Archive for the 'Local History Archive' Category



From the Archive: Valentines Now Arriving at the Depot!

by Lesley Drayton, Curator, Local History Archives

Please accept these warm Valentine’s Day wishes from the pupils of Thunderbird Cottage School. The students of this school, once located at 2812 Harvard Avenue in Fort Collins, worked on this LOVE-ly railroad back in 1966. I believe that even after 45 years, it still makes Cupid proud!

Do you have any fond memories of Valentine’s Day crafts you made in school?

From the Archive: Vertical Files Online!

by Lesley Drayton, Curator, Local History Archive

Did you know that one of the treasure troves in the Fort Collins Local History Archive is the collection of over 3,800 vertical files available to folks like you who are curious about local history?  These many file folders have been assembled over a long period of time and are continually expanded by Archive staff and volunteers. They cover a wide range of topics and are some of the most requested items by researchers interested in local history.

Check out our “Miles O’ Files”

The Subject Files are handy packets of information containing newspaper clippings, student papers, government reports, and more. They are a great place to start researching local topics like the sugar beet industry or neighborhood schools.

The Biographical Files contain clippings and reports on individuals and families from Fort Collins history. Some files include family histories created by researchers and donated to the Archive.

The Ephemera Files are organized by subject and surnames and include fragile primary source materials like calling cards, original advertising, pamphlets, receipts, and building abstracts.

In the past, the contents of these files were only available for perusal by visiting the Local History Archive in person, but Archive volunteers have embarked on a scanning project to put the key contents of some of the most popular vertical files online. Please note that these online resources are for educational use only and may not be duplicated or re-published.

Check out our first foray into virtual vertical files with the “Auntie” Elizabeth Stone Collection.

More files are being scanned for research purposes, including information on the Fort Collins Trolley, Annie the Railroad Dog, and the Virginia Dale Stage Station. Stay tuned for more online resources to make your journey into Fort Collins history easier than ever!

And be sure to visit the Fort Collins History Connection to explore the research collections and exhibits already online.

From the Archive: Benzene Ring and Active Atoms

by Tiffani Righero, Research Assistant, Local History Archive

Back in December, we wrote about yearbooks and featured the 1948 Fort Collins High Lambkin (see the Ski Club here). This time, we’d like to look at a few other clubs from the same year of the Lambkin: the Chemistry Clubs.  Both clubs, Benzene Ring and Active Atoms, drew in quite a few members (including some who also participated in the ski club and still had their sweaters for club picture day). You’ll notice from the poems included on each club’s page; the girls were excited to get their own club after being “rejected” by the boys’ club.

The poems read as follows:

The Benzine Ring

Organized and active, we have Benzene Ring once more,

Who hold planned and interesting meetings that never are a bore.

Experiments and lectures to educate and explain,

Are presented to the members who never do complain.

These chemistry-loving lads are eager to learn

Little things like knowing that hydrogen will burn.

The Active Atoms

Forced to organize by the Senior boys, are these lovers of chemistry;

Rejected as officers in Benzene Rig, now work independently.

To the water-works and sugar factory these gals have taken trips,

They like chemistry and in this bunch you’ll find no drips.

So here’s a cheer for these senior girls, defending women’s rights,

Who got themselves a separate club, avoiding with boys any fights.

From the Archive: Looking at the Past Through…Yellow-Colored Glasses?

by Lesley Drayton, Curator, Local History Archive

Have you ever opened an old family album only to find that the vibrant hues from your color photos have turned a sickly yellow and orange? Well, you’re not alone. Many historic color photographs, especially those from the early days of snapshot photography when color film was first widely available for personal use, have faded due to unstable color dyes, photo papers, and/or processing techniques. Exposure to years of light if the photos have been on display often exacerbates discoloration and fading of color pictures.

While I was looking through some historic photos of Loveland last week, I came across a group of lemon-yellow photographs. Here are two examples:

Loveland High School
Lake in Loveland

The backs of the photos indicated that they were processed in 1951 on Kodacolor film. I decided to do a little research on Kodacolor using my trusty copy of The Permanence and Care of Color Photographs by Henry Wilhelm.

Wilhelm has no affection for Kodacolor film. In a section of the book entitled “The Totally Lost Kodacolor Era of 1942-1953” he states that he “does not know of a single Kodacolor print taken from 1943 until 1953…that survives today in reasonable condition; all have faded and developed an ugly, overall orange or yellow stain regardless of whether they were exposed to light on display or kept in the dark in albums…These hundreds of millions – or perhaps billions – of Kodacolor prints and negatives represent the first great era of color photography to be totally lost.”

Wilhelm cites unstable magenta dye-forming color couplers that remained in the prints after processing as the chief culprit in the yellowing effect. Conversely, most images made from the famous Kodachrome film seemed to have fared far better than their Kodacolor counterparts.

Do you have any Kodacolor prints in your family albums? How about Kodachrome slides? How have they held up over time?

From the Archive: Mystery Photo

by Tiffani Righero, Research Assistant, Local History Archive

We need your help! The Local History Archive has thousands of photographs.  Most are arranged biographically or by location or topic.  We do, however, have a folder labeled “Unidentified.”  These are photographs that include little or no information about the image.  This is one such photograph:

It does include some information hand written on the back of the photo.

1405 S. College?

NO WAY.

1900?

Mrs. Southerland is being held by her father.

Do you have any guesses where this house is located? If you think you know, comment here and we’ll get this photo out of the unidentified folder and into its rightful home.

From the Archive: New Year’s Eve with the Philippi Family

By Pat Walker, Research Assistant, Fort Collins Local History Archive

As reported in the Fort Collins Courier newspaper on January 8, 1885,

A merry party of friends gathered at Mr. and Mrs. Chris. Philippi’s handsome residence New Year’s night and spent the evening hours in enjoying the pleasures of the dance. It is safe to say that Chris. did his best to entertain his guests and that the evening passed away all too soon.

Christopher Philippi was known as an excellent harness maker. His first shop was on 218 Linden Street. Christ., as he was often known, is center with his hand on the horse.

Philippi Harness Shop

Christopher and his wife, Alice, were among the pioneers of Fort Collins, and built their one room home at 334 East Mountain Avenue about 1879. As each child was born, a room was added until there were four rooms downstairs and three upstairs. The Philippis lived in this home for over 50 years and in that time hosted many social events like that memorable New Year’s celebration in 1885.

Philippi House

How did you ring in the new year? Did you party like it’s 1885?

From the Archive: Let it Snow!

by Lesley Drayton, Curator, Local History Archives

I’ve heard some folks lamenting the fact that we haven’t had much snow this season, so here are a few historic photos from the Fort Collins Local History Archive to get you in that wintery mood.

A winter wonder-yard at 618 South Grant Street, 1988.


Rocky Mountain Ski Club on a madcap excursion near the Brynwood Hotel in Estes Park, circa 1930.


Don Alexander inspects some impressive icicles at the Laramie-Poudre River Tunnel, 1920s.


Members of the Hartshorn family enjoy a ride in a one-horse open sleigh through the streets of Fort Collins in 1937.

And finally, a cautionary photo from 1966 for those of you who drive convertibles in the wintertime…


Aren’t you ready for a nice cup of hot cocoa now?

From the Archive: Yearbooks!

by Lesley Drayton, Curator, Local History Archive

Did you know that the Fort Collins Local History Archive has a large collection of historic yearbooks from local schools? Yearbooks are a great way to get a glimpse of the fashions and activities from Fort Collins’ past; they’re so full of valuable social history, and they make up one of the most popular collections here at the Archive.

The oldest yearbook in the Archive’s collection is an 1895 Silver Spruce from Colorado Agricultural College (present-day Colorado State University). My favorites tend to be the high school yearbooks from the 1940s and 50s due to my special interest in that era of history.

I especially love this Ski Club page from the 1948 Lambkin yearbook from Fort Collins High School.

A poetic description of the Ski Club from the yearbook:

“To these skiers of our school a familiar word is ‘Track!’

And heeding this term they avoid colliding with a smack!

Trips to near-by ski areas are often made;

And members find, while pushing cars, in snow they have to wade.

Here come the skiers, flying down the hill!

Some of them are experts, for they never take a spill.”

What I like best are the ski sweaters the members wore for picture day!

Time to share: Who out there belonged to high school clubs that had you wearing some interesting outfits? One of our curators, Katie Bowell, has a photo of her representing an academic club while wearing a giant foam rubber shark costume. Luckily, that yearbook isn’t in the Archives…

From the Archive: Bowling, Bowling, Bowling

by Lesley Drayton, Curator, Fort Collins Local History Archive

Now that the cold weather seems like it is here to stay, it’s a fine time to focus on indoor recreation, like bowling! Folks have been enjoying the sport in Fort Collins for decades. Check out these champions from the Fort Collins Elks Lodge, circa 1910:

Of course, Fort Collins ladies also liked to get in on the bowling action. Here’s a great shot of a winning team sponsored by Hutchison Pharmacy, 1951. I really like their matching satin shirts; I wonder what color they were.

And from the back….

These gentlemen meant business at the Colorado State Bowling Tournament held in 1960 in Fort Collins. From left to right they are Ray Carpenter, D. Weigand, Doc Carroll, Floyd Headlee, and an unidentified man. Does anyone recognize him?

In 1960, a new bowling alley opened in Fort Collins at 2105 South College. The Bowl-Aire had all the latest features, including automatic pinsetters and “tel-e-scores.” Here’s the ad from the 1961 yellow pages:

And here’s a photo of the Bowl-Aire shortly after it opened. Looks like a fun place to bowl a few frames!

So what about you? Do you partake of indoor recreation (ultimate foosball, anyone?) during the colder months or do you still brave the outdoors for your fun?

From the Archive: Wit and Wisdom from “The Scrap Book”

by Lesley Drayton, Curator, Fort Collins Local History Archive

Life is full of ups and downs, and sometimes a funny story or a little advice can help folks get through the tough times. This is what I was thinking as I looked through this sweet little booklet here in the ephemera files in the Local History Archive.

Published in 1949 by the Blythe-Hollowell Mortuary located at 129 West Olive Street in Fort Collins, Colorado, “The Scrap Book” contains “choice bits of wit, humor, and philosophy, begged, borrowed and begotten.”

The stories in the book have positive, uplifting messages, and some are just funny. Here are a couple of excerpts from “The Scrap Book.”


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