Archive for the ‘Blog business’ Category

When the National Trust for Historic Preservation announced earlier this week that Fort Collins had landed on its list of Distinctive Destinations, I had some regrets.

That’s because I always  meant to write a series of posts about the group of women who made this town worthy of the National Trust. Women who I have always wished I could be more like. Women with vision, courage, and persistence.

This was no ladies social club for dressing up and having Victorian tea parties. They didn’t play status games based on whose pioneer ancestry made them most authentic.

Rather, these were women who fought like hell and struck fear in the heart of any politician that got in the way. At least that’s how I always imagined them.

Each Heroine deserves her own post, including a photo and a list of accomplishments. But that would take more research than I have time for now. So here’s the short list:

  • Carol Tunner. She worked for the city’s preservation department for ages, fought the good fight, and sometimes won.
  • Rheba Massey. She was the library’s local history archivist and her expertise served every historic organization in town.  She helped me write my first local history (the history of my house) and showed me how to get involved in preservation in a way that could make a difference.
  • Mary Humstone. I always associate Mary with Historic Fort Collins Development Corporation, a group that helped preserve Preston Farm. According to its Web site, they were also involved in the Linden Hotel, Hoffman House, Northern Hotel.  She also worked for the National Trust and now teaches preservation in Wyoming.
  • Rose Brinks. She preserved the Bingham Hill Cemetery and opened it to the public. She’s been generous with many of her historic resources. Stories about Rose are legend.  Ask around.

Karen McWilliams probably belongs on this list too, but I never got to meet her. And an earlier group of women, like Charlene Tresner and June Bennett, might belong here too.

If only I had a little more time….

Nonetheless, without these awe-inspiring women living in our town, I think the National Trust would have looked right past Fort Collins. Without them, our town would be so much less than it is today.

Hoffman house, from history.fc.gov

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The (recorded?) bells at Saint Joes I might miss more than anything in Fort Collins when I go. It seems like they play more in recent years than they used to. But there’s also a (real) carillon at the Episcopal church.  I don’t know if they play that one.

I would have liked to find out more about them both.

And I might also have said something about the crazy number of traffic signs on the short block in front of St. Joes….

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Writing Lost Fort Collins has been a load of fun. In fact, it’s been an obsession. But lately,  just about every part of my life has changed. My work is drying up, my family is transitioning, and I’m ready for some change.

So, I’m moving on. To Bismarck, North Dakota, of all places.

But before I go, let me say this: It is an honor to be read, and especially to have others participate in my enthusiasm. Many of you told stories, asked questions, sent photos, or offered up ideas. Lately, you’re not even talking to me anymore, but to each other.  I love that.  Many of you contributed history of  Fort Collins that otherwise had never been captured.

I’m prouder of Lost Fort Collins than almost anything else I’ve ever done. Thanks for being part of it.


P.S. If you want to stay in touch, feel free to friend me on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/catmcc) or write cat at lostfortcollins.com

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ArmstrongMarketsI have had SUCH a hard time keeping this quiet– I didn’t want to say anything until it was done. But for several weeks the Armstrong Hotel has been preparing a nice souvenir map of the neighborhood markets that the Lost Fort Collins blog wrote about last year.

The map in my original post was lame, and inaccurate. The Armstrong’s version, which is now available, is nice enough to frame! And it includes a tour of downtown ghost signs.

You still have to use Lost Fort Collins if you want to find all 17 markets. But the Armstrong’s more limited version is just right for your friends and out-of-town guests who maybe don’t have to be obsessive and comprehensive about everything, and just want to go on a nice bike ride and see a few sites.

I hear people like that exist.

Get the map here: http://www.thearmstronghotel.com/outonthetown.php. Click on “Bike through History,” and you’ll find the map in PDF format.

Or ask for one next time you stay at the hotel.

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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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Uncle Norm

Many posts on Lost Fort Collins refer to Norm Cook. We became quick friends a few years ago over our shared love of Texas fiddle music. 

Now, we get together once a week or more to eat dinner. He tells me stories for the Lost Fort Collins blog, and I tell him about who’s been writing in or commenting.  More than a couple of you have got personal letters back  saying something like, “Norm thinks he knew your daddy ….”

Norm was born in June, 1939. He grew up on Oak Street in Fort Collins and lived much of his adult life in a rustic (read, no indoor plumbing) cabin in Poudre Park.  He worked as a farm hand and a shipping clerk. He knows a lot about building materials, weather, and driving draft horses. Among other things.

Now, he hosts Runaway Fiddle on KRFC 88.9 FM early Wednesday mornings.

I love this picture of him holding a friend’s child. It’s just like him to pick up a baby and have it fall asleep in his arms. Everyone calls him Uncle, my son likes him (which is saying a lot), and he’s even on my dog’s very short do-not-bite list.

Click for a broader view.


Norm Cook

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