Archive for November, 2008

The Green Bay Packers trailer home doesn’t belong on a Lost blog so much as a Hard-to-find blog. It’s hidden in plain site on our busiest street.  

I think it’s symbolic of our tremendous tolerence. Because if you painted up your trailer home in Bronco Blue and Orange and perched it above mainstreet Wisconsin, you might have different results ….


It’s real hard to get a good picture of the trailer, even with the leaves off the trees. So, if you’re a fan, best you make the pilgrimage yourself to South College for the full effect. It’s a Lambeau leap from the city limits sign.

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This is how we tell people they’re being jerks today (Fort Collins Coloradoan, September 11, 2008):

Fort Collins police and bike advocates are telling cyclists “don’t be that guy,” and stay off sidewalks in the Old Town area. Old Town is posted as a “dismount zone,” which means anyone caught riding a bike on the sidewalk is subject to a $50 fine. [Article and press release continue with several more “look, we’re asking nicely” paragraphs]

Here’s how we used to do it (Front page, Fort Collins Courier, July 20, 1899):

It takes a lot of gall to ride your wheels on the sidewalks, but then some folks enjoy making themselves disagreeable. If the streets are impassable, why just hoof it like the common herd? [That’s the whole article–reprinted in its entirety.]

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I’ve heard these early tiny homes called carpenter houses. “The houses the carpenter’s lived in while they built the rest of the neighborhood.” But can’t verify that.

They seem to fit the definition of shotgun houses. More common in New Orleans, these houses are less than 12′ across, designed for good airflow, and arranged so you can shoot a shotgun straight through from the front door to the back door.  

This first one has fabulous and abundant yard art (that’s why I’m not giving addresses).


The second has fabulous and abundant vultures (in the pines each summer).


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[As I research historic Fort Collins, I come across pictures and advertisements for stores I wish I could visit. Except for #6, all were gone before I got here. If you know more about these places or want to contribute your own favorite lost businesses, just comment below or write me.]

1. Iverson Dairy, Shields and 287

“Remember they (children) need the best. Home delivery, S&H Green Stamps, Visit our milk bar”


What’s there now? Rocky Mountain Adventures

2. Emry Clothing Company, College and Mountain

“The store ‘right’ on the corner”


[Look at that sign! We used to be so fabulous!]

What’s there now? Austin’s restaurant.

3. Barrett’s House of a Million Parts, 513 Riverside 


[Seems like the kind of place that would sell you the part and then loan you a wrench.]

What’s there now? Vacant. Near Mulberry and Riverside intersection.

4. Al and Ruth’s Cafeteria, 226 S. College

Specialized pastries, a fountain, and bulk ice cream. 


[I hear the pastries were memorable.]

What’s there now? Poudre Valley Appliance/Tony’s

5. Standard Mercantile, 154 W. Mountain 

“Northern Colorado’s largest collection of records. Classical–semi classical–popular. Columbia — Capital — Decca — R.C.A. — Victor” 


[I could never walk past a record store.]

What’s there now? Offices [note edge of Scrivner’s grocery next door]

6. Stone Lion Bookstore, College and Mountain


What’s there now? Beau Jo’s Pizza

7. N&R bar, Linden & Walnut 


[SPECIAL FEATURE! Click on the picture to “go inside”]

What’s there now? Nature’s Own

8. Wood’s Music, 246 Linden 

“Pianos, piano players, Edison Phonographs, Records and Supplies, Sheet Music”


[Featuring 2 music stores in honor of our soon to be lost, The Finest. Read the article in the Fort Collins Now.]

What’s there now? TBD

9. Dr. I.O. McCarty, Dentist (1906)

“Sonnoform administered”

[Same building as #6. Sonnoform an anesthetic held in a vial. The dentist broke the vial and wafted the fumes toward your nose to knock you out.]

10. Shedd and Lee, 115 E. Mountain

“Everything for the office but the secretary.”


[I just liked the tag line]

What’s there now? Two Pairs

11. Ladd’s Covered Wagon. 287 between FtC and LaPorte 


[Fort Collins’ favorite restaurant in a giant Quonset Hut! Burned down.]

What’s there now? Vacant lot

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Real pop art in Fort Collins? You betcha! An Andy Warhol soup can is now on display right in front of the old high school on Remington.  See? We’re not a bunch of hicks.

Here’s how we got the lawn art:

“The soup can was part of a (1981) exhibit of Warhol’s work at CSU, and was painted by university student  Bruce Conway,” says the University Center for the Arts. “The artwork was painted onto sections of donated construction pipe following Warhol’s specifications that it look like something ‘right off the supermarket shelf.'”

Then Warhol showed up and signed it.

im001160But Warhol brought more than his pen to Fort Collins. He also brought big city artistic irony–way before that kind of thing was everywhere.

I wonder who “got it” when he agreed to come to Fort Collins only on the promise of getting to stay with John Denver. Or invited a cow to come to the signing. Or showed extra fascination with bovine semen extraction methods at CSU.

Hey! Was Andy Warhol implying that we’re a bunch of …?


Warhol in Fort Collins, 1981

Visit his can on the lawn of the University Center for the Arts (Formerly Fort Collins High School) on Remington Street for a close up look. And for gawd’s sake, change out of yer Carhartts before you go.


This story is largely a retelling of Museum Cache, a weekly broadcast from the Fort Collins Museum that airs on KRFC 88.9 every Monday during the news (7:30 am and 5 pm). The museum folks just handed the script over to me. All I did was edit and take photos of the can.

I’d like to point out that museums and history associations in every town are not always thrilled about these “lost” city blogs. That’s why ours is the best ever–they treat their archives and knowledge like a community resource/service so anybody can become a local historian.

A shout out also to Beth Flowers of FlowersontheTable, who first told me about the soup can.

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Fort Collins currently uses the tag line: Where renewal is a way of life. We’ve also used Fortunate Fort Collins and Fort Collins…..Midst Colorado’s “Horn of Plenty”

But if you’re an old timer, you know the real tag line–the unofficial and enduring Fort Collins, Wide Streets, Narrow Minds

That’s because, until recently, this town was hell on the enlightened.

Nobody articulates the cultural oppression of mid-century Fort Collins better than the unfortunate Bertram Wyatt Brown, a Baltimore academic who took his first job in 1964 at Colorado State University:

 The Fort Collins restaurant scene consisted primarily of the International House of Pancakes (“IHOP”) and a Chinese establishment run by a Jewish New Yorker. 

It gets worse …

Hotels? I cannot recall a single major chain or first-class set of accommodations.

Much worse.

While pontificating about the rationale for the American Revolution … I was somewhat disconcerted by the seemingly endless parade of Union Pacific Railroad freight cars rattling and screeching under the lecture-room windows. Crossing campus, the passerby could sometimes hear pigs squeal as they were getting slaughtered in a nearby Ag building. 

Class sizes sucked. The pay sucked. The CSU library sucked. Only one thing didn’t suck:

On some weekends, we junior historians … took R & R trips to Denver’s Brown Palace …. The excursions, sometimes through heavy snows, helped momentarily to shake off the parochialism of Fort Collins. There the churches far outnumbered the mediocre eateries and movie houses.

But Wyatt Brown just didn’t get it. While he was sulking in Denver, we were figuring out that we could park 17 cars, side by side, across College Avenue. Look!


Wide streets, narrow minds. Seriously wide streets

Wide streets, narrow minds. Seriously wide streets

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