Archive for March, 2009

Chris, musician and anarchist, near the corner of Mulberry and College 3/29/2009

I’ve known about three kinds of anarchists in Fort Collins.

1. Those who break windows anonymously and then claim responsibility anonymously .

2. Those who use  the principles of anarchy for personal gain. But then invoke the legal system as soon as the collective votes them off the island.

3. And those who think gardening and chicken keeping may be key to unhooking us all from government dependency.

Resistence is fertile!

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No matter what the calendar says, Winter isn’t over in Fort Collins until the vultures return to their pines at 920 W. Mountain. 

The first of them arrived today (Tuesday).  Soon,  50 or more will follow.  

Welcome home, guys.

Happy Spring everybody.


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Every day we’re here, is one more example of how America is supposed to work.

Beaver’s Market is the last neighborhood market in Fort Collins.

Last year,

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After my last post, reader Jim Burrill pointed out that the building at 101 S. College once housed  Poudre Valley Bank. He even posted an old photo and a history on his own blog (recommended!). 

It’s easy to remember that bank because they didn’t clean up the place entirely when they moved out in the 1960s. Here are 3 things they left behind:

1. An abandoned brick drive-through in the alley behind College and Mountain Avenues:

2. A tunnel running from the basement to the drive through (I’ve only heard about this. Must be to service the pneumatic systems.)

3. And this …

Vault related device, left behind by Poudre Bank

I don’t know what this is. The folks at City Drug said it’s related to a vault from the bank, but they couldn’t say how.

It’s attached to the very thick wall behind the pharmacy. Do any of you know what it might be for?



To start-turn tee handle

and pull out fully 

to communicate-stop motor 

by pushing switch button in


Post script

As you might guess, the drive thru structure didn’t make it into our big downtown alley revitalization plan. I assume it won’t remain much longer: 


Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

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City Drug, 1967

City Drug, on the corner of Mountain and College since 1967,  is the best kind of anachronism. Not a horse-drawn carriage, striped sticks of candy by the refurbished antique cash register kind of anachronism.

The other kind.

The kind that never changed out the pastel pink and green signs, even after the Jean Nate and Noxema moved on:


The kind that displays that which Wal-Mart Pharmacy wouldn’t dare:


The kind that keeps its most extraordinary item of all behind the counter where you can’t see it.


City Drug is the oldest business in Fort Collins (since 1873), occupying several downtown locales over the years. My guess is that this safe has been hauled around with the business since some time before 1891, the year safe maker Mosler and Bahmann left Cincinnatti (if you clicked the photo a time or two,  you’d see Cincinnati painted on the safe).

The current owners are moving the business north of Old Town soon, and they say they don’t want to take the safe with them.

What do they plan to do with it?

“Tell your readers to make us an offer,” they said.

Okay. But I hope it’s our readers at the museum who get there first.

Update 10/3/2009

The safe was sold just before City Drug moved. The new owner, a manager over at Ace Hardware, took delivery via forklift, restored the safe, and has begun the meditative task of trying to guess the combination…it seems nobody remembers it.

By the way, I just noticed another Mosler safe in the window at Silver Grill ….


Reader David Newman suggested Lost Fort Collins look at all the left behind bank vaults in town. He told me about three of them (upcoming post). In my research for that post,  I found this safe at City Drug. Thanks David!

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“See the man in the mountain?” this old farm boy asks me.  I am at a party at his childhood home and I don’t know anybody.  So I stand outside looking at Long’s Peak, and he comes up and says that. “With his arms outstretched. Do you see?”

I can kind of see, maybe in that inverted pyramid patch of snow just beneath the top of the mountain.  But not really.  It’s a man like the man in the moon who doesn’t look like a man at all, to me.

“We used to watch the arms, and that’s how we knew how much irrigation water we had left for the year,” the farmer says. “The arms get shorter, and the water runs out.”

The Big Thompson Project created a system dams and diversions in the late 1940s. It brings water under the divide and averages our rainfall and snowpack.  So if there is a man in Long’s Peak, he’s defunct.

But still I can’t help but check for him every time I look West.

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In a recent letter to the Lost Fort Collins blog, Karen Schaefer, a reporter in Ohio and a former Colorado resident writes:

One place I recall was an old hotel downtown.  I think it may have been a railroad hotel originally.  There was an amazing glass dome in the lobby and one of those old round, red plush sofas sited squarely underneath it.  When we were there sometime in the late 1960’s, it had just been re-opened and the dome uncovered for the first time in years …. Is it still there?

I LOVE letters from people who used to live around here. They have snapshot memories of Fort Collins–freezing people, places, and events that we locals  overwrite with newer images everyday. Two of these former residents remembered the dome to me recently, though it seems current Fort Collinites hardly know about it.

Originally, the dome was part of the Northern Hotel’s ballroom, just south of the lobby:

Dome at Northern Hotel Ballroom

Dome at Northern Hotel Ballroom

Over the years, as Karen implies, it was hidden, rediscovered, and later renovated. It hovered over restaurants, and more recently, little boutiques. Today, it’s an elaborate skylight for the Mountain Shop. To see, go here (100 block, N. College):


Here’s the dome today, amid prayer flags and pup tents:


And how about a detail view from the new camera?

Dome focus point

Dome focal point

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