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F.P. Stover Drug Store interior, corner of Linden & Jefferson, first soda fountain in Fort Collins, c. 1890.
F.P. Stover Drug Store interior, corner of Linden & Jefferson, first soda fountain in Fort Collins, c. 1890.

Cool Drink at Drug Store Pleasant Afternoon Event

by James R. Miller

Fort Collins Coloradoan   Page 81, Deer Crest, Grant 1960 Collection

What was life like in Fort Collins 70 years ago this week? Well, the 2,000 residents, even as those of today, were still enjoying the warm sunshine and meanwhile predicting the early advent of Fall as they sniffed the tangy night air. On a warm afternoon, what was more pleasant than to sit down at a marble-topped table in one of the town's drug stores and sip a cool drink! The merits of the drinks dispensed from the fascinating soda fountains were advertised in the Express and the Courier in this manner:

"Try Stover's cherry phosphate. "It's fine."
"Go to A. W. Scott's for a glass of cool soda."
"Pop by the bottle or case at G. H. Buffum's."

For those sturdy citizens who felt the need for more potent tonics, these advertisements had their appeal:

"Pure wines and liquors for medicinal purposes go to s."
If you want pure wines or liquors go to 's.

The term "juvenile delinquent" had not been devised in 1893, but acts of vandalism were not unknown in Fort Collins, even in those early days. Said the Express:

"Some miscreant entered Mr. J. Sickman's yard on College Avenue Thursday evening and carried away two choice house plants. The plants were rare specimens, and Mr. Sickman is righteously indignant over the outrage."

The full impact of the "hard times" of the '90's had not hit Fort Collins as disastrously as many other Colorado towns were where there had been bank failures. The Poudre Valley Bank was advertising its "paid up" capital, $100,000." Officers of the bank were W. C. Stover, president; James B. Arthur, vice president; Charles Sheldon, cashier; Verner U. Wolf, assistant cashier. Directors, besides Stover, Arthur and Sheldon, were James Andrews, C. B. Andrews, Abner Loomis and N. C. Alford.

The First National Bank advertised "authorized capital" of $100,000 and "paid up" capital of $50,000. Officers were F. C Avery, president; P. Anderson, vice president; G. A. Webb, cashier; L. C. Moore, assistant cashier. Directors, besides Avery, Anderson and Webb were B. F. Johnson, J. A. C. Kissock, L. W. Bennett and F. R. Baker.

Prospectors in the mountains west of Fort Collins had not yet given up the hope of making rich strikes of ore. The town of Manhattan, 33 miles west of Fort Collins, was the center of a gold digging district. It had stores, a hotel, a post office and a newspaper.

Of a copper-mining venture, the Manhattan correspondent wrote:

"A party of capitalists from Fort Collins came up to visit the Copper Bug mining property on Saturday last. They expressed themselves as highly pleased with the ore now being taken out. They are thinking strongly of putting in a concentrator in the near future."

Elsewhere in its columns, the newspaper listed the "capitalists" as Messrs, Snow, Hoag, Hottel, Burnett, Sullivan, Kissock, Bailey, and Moody. It related that that the group drove on an afternoon to the Livermore House where they spent the night and "were royally entertained by Mr. J. H. Swan and his estimable wife." From Cobalt City, the site of the mine, which was somewhat apart from the Manhattan settlement. There they were welcomed by Mayor John Gayley, John W. Rigdon and Frank Murphy.

Reported the Express: "There are at least 12 or 14 cars of high grade ore on the dump that will all pay to ship. It is of the same quality of which some 3,000 pounds netted in the neighborhood of $ 200.

In addition to the copper, the content of zinc in the ore was considered promising. Sadly, however, the vein which had been opened with such great promise soon "pinched out."

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