Archive for July, 2009

Maggie Kunze’s farkled bus is about 3 feet over the line.  That is, the property line over which the people next door  want to build a privacy fence. And according to Kunze, they want to build the fence  so nobody will have to look at her bus anymore.

Maggie's bus

Maggie's Joy Bus

But Kunze says the bus isn’t going to budge.  She says it sits in  a driveway the two properties have legally shared since 1924.

Besides, she says, if the owners next door, investors who live in another city, would talk with her, she could suggest several solutions for screening the bus that don’t include fencing her in.

Kunze  lives in a 1900 shotgun house whose  once generous lot was carved up in the 1920s, leaving  her only a 10-foot-wide panhandle  of a backyard. The shared driveway doubles the width of that part of her property.

The bus has been there for years, but property owners next door want to hide it now, says Kunze, because they’ve been  unsuccessful at selling their property for the past year. They think Kunze’s farkle art may be part of the problem.

Farkling is the process of taking ordinary objects and making them “fun” and “sparkle.”  Like this:

farkle 1

Farkled mirror and bust

And like this …

Farkle carport

Farkled carport

And like this …

Farkle William Shatner shrine

Farkled William Shatner shrine

Kunze’s house on North Washington is farkled inside and out (she’s a must see on your yard art tour…along with North Wood street, but that’s another post).

While many people enjoy her art, Kunze says she understands that farkle isn’t for everybody.

But she’s still not moving the bus.

So, the neighbors started the fence anyway, planting all the fence posts except for the one that would go directly under the bus’ radiator. They might have resorted to towing the bus off  the property, but Kunze got a lawyer.


So what happens next?

The fence-building neighbors have turned down mediation. So,  everybody goes to  court– August 20th.

And, as you might guess, if that fence is ever built, Kunze plans to farkle it.

farkling manniquin butts

Farkling manniquin butts


Big thanks to well-connected  Kate Forgach (whose Tattle Tales blog covers all Fort Collins arts doings) for alerting me to this one!

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Just got a tip from Darrin Goodman (the mando from Horsetooth Mountain Rangers) that construction on Remington and Pitkin has exposed tracks.

According to the Fort Collins Muni Railroad folks, there were originally 3 streetcar lines in Fort Collins, with one going to the “new” high school at Remington and Pitkin (which is now the “old” high school or the “new” University Center for the Arts).

Street car at Pitkin and Remington, 1948. From http://history.fcgov.com

Street car at Pitkin and Remington, 1948. From http://history.fcgov.com

Streetcar tracks

Pitkin and Remington, July 2009

Those are, in fact, streetcar tracks making a turn from Remington onto Pitkin. But they won’t be for long. City crews are digging them up as part of a project to repave Remington.
A man in a hard hat at the scene told me they intend to remove one old section of track and take it to the Trolley Barn. But he wasn’t confident the track could survive the excavation.

The Fort Collins steetcar system ran from 1919 to 1951.  A restored line and car has run along Mountain Ave, between City Park and Downtown,  on summer weekends since the mid-1980s.

remington tracks close

Tracks after excavation.

Tracks after excavation.

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Have you noticed that Lost Fort Collins is no longer just a blog, but rather a hyperlocal multimedia congress of wonders? Those are movin’ pictures on the right!  The most current shows Norm talking about a business that used to occupy 300 N. College and how it was kinder to its employees than any boss you or I ever had.

300 N. College

300 N. College

P.S. All my movies are less than 2 minutes.

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Kate Forgach put a link from her Tattle Tales column to Lost Fort Collins today in reference to the cool safe at City Drug that’s still was for sale.  I’ll repost the photo below.  You REALLY have to click through to see how awesome the painting is. And fans of typeface will find the close up print interesting too.


Here’s Kate’s story, in case you have no idea what I’m talking about…http://www.coloradoan.com/article/20090724/COLUMNISTS109/907240305/1024/LIFESTYLE/Oldest-kid-on-block-to-remain-a-local-staple

And here’s my original story. Even though you’ve already seen the safe, it’s still worth clicking through for the “Big jar o’ pills” photo and for KipW’s comment on getting locked in a safe in the basement under Beau Jos:  http://lostfortcollins.com/2009/03/18/safe-at-city-drug/


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 ….

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On a bleak December day,  Mr Foster and Mr Fleming were at a lodge club on Linden Street drinking beer. A terrific snow storm was raging. About midnight, Ed and Russell left the club for their homes. They made their way through two feet of snow for a block from the club to College and Mountain Avenue, then another block south on College to Oak Street; then they floundered through the snow west on Oak three blocks, which brought them directly across the street from Russell’s home. Here, for the twentieth time, they stopped for a breather.

When Russell caught his breath and could speak, he exclaimed, “My God,  we are never going to make it. We are going to have to go back to the club.” –Murder and Mirth, Fancher Sarchet, 1956

Murder and Mirth is my favorite book about Fort Collins, past or present. Sarchet was a prominent trial lawyer who wrote about hunting, drinking, women in the courts, and sundry trials in Fort Collins from about 1903 to 1956.

His children, grandchildren, and great grand children still live in town.

Although the book is full of intrigue, most historians especially recall the drive by shooting that took out Sarchet’s eye and the bitter oilman thought to be behind the crime. Very serious stuff.

Of course some family members remember a different Sarchet.  “I remember when I was little,” says his great nephew John Tobin. “He  scared the crap out of me when he took his glass eye out in his room at the Brown Palace in Denver. ”

That was Sarchet being funny. “He pulled the glass eye out and cupped it in his hand then opened his hand slowly …”

I recommend this for every fan of Fort Collins history. You can find it at the library, or used copies online (I use Abebooks.com).


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There was nothing for the buckboard occupants to worry about–nothing more serious than planning what they would do at the fair. Ginger had never attended a County Fair and must be prepared in detail for the delights she would find when she arrived.

“But this isn’t the kind of place I expected Fort Collins to be,” she exclaimed in dismay as they trotted down a pretty, shaded street at ten o’ clock. “I don’t see a single drugstore Indian or hitching post and there’s not a rough-riding cowboy in sight. Just nice houses and automobiles.”

“Why, this is a thriving town,” Vance told her proudly. “It even has quite a few paved streets.”

“Heck, I can see pavement in Los Angeles,” Ginger answered. “I want atmosphere.”

“Cheer up, you’ll get plenty of that at the fair.” –Back to Buckeye, Esther Greenacre Hall, 1934

Author Esther Greenacre Hall was the daughter of Allen Greenacre, a promising politician in Fort Collins and rancher in Buckeye, about 20 miles north. But he died young from a disease that slowly paralyzed him. Maybe ALS? Esther was a teenager at the time. She and her mother moved to Greeley soon after.

As an adult, Hall wrote books for teenage girls, some around a character named Holly Daggett. In this installment, Holly comes home from California to help her brother run the ranch. While here, she endures the same challenges we all still face: Flood, draught, irrigation troubles, and a perky friend from Los Angeles who thinks we’re a bunch of hicks.

You can still find this book from used bookstores online. (I use Abebooks.com)


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After the widespread adoption of email, there has been no real joy in my mailbox. Not for years. Only bills, ads, and occasional notices from the FCgov that somebody is up to something uninteresting in my neighborhood.

Then this came today ….

Marching bands on my street!!!!!

Yes, um, I would also like some sweet floats. And lions.

Lost Fort Collins turns 1

This is a good time to tell you that Lost Fort Collins is turning 1 this week.  That’s roughly 80 posts (if you include the ones I thought better of and took down).

Thanks to all of you for reading. Thanks to all of you who have offered suggestions … I swear, I try to make stories out of them, and I still might.

Special thanks especially thanks to early readers, back when I was getting 5 hits a day…Noe (my first writing teacher and inspiration) and Lost Oregon.com. Soon after, Paul S., Meg, Terry, Kip and Martha–the first strangers to come around.

And the folks at the Museum and the Coloradoan who I expected would snub me for being an amateur, but were some of the nicest of all!

And, finally, to LouisFowler.com for challenging me to write what I really think. Which I still don’t do entirely.

So…yeah. Thanks everybody. And thanks United Way for sending a parade down my street.

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