I love the Swetsville zoo and everything it stands for. Mr. Swets deserves all the recognition in the world. And I hope the city’s “lease” plan makes a good contribution to his retirement. But most of all, I hope this (from today’s Coloradoan) works out well. It makes me a little nervous.
The widening of Harmony Road east of I-25 and reconstruction of a bridge over the Poudre River will take a portion of Swets’ property and require moving some of his statues, said Kyle Boyd, the town’s public information officer.
The town plans to lease up to 75 sculptures and place them in prominent places around town, including parks and other public areas.
Many are expected to go into a park that will be built on the north side of Harmony Road in conjunction with the development of a Walmart Supercenter, Boyd said. A portion of the realigned I-25 frontage road will be renamed Swetsville Zoo Road.
I think I’ll go over this weekend for one more quiet picnic at the zoo before it becomes part of the Supercenter.
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Posted in Quonset hut, Vernacular buildings, tagged 1940s, CSU, fort collins, franks trout farm, jefferson, kit house, Quonset hut, Quonset hut house, riverside, swetsville zoo, veterans village on August 13, 2008|
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This town is awash in Quonset huts.
Funny thing: You can live here for decades and not even notice. Like, most of us can remember a Q-hut on Riverside Avenue as you drive into town. But in fact, it’s a row of FOUR Q-huts (technically on Jefferson). See:
4 Quonset huts on Jefferson Ave
(Okay, maybe you don’t see. Q1 is distant, but it’s Black’s Glass. And Q3 doesn’t look Quonset at all. That’s because somebody has hidden it behind an elaborate store front. But it’s unmistakedly Quonset behind the facade.)
After you start thinking about these 1940s artifacts, you start to see them everywhere.
They came here after the war, when building materials were scarce. The University ordered 100+ from Montgomery Ward to house the swarm of GIs that doubled enrollment during the last of the 1940s. The half- and quarter-round homes came on the train and formed Veterans Village on the north boundary of the school.
Always too hot or too cold, the Quonset huts endured as married student housing only until the 1960s. Once obsolete, the tin dorms found their way into backyards, fields, and farms everywhere. There are two at the Swetsville Zoo. And one at Frank’s Trout Farm.
But there were others. A local store sold tiny 12×20 kit Quonset hut houses, and two remain:
Both built in 1947. They remind me of Gypsy wagons. It’s only when I mistakenly thought we had lost one that I began to think about them at all. I took a wild stab and Googled Quonset+hut+fort+collins, and found the most amazing and exhaustive report: Read this (PDF)!!!!
For more local Quonset huts, see the “Beyond the blog” link at right.
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