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Archive for October, 2008

Coloradoan says Republicans so far outnumber Democrats in early voting here in Larimer County. “Corridors leading to the early voting site at the county courthouse, 200 W. Oak St., were busy all day,” it reads.

This calls for a visual metaphor: 

This 1947 photo shows elephants marching from the train on Mason Street to the Circus at City Park. See the familiar stone wall that marks the entrance to City Park at right? 

So you see, elephants on Oak Street are nothing new.

Credit

Thanks to Norm’s Mom for thinking to snap the picture. That’s Norm standing on the curb, second from the left.

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 I went to the Barack Obama rally today. I don’t stand in lines when I can avoid it, so listened from the railroad tracks that run by the Oval. But that doesn’t mean we didn’t get to have a moment:

Crowds gather on railroad tracks

Crowds gather on railroad tracks

I heard a woman ask, as she passed, “what happens if a train comes?” My companion assured me the secret service made sure no train would come. I expect a convoy of angry freight trains are gearing up to pass through town now. You know they’re angry because they lean on their whistles for the entire, slow 4-mile trip through town.

Vote in the best interest of my kid, not my plumber

I vote what's best for my kids, not what's best for my plumber

McCain supporters in a sea of blue

McCain supporters in a sea of blue

Finally, I tried to take pictures of the motorcade coming north on College as Obama drove away. But Lost Fort Collins had to make a tough decision: Barack was standing in the front of his bus. Should I try to get a great photo for YOU, or put the camera down and wave back at Barack?

I put the camera down and we smiled right at each other.

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Former trailer park. Site of major 1997 flooding.  

Sweet peas bloom on site of old trailer park

Fort Collins recently found the area around College, just south of Prospect, blighted. It includes ChuckECheese, Dairy Queen, and early strip malls.

The area in the photo above is behind the strip malls. It was a trailer park, but it took the worst of the 1997 flood (several residents drowned trying to leave) and the trailers have since been hauled away. I hear we’ll have apartments there soon.

So, what makes blight? The city has several criteria. But my short answer is “anywhere that Latinos might be starting to open successful businesses.”

 This is one of maybe 3 areas in town with Latino businesses, and all would qualify as blighted by our standards. 

So, I have 3 wishes for the Prospect/College renewal plan:

1. That it finds a way to include the affordable little businesses that reside there now–Mexican markets, used books, used games, cheap exercise, ordinary ice cream.  

2. That it finds an architectural approach that transcends 21st century monster strip mall, er, Lifestyle Center.

3. That it finds a way to keep the trailer park trees.

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From a 1956 Chamber of Commerce brochure. 

(Of course, the “land area” argument was lost when Alaska was admitted to the union 3 years later. Let’s try not to be bitter when Sarah gets here on Monday, okay?)

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You know that Jack Benny handprint downtown? It’s in front of the bank on the corner of Mountain and College.

I heard it’s not really Benny’s handprint.

In 1964, Jack was here celebrating Fort Collins 100th anniversary. (It could be that his mother lived here.) He and others dipped  hands in cement block, but then …

Well, the story goes, that the cement form was whisked to the east side of town to cure. And as the truck driver rumbled over so many railroad tracks, the cement responded like an Etch-a-sketch, erasing Benny’s hand.

The driver’s solution? Fix it with his own hands before the cement could dry.

3 distinguished handprints. Jack Benny's is center...supposedly.

 

Credits

 

I heard this from a guy who heard it from a guy who heard it from the driver. Gossip always makes the best history, doesn’t it?

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