Archive for the 'Local History Archive' Category

From the Archive: Larimer County’s First Newspaper

by Lesley Drayton, Curator, Local History Archive

We’ve been working on scanning the number one issue of the Larimer County Express newspaper, published in Fort Collins on Saturday, April 26, 1873.

Newspaper founder Joseph S. McClelland

This fragile paper consists of four pages full of interesting tidbits and advertisements that shed light on life in Fort Collins only a few short months after the town was officially incorporated. It’s a real treat to read!

Jefferson Street in 1874

Fort Collins historian Ansel Watrous wrote in the newspaper history section of his 1911 History of Larimer County that the Larimer County Express first newspaper printed and published in Larimer County, and sure enough, column 2 of page 3 of this 1873 paper supports this assertion:

 Several prominent in this gentlemen have spoken for the first copy printed of this issue,–being the first paper ever printed in Larimer county. We shall be unable to furnish more than about fifty ‘first’ copies! Applications should be made without delay!

We’ll have the entire newspaper available for viewing on the Fort Collins History Connection website soon; for now, enjoy perusing the first page of the paper below!

Larimer County Express, Page 1

From the Archive: Ellen Michaud Remembers

by Lesley Drayton, Curator, Local History Archive

The Fort Collins Local History Archive has hundreds of interesting oral histories in the collection, the bulk of which were recorded in the mid to late 1970s by community volunteers eager to capture the stories of many of Fort Collins citizens who had witnessed the many changes in the city from the turn of the 20th century on up to the nation’s bicentennial.

One especially compelling oral history was recorded by Jill Boice in the summer of 1974 when she listened to the many fascinating stories told by Ellen Michaud, a retired nurse who had come to Fort Collins at the age of 14 in 1909.

Ellen Michaud in 1979

Some of Ms. Michaud’s more humorous memories involve early driving habits in Fort Collins:

“Well, my father owned a car in 1916, a Ford. And that’s when I learned to drive a car…I taught myself. I just simply went out. And first I tried backing it up, and driving it up, backing it up, and driving it up. And then I got real brave and I drove it around the block…

A lot of people thought [cars] were useless…for a long, long number of years there was horses and buggies and cars…and people just drove wherever they wanted to. You drove up, well on College Avenue, you just drove, that’s all. And streetcars run down the middle of it—and you usually would drive on the right hand side. And then you could go to the corner or you could turn around in the middle of the street; it didn’t make a bit of difference…there wasn’t so much traffic then. And you could just come and go as you please.”

This photograph of Wellington in 1915 shows several modes of transportation

Do you remember your first driving experiences?

From the Archive: Student Hijinx!

by Lesley Drayton, Curator, Local History Archive

The Fort Collins Local History Archive recently received a donation of scrapbook pages belonging to a student at Colorado A&M College (present-day Colorado State University) who was also a member of the fraternity Sigma Alpha Epsilon in the early 1950s. The pages offer a fun glimpse into some of the shenanigans carried out by the students at this time. For instance, these two fraternity brothers show their loyalty in a hair-raising fashion:

The scrapbook pages also chronicle a unique stunt pulled off by the members of the Aggie Livestock Club to publicize their Little National Western Stockshow. The students broke city ordinances by leading two sheep and a steer down College Avenue, and were subsequently “arrested” by city police. The whole lot was sent to jail where they were later “pardoned” by Colorado Governor Daniel Thornton. It helps to have friends in high places!

From the Collection: Dinner at the Tedmon House

by Lesley Drayton, Curator, Local History Archives

I’m a big fan of the Tedmon House Hotel, which once stood at the northwest corner of Linden and Jefferson Streets in Fort Collins, Colorado. Featured in previous posts, the Tedmon House was an icon in Fort Collins from its grand opening in 1880 until it was demolished in 1910. Luckily, many unique items remain in the collections at the Fort Collins Museum & Discovery Science Center.

One such item is this menu for Sunday dinner from October 29, 1883.

The menu also has an extensive wine list on the back; there are more than just wines featured.

Sign me up for the haunch of elk with cranberry sauce, and just some Apollinaris mineral water, please! I’ll pass on absinthe.

From the Archive: Opening the Door to Laporte

by Lesley Drayton, Curator, Local History Archives

A short while back, the Fort Collins Local History Archive received a donation of 17 scrapbooks dating from the mid 1930s to the 1950s that contain hundreds of newspaper articles pertaining to the history of Laporte, Colorado. These scrapbooks were created by local resident Ruth Hereim, who was the Laporte correspondent for the Fort Collins Express-Courier newspaper (later to become the Fort Collins Coloradoan). Most of the articles pasted in the scrapbooks’ pages were written by Ms. Hereim and provide a detailed look at a quarter-century of the goings-on in Laporte.

Ruth Hereim

A 1956 article about Mrs. Hereim featured in the Fort Collins Coloradoan mentions the scrapbooks:

“Some time a history of Laporte could be written from her scrapbooks, which included every local newspaper article relating to Laporte since 1934.

Like many older scrapbooks, this collection is in fragile condition and must be handled carefully to avoid chipping the pages or loosening the glued newspaper clippings. For this reason, along with the unique nature of the scrapbooks’ contents, the staff and volunteers of the Local History Archive plan on scanning each of the scrapbooks and placing them on the Fort Collins History Connection website. You can view the scanned 1958-1959 scrapbook and virtually “flip” through pages of Laporte history. More to come!

From the Archive: Scanned Maps

by Lesley Drayton, Curator, Local History Archive

Did you know the Fort Collins Local History Archive has nearly 50 historical maps that are scanned and available for viewing online at the Fort Collins History Connection website?

1881 Map of Fort Collins

If you search for “scanned maps” on the History Connection website, you’ll be able to explore maps dating from the 1880s to the 1980s that depict Colorado and Larimer County. You can also view a scanned aerial photograph of Fort Collins in 1977. Any guesses as to what and where this is?

One of my favorite scanned maps in the collection is entitled “Map of the Irrigated Farms of Northern Colorado, 1915.”

This map measures nearly 27 square feet and shows detailed property ownership for  parts of Larimer, Weld, and Boulder County, and speaks to how critical farmland irrigation was and continues to be in our semi-arid climate. You can view this map, scanned in four pieces and indexed by owner name, right here!

From the Archive: University Plaza Mall

Here’s another little treat from the Larimer County Panorama tourist booklet (also featured in last week’s post) that features a growing phenomenon in the mid-1960s: indoor malls! University Plaza was located at 2229 South College Avenue in Fort Collins, and had an array of new destinations for Fort Collins shoppers.

All this and air conditioning too!

I like the hanging ivy.

Montgomery Ward was one of the anchors.

You could get some banking done at the mall as well.

Does anyone know when this mall closed? Bonus points if you can tell me what is there today!


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