Posts Tagged 'Fort Collins'

The New Adventures of Auntie Stone

by Amy Scott, Volunteer Coordinator and Director of Visitor Services

Worldwide sightings of a small doll donning a purple bonnet have prompted much whispering and curiosity. Who is this diminutive mystery woman who pops up at landmarks across the globe and, according to reports, always seems to be clutching a sack of flour?

She is the Fort Collins Museum & Discovery Science Center’s very own Auntie Stone Doll, fashioned after Elizabeth Stone, the “Founding Mother of Fort Collins.”

Elizabeth "Auntie" Stone

In 1862, Elizabeth Stone and her husband Lewis Stone traveled across the plains from Minnesota to Denver, Colorado in a covered wagon pulled by milk cows. In 1864 they moved to the frontier post that eventually grew into the Fort Collins we know today. There they built a log cabin to serve as both their private residence and an officers’ mess.

The Stone Cabin

Elizabeth, in her sixties at the time, cooked meals and baked pies for the officers. Since she took such great care of them, the men of the post came to call her “Auntie” Stone, a sobriquet that followed her for the rest of her long life. Auntie Stone was a pioneer in many respects. In addition to being a wife and a mother, she was also a suffragette, entrepreneur, landowner, and town builder.

Like her namesake, Auntie Stone Doll has a grand sense of adventure. The Museum’s good friend Cindy Reich was kind enough to show her around the sites in Ireland several years ago. In a postcard addressed to the Museum, the doll wrote: “Ireland is a most interesting place. Although it is nearly October, all the fields are very green with grass in abundance. Their cattle are fat and sleek.”

Auntie Stone Doll has traveled extensively in the U.S. and abroad. North Carolina, Brazil, South Dakota, Australia, and Disneyworld are just a few of the places she has visited.

Auntie Stone enjoying the surf in North Carolina. Photo by Beth Higgins

While vacationing in Australia, Auntie Stone Doll wonders how on earth she is going to eat this entire bacon sandwich and lamington. Photo by Cindy Reich

Basking in the sunshine at Freemantle Harbor in Australia. Photo by Cindy Reich

Auntie Stone Doll captured during a pensive moment at Galway Bay. Photo by Cindy Reich

Auntie Stone Doll Leaving South Dakota. Photo by Cindy Reich

But why does the doll carry a sack of flour wherever she goes? Along with Henry Clay Peterson, the original Auntie Stone built a grist mill that produced flour from wheat, the first of its kind in Northern Colorado.

As you can see, Auntie Stone Doll has developed a particular affinity for oceans and beaches. Look how dreamy her eyes become whenever she is near water. Where will she go next? No one knows for sure. A Caribbean cruise is likely, but she also hopes to go camping in Colorado’s mountains at least one time this summer.

In the meantime, you will find Auntie Stone Doll resting at the Museum Store in the company of toys, books, and other wonders. Stay tuned for further adventures.


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!

From the Archive: Strike a Pose!

by Lesley Drayton, Curator, Local History Archive

The Mark Miller photograph collection is truly a treasure trove at the Fort Collins Local History Archive. This collection of photographs taken by local photographer Mark Miller spans nearly six decades, beginning in 1912 when he started his photography business, and contains of over 77,000 prints and negatives of local scenery, buildings, events, and portraits of Fort Collins residents.

The portraits are a lot of fun to view since the collection often has images of multiple poses from a single sitting. You can almost hear Mark Miller telling the subject, “Now, let’s try it with you hat on….now take your hat off….now smile!”

Here’s a triptych of Edmond L. Boulter from his studio session in 1938. Which one is your favorite?

I also really like Miller’s logo stamped on the backs of these photos. “Photographs Live Forever.”

If you’d like to learn more about Mark Miller’s amazing and prolific career in Fort Collins, be sure to attend the Fort Collins Historical Society program on Tuesday, March 1st. Authors Barbara Fleming and Mac McNeill will be discussing their 2009 book Fort Collins: The Miller Photographs.

The program begins at 7:00 pm and takes place at the Webster House, located at 301 East Olive Street, right across the street from the Fort Collins Museum & Discovery Science Center. See you there!

From the Collection: Can You Count the Moves?

by Leigh Westphal, Museum Coordinator

A few months back I wrote about a recent acquisition of prescription slips from the City Drug store. After completing the re-housing of prescription slips from the store’s cigar boxes to archival boxes, I was left with one burning question… where was this place? The answer- as is often the case- was not a simple one.

Boasted as “the oldest legitimate business in Fort Collins,” City Drug first opened in 1873. Its original owners were a pharmacist, M.E. Hocker, and two local business men, William C. Stover and John C. Mathews. City Drug’s first location was at the southwest corner of Jefferson and Linden streets in one of the oldest buildings in Fort Collins, known as “Old Grout” for the enthusiastic use of grout in its construction.

From Old Grout, City Drug went on to have numerous locations and owners. When the Yount Bank Building on the southeast corner of Jefferson and Linden was completed in 1874, City Drug quickly moved across the street and into it. In the same year, William Stover sold his interest in the business to his brother, Frank, who had just arrived in Fort Collins.  At this point, both W.C. Stover and Mathews retired from the drug store in order to pursue other business interests in town.  Eventually, Frank P. Stover bought out Hocker and became sole owner of City Drug.  During this time Stover moved the business again, this time to the northwest corner of Jefferson and Linden streets, where he rented a corner section of the Tedman House.  Soon after, the store made its way back to its original location, but this time it inhabited a brand new brick building since the log-walled Old Grout had been torn down and replaced at the commission of Frank Stover.

City Drug c. 1884, located at the Tedman House

Upon his retirement in 1919, Stover sold City Drug to C.L. Brewer. With Brewer at the helm, the drug store moved three more times in an attempt to be a central part of the city. In its first year of Brewer’s ownership, City Drug relocated to 143 Linden Street. Seven years later, it moved to 145 N. College Avenue and again to the “Woolworth Building” at the northwest corner of College and Mountain avenues.

City Drug c. 1906, southwest corner of Linden and Jefferson streets

In 1946, Brewer sold City Drug to brothers Arthur and Harold Grovert. The Groverts also relocated the business more than once. First, they moved to 139 N. College Avenue and again in 1967 to the southwest corner of College and Mountain Avenues.

City Drug c. 1969, 101 S. College Ave.

In 1992, City Drug was purchased by its current owners, the Wilkins family. The Wilkins continued to run the drug store at the southwest corner of College and Mountain until September of 2009, when the business made its final move to 209 N. College Avenue, formerly know as the Ghent Motors Building.

Current location of City Drug just north of LaPorte Ave.

Whew, moving makes me tired… even if it is just reading about it!

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?

“Main Street” Entertainment

by Toby Swaford, K-12 Education Coordinator

As the winter weather finally rolls into Fort Collins, it may be time to spend an evening or two enjoying some family entertainment.  As you plan out your night’s entertainment, why not investigate some films with a local connection? Sure you could schedule a film festival featuring locally born actors Jon Heder or Jake Lloyd, but how many time can you watch Napoleon Dynamite or Star Wars, Episode One: The Phantom Menace?  To really enjoy your movie watching experience, I suggest taking a look at some of the work of our very own Harper Goff.

Harper Goff

If the name doesn’t ring any bells, you’ll probably still recognize some of Goff’s contributions to popular culture and entertainment.  Harper Goff drew heavily on his childhood memories of growing up in Fort Collins when he helped design the look of Main Street, USA in Disneyland.  Certain buildings were influenced by the design of historical Fort Collins structures, including Disney’s Town Hall, which is patterned after our now demolished Court House building, and the Disneyland Fire House, which shares design features with our old Fire House located on Walnut Street.

Larimer County Courthouse


Disneyland Town Hall

Fort Collins Fire House

Disneyland Fire House

Before joining the Walt Disney Company, Harper Goff was employed at Warner Brother’s Studios where he had served as an artistic director and set designer for such classic films as Casablanca, Captain Blood, Sergeant York, and the 1935 production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.  For Walt Disney, Harper Goff is perhaps best remembered as designing the film look of 20,000 leagues Under the Sea.  His iconic Victorian era diving suits and the Nautilus submarine would go on to win the Oscar for Best Art Direction in the 1954.

The Nautilus

Harper Goff and Disney

Unfortunately, Harper Goff was not allowed to accept the award. Goff wouldn’t become a member of the Art Director’s Union until later in his career and, as a non-member, was inelligible to win.  Instead, John Meehan, who had simply carried out Harper Goff’s amazing designs for 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, was given the award.

Harper Goff would later be credited for Creative Production Research on another submarine based film, Fantastic Voyage produced in 1966, featuring a stunning journey through the human body aboard the miniaturized vessel, the Proteus.  That film also won the Oscar for Best Art Direction.  In 1971, Harper Goff would create the look of the original film adaptation of Roald Dahl’s Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory, featuring Gene Wilder.

Goff also had some on screen appearances over the years in television series such as Dragnet, and in films like Hit Parade of 1951, and Pete Kelly’s Blues.  You can find a complete filmography on the Internet Movie Data Base.

While occasionally appearing as an actor, Goff earned most of his screen time as the banjo player for the Fire House Five Plus Two.  A musical act comprised of Disney artists, the band appeared on many specials and variety shows.  Check out Harper Goff’s toothsome grin in this clip with the band performing Everybody Loves My Baby.  If it doesn’t get your toes  tapping on a cold winter’s night, then nothing will.

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: Fort Collins and the ‘Burbs, 1929

by Lesley Drayton, Curator, Fort Collins Local History Archive

The Local History Archive has over 1,000 maps in its collection, including topographic maps, plat maps, and tourism maps that span from the late 1800s to the present day and offer insights into the history of Larimer County and Colorado. It’s a fascinating way to see how Fort Collins has grown and changed over the years.

One of my favorite maps from the collection dates from 1929 and is entitled “Fort Collins and Suburbs.” Created by A.L. Marhoff, a civil engineer living in Fort Collins, this map shows the property owners for parcels of land both within and outside of city limits stretching from Douglas Road (County Road 54) at the north to Harmony Road at the south. I’ll bet you can find several surnames of property owners on the map that are now the names of roads or neighborhood developments in Fort Collins.

You can view more information about this map (map number FC00147), and zoom in even further, by visiting the record on the History Connection database here.

March 2023

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