8x8x2 pulgadas) y hornea por 35 minutos a 180ºC (350ºF). Cuando esté todavía caliente, corta en forma de cuadros. Retíralos del recipiente y déjalos enfriar. Rinde para 2 docenas de brownies.

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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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Daily Discovery: Map Making

Post written by Charlotte Conway, Public Programs Coordinator.

Daily Discovery: Map Making

Have you ever looked up your house on Google Maps? It can be pretty cool to see your own neighborhood from a different  perspective! You can also find all sorts of maps and photographs of your town from history through the local Archives and Collections at FCMoD! Check out maps from your own community, and then make a map of your own!

Supplies:

  • Graph paper or paper
  • Colored pencils
  • Pencils
  • Ruler

Instructions:

  1. Maps are a two-dimensional representation that records the natural and build world around them, usually from a “top-down” perspective. There are many different types of maps each with different uses and looks!
  2. Compare and contrast the maps provided from Fort Collins Museum of Discovery’s Archives and Collections. What do the maps have in common? What is different about them? How do the maps differ based on how people might use them? How do the maps make use of colors, symbols, or labels to communicate their meaning?
  3. Now, it’s time to start designing your map! First, select a place you would like to make a map of. It could be your own neighborhood, somewhere from a different city, or even a made-up place!
  4. Next, consider the purpose of your map. What is your map trying to communicate? Will it be a political or road map that focuses on man-made features? Will it be a physical map that shows natural features?
  5.  Now that you have your purpose in mind, plan out the other features of your map that will make it more effective for your users.
    a. Legend – This is a visual explanation of the symbols you use on your map. How will you show the contents of your world on your map? If you use symbols, how will people know what they represent?
    b. Scale – This is the relationship between distance on your map and the same distance you are trying to represent on the ground. How will you translate the scale of world into a map that will fit on the paper? How will people who see your map know how large your world really is?
    c. Labeling – This is how you will write labels so that they clearly identify the right features on your map. How will people know what your map is supposed to be showing? How will they know who made the map and when?
  6. Draw out your map. Get creative with your representation, but remember to keep your purpose in mind so that your map is useful too!
  7. Keep the exploration going! Did you know FCMoD houses artifacts and collections from Northern Colorado, including historic maps? Explore maps from Northern Colorado. Explore your town using the GPS applications on smart phones or Google Maps, and then explore the world! What will you discover?

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.

Photo Credit: BABYCCINO

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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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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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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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Battery A: Bound for Europe

Camp Merritt (in New Jersey) was the final stateside station for Colorado’s WWI Battery A soldiers. On January 23, 1918, they boarded the steamship Baltic, bound for Europe.  After a stop in Halifax, Nova Scotia, they set forth on January 27, escorted by a British cruiser (and later in the journey, eight destroyers). These precautions were necessary to ward off U-boat attacks.

On February 5, 1918, the artillerymen witnessed the sinking of the troopship Tuscania by UB77 off the Irish coast. The Doughboy Center website (http://www.worldwar1.com/dbc/tuscania.htm) tells us that “The Tuscania was the first ship carrying American troops to be sunk, and public opinion in the USA regarded its loss as an outrage.”

Hurdle’s scrapbook page shows a typical transport convoy; the Prince George; and a shot of the Tuscania taken from the Baltic.

 

The soldiers disembarked at Liverpool, traveled by train across England, then across the English Channel. Heavy seas were running, and “packed like sardines,” the men uniformly became seasick before finally setting foot in France. In a letter home, John Hurdle discussed the seasickness – and a dubious remedy for it – on the trip across the Atlantic:

“We went on the boat in the afternoon, and before midnight had several cases of seasickness while the boat was still tied tip to the pier. … One of the boys in B Battery had a sure method of preventing seasickness [eating onions]. … But let me give you a tip—if you ever take a sea voyage, don’t eat onions, and don’t let any of your associates eat them, because they don’t help any…”

 

Two days of discomfort riding in boxcars on French railroads brought the regiment to Camp de Souge, where it spent the next two months in additional training. The highlight came when the regiment received its artillery piece, the 155 mm Grande Puissance Filloux (GPF).  John Hurdle’s gun crew called their GPF “Gila Monster,” and Hurdle would later give a very extensive description of its use in the war. Here’s a picture of it, labelled “My gun, ready to move, in position.”

 

Post by Doug Ernest.

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