Suppose you’re a cultural tourist in Fort Collins and you’ve already biked to all the breweries and drank yourself across town. Now what?
How about a tour of the old neighborhood markets? If you’re a local, you’ve seen one or two–Emma Malaby’s and, well, Emma Malabys.
But there are at least 16 more within a mile of downtown.
My friend Norm was a paper boy in Fort Collins in the 1950s. He showed me all of them. And now, I think you should sober up and go see them too.
Below is the map and old pictures and addresses. Make your own route and see what’s there now!
- 329 S. Sherwood, Bungalow store (now brick tri-plex). Not pictured.
- 600 Cherry, Cooperative Store (see photo at top of this article)
400 block, 9th Avenue, Andersonville. Chavez grocery. No photo.
Downtown is beyond the scope of neighborhood grocery tour, but I’ll show you just one …
Norm Cook has lived in Fort Collins for 60+ plus years. He is the host of Runaway Fiddle, Wednesday Mornings at 6am-7:30 on KRFC 88.9. That’s great music for toodling around old town to ….
Except where noted, All photos from the Fort Collins local history archive. Have I mentioned before how lucky we are to have them?
I may not bike, but I’ll definitely look for all these locations. Thanks, Cat!
Great idea. We should try and convince Bike Fort Collins and the Bike Library to link to things like this! How do we do that?
Hi Rick–Thanks! I take it as quite a compliment from you. As for getting links–that would make me want to clean up my map and do more interpretation. And maybe go knock on some doors and make sure the people who live in these houses don’t mind gawkers. I’m thinking about it ….
The grocery at 731 Cherry was “Bake’s” Grocery”. My mother, Olive Whitehead, a Fort Collins resident for 86 years, worked there through high school and beyond. Bake, his nickname from being a baker in the navy, had been a partner in Moor’s grocery (mrs Orlean’s) at 630 Cherry. My mother remembers the move from 630 Cherry to the bigger store at 731 Cherry. I have heard many grocery store stories over the years and read your article to my mother this a.m. She was very pleased and I intend to take my computer over and show her the pictures. Raised in Fort Collins myself, I also remeber many of the stores, especially the west side stores. I was a little surprised that Scrivner’s Market wasn’t included in the downtown stores since the store front is still so visable in the 100 block of West Mountain.
Ms. Cunningham–local history bloggers like me DREAM of getting comments like yours.
I looked it up, and sure enough, the county records show a 1938 building permit for “Bates” grocery at 630 Cherry here: http://history.fcgov.com/archive/scripts/permit2.cfm?ID=6017
And here’s a picture from 1948. It doesn’t look remotely like a store. Only someone who was there would have known:
I’ve always wondered about the duplex at 900 W. Oak. I never would have guessed that it was a store, but it certainly makes sense.
I’d love to know a bit more about 700 W. Mountain. That building has always looked so incongruous in that location.
Where is the local history archive located now? It used to be in the library, didn’t it? I never paid attention to where it moved to and I’ve since wished I’d paid more attention because I’d love to look our house up there and see if there are any old pictures of it.
Hi Meg, I’m a little late on my answers to this. Hope you see it…
The local history archive is downstairs from the museum. They’ve got much longer hours than they did back in the library days.
That duplex on Oak…over the years it was a store and a dairy. And for a while, a donut shop. I wish it still was.
Great stuff! I rented and lived in 630 Cherry for a year. There was no hint of it being a grocery except maybe for the basement which was an odd collection of storage rooms.
What about Beavers? A neighborhood market that is still going. We live close and go often, in fact heading there after I post this. It has to be something rare in this day and age.
Hi Daryle, Well, I don’t want to give anything away, but Beaver’s is among the listed…but by a different name.
I have something about Beavers coming up soon.
That Beaver’s location housed the Piggly Wiggly when I think back. That was the first time I remember seeing Can-a-Pop. We were on our way to the pool at City Park, which we did every summer day that got to be above 70 degrees (my mom’s cutoff temperature). My family rented the house at 512 LaPorte Avenue (now for sale AGAIN!) when we first moved from Southern California in 1959. We lived there through late spring of 1963. There was a huge beautiful lawn next door where there is now an unremarkable-looking apartment complex. There was a Beaver’s in LaPorte for many years, also–and a Calar’s, too. I seem to remember that a Beaver’s was also just north of BOB the Bridge when I saw it last before I realized the store had moved to Mountain Avenue. My request is that I would like to see a pictorial of old FC schools. We all attended LaPorte Avenue School (the “twin” of Laurel School) and was upset when it was torn down. Then Lincoln Junior High (now the Lincoln Center) and Fort Collins High School (now the CSU Music etc. department.) I loved all those places (school notwithstanding), and now they’re all gone! Ack! But you–Keep up the good work in keeping Fort Collins’s lost soul alive in our hearts.
No, no—we WERE upset. English is us!
Martha, I checked with my expert (Norm) and neither of us know what you mean by “BOB the bridge.” Do you have a story or explanation for us?
Schools are definitely on my list. But they’re more difficult and sadder to do than stores. Amazingly, only 2 stores in the list above are razed–Chavez and Cooperative Store (and I’m not 100% sure Cooperative isn’t really Moor’s tagged with the wrong address).
Schools haven’t fared nearly so well, as you know.
Does anyone have any info on Scrivener’s (sp?) Grocery on Meldrum? It’s history? Current/recent occupants? Fate?
Hi Mark, do you mean Scrivner’s on Mountain?
Here’s a 1950s photo from the history archive: http://history.fcgov.com/photos/1_600WMountain/152WMt50.jpg.
It’s currently the Steakout Saloon http://www.coloradofoodguide.com/fort-collins-restaurants/91643_Steakout_Saloon.html.
Didn’t 700 W. Mountain have another stint as a grocery store during the 1970s? Wasn’t it the first or second location of the Food Coop which is now located in their own building on East Mountain Avenue?
Yes, I’ve heard that the co-op was in 700 W. Mountain before it moved to its current location. But I’d be curious to know what it was originally built for. It sure looks like it was meant to be a corner store.
Bob the Bridge was referred to as such before it was named “Gateway Bridge,” which I think is MUCH more boring than ‘Bob’! If you have access to old Coloradoan newspapers or archives from the time the bridge was built (1997ish? it’s on the plaque), you may even find the article about it.
And my parents were (possibly charter) members of the Food Coop when it was housed in the old West Side Grocery building. I don’t remember the Coop having its own space before that, although it may have started out as a private buying club before my folks heard about it.
Just for future reference, around that time a lot of houses were moved from the north side of Laurel Street to make room for the new frats and sororities that were being built. The house my parents bought waaaay out of town (something like 6 miles!) was moved from one of those Laurel Street corners (I know it by sight but not by address) to a county road that then became Horsetooth Road and is now a county road again (the road that continues west from Harmony Road at the light). There are several “recycled” houses like that around town. The house I live in–close to Lory State Park–was moved up here from the corner of Mulberry and Riverside where the gas station is now (I’m told).
I guess I will leave a comment here. My great grandfather, Frank Collamer, also operated another grocery store at 801 Cherry St. In reality, this building at 801 Cherry was more historic than the Malaby Store because it had a side entrance. He moved it from near the corner of Laporte and Mason, don’t know the exact date but it would have been prior to 1910. Art Collamer also had some groceries at his gas station at the “Y” as well as his firewood business. He sold the gas station during the WW2 years.
About Charvat’s, I remember going to school with Patty Charvat at Lincoln junior high school. She liked to walk on the wild side and I often wonder what happened to her. I know that her mother was a wonderful lady.
I still haven’t completely been able to get past the loss of Steeles. Merrill Steele was a driver, a hard man to work for but he knew how to run a business.
I have been hoping for a long time that you would weigh in on neighborhood groceries. I knew your family owned more than one, but I didn’t know where the other was.
So, that makes 6 groceries on Cherry Street. Any idea why that was? Doesn’t seem like it was ever an important commercial street or anything.
Oh, one more comment on Grocery stores: Don’t forget “Ray’s Little Super Market” which was where the Poudre Feed supply is now located at the corner of East Vine and College. It was operated by Ray Stinnett, a good friend of my dad. I don’t know when Ray sold this business but the store was open probably into the 1980’s sometime.
The neighborhood store that I remember best was the Aggie Market at the intersection of Canyon and Mulberry. Bill Goff owned the market Rich Schott was the manager(he now owns Aggie Liquors) I worked for Bill from the time I was 12 until I graduated from Poudre — the crew included such people as Kelkie Russel, Bob and Jay Benzel, the butchers name was Sam. As soon as liquor sales became legal Bill changed the store over to a liquor store I can still walk in there and look and remember what was on each Aisle
Martha, the Food Co-Op was in a room or rooms in The Point for a while, at least, before they got the old West Side Market (which was where I first bought something by myself — knifed some coins out of the ceramic pig and got a box of Cracker Jacks, breaking the plastic racing car on the way home). I put in some hours as a volunteer and got to see the basement when I went down to find the vacuum cleaner, which had a pan of water instead of a bag. Ew.
John, I remember the Aggie Market too. I saw my first Cap’n Crunch there, back when the company was giving out small boxes of it for samples. I think they were charging for the samples, or you had to buy something else at least, so I had to wait.
Just between Ray’s Little Super Market and the river, I recall a motel or cabin court or something with a metal bellhop figure that stood by the road. One arm was hinged. I used to wonder if it was supposed to wave or something. I saw another one at a motel in Montana or somewhere like that on one of the many driving trips we took.
I have a 1979 photo of Emma Malaby’s, if you’re interested. The old grocery store I was hoping to see was the original Steele’s location downtown, possibly East Mountain, or maybe Oak. I was never sure, once it was gone, where it had been. I remember the doughnut machine, the slowly revolving ceiling fans, the front window.
OK I think the Steeles was on Oak Just east of the Espicopal Church — You walked in the front doors and the donut machine was right there — our boy scout troop met at the church and donuts were a must have
I’m noticing that, sooner or later, every conversation at Lost Fort Collins eventually turns to doughnuts.
Kip, I would love to see your 1979 photo of Malaby’s. Please, please post.
And thanks for the info on the Coop. A reader suggested an article on that a while ago.
I too grew up in Fort Collins and recall a few of the stores mentioned. I also worked at aggie market starting when I was 12 (no child labor laws thank god). Bill Goff was the best employer I ever had.
An odd one regarding drive in theatres,
the land that the Holiday twin is built on was owned by my Uncle Cam and Aunt Liz and I remember that the owners of the Twin strung a wire and a speaker to their home so that they could watch and hear the movie from their bedroom. At the time I thought it was pretty cool.
Thanks for commenting, Captain. Stringing a wire so your Uncle and Aunt can hear the movie is STILL pretty cool. Good story!
Does anyone happen to know any history about the Emma Malaby Grocery, or who Emma Malaby was? I’m curious to know. Thanks!
Emma Malaby is part of the Collamer/Burrill/Dermody clan. Jim Burrill keeps a blog that includes some Emma Malaby history here: http://lapoudre.multiply.com/tag/emma&malaby. There is also some research at the local archives.
I’m so glad you linked back to this post, which was written before I started reading your blog. It’s interesting to see that the house right next to the house I rented when in college (at 318 Pitkin – I lived at 312) was a grocery store. I always loved the style of that building and so wanted to go in, but never got to know my neighbors.
I’m so glad you write this blog!! I didn’t grow up in Fort Collins, though I’ve lived here for 21 years, and I knew 21 years ago that I wanted to raise my family here and for it to be their home. :D
Thanks Darrin and Norm! I love his radio show on 88.9 (KRFC)! Keeping the old music alive!
I saw the Emma Malaby’s Grocery Store when driving yesterday evening and wondered what happened to others like it. I will keep your map with me and note the “progress” that replaced these sites.
You know, the Chamber still uses the term “eminent domain” like it was a good thing. Seriously.
Kip W, and others: I’d love to see any old photos you have of FC. I moved here in 1995 and missed a lot of this culture.
I also thought 628 Peterson had been some sort of store…
There was also little rays, and speedys food store oh and I remember stopping at a little called the wagon wheel off of vine and linden streets
I live at the 415 cherry store today. still have the pepsi signs hundreds of magazines, the rainbow bread good screen door. When my friend bought the store it was still stocked with even food everything is still here in storage . I just love the history..
My grandparents own the grocery store across the street for the old Laurel school. Their name was Wilkinson and they had the store while my mom was young. Grandpa got really sick and they had to sale it.