Fort Collins History and Architecture

Post World War I Urban Growth, 1919-1941

1540-1858 | 1844-1866 | 1866-1877 | 1877-1900 | 1900-1919 | 1919-1941 | Introduction

Marcia Hill at Fort Collins High School, c. 1930

The end of World War I represented the beginning of hard times for the agricultural sector in Colorado. As wartime demand diminished, farmers were once again confronted with falling prices for their products. In order to survive, many farmers put marginal lands into production to increase crop yields. Small farmers who could not expand were unable to recover from the downturn. Because the economy of Fort Collins was linked to agriculture, its economic health was affected during the immediate post war period. Gradually, farm prices stabilized and then rose, and the city experienced a period of relative prosperity. The stock market crash of 1929, weak agricultural markets, and adverse weather conditions combined to push the country into a depression which would last until the advent of the Second World War. Federal programs of Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal brought much needed jobs and relief to Larimer County during the 1930s.

Growth of the City

By 1925, the central business district covered approximately seventy-six acres (See Figure 16, earlier), extending from Willow Street on the northeast, west to Howes, south to Mountain Avenue, and south along both sides of College Avenue to Olive. Over time, the commercial core of the city had grown to the west and south, encroaching on and displacing adjacent residential areas. Those portions of downtown north of Jefferson Street and along Mason and the railroad tracks north of Laporte were mostly in industrial and transportation uses. Few residential uses within the CBD remained by 1925. Retail, commercial, services, and financial functions predominated, with a number of hotels, lumber yards, and banks present. Horse-related livery and other functions had disappeared, replaced by numerous garages, automobile sales and repair firms, and filling stations. The CBD had expanded westward along Mountain Avenue and had begun to stretch southward along College Avenue.

In 1922, the city directory listed four architects working in Fort Collins: Montezuma W. Fuller, J.J. Jones, Lester L. Jones, and George A. Krause. The number of building contractors had expanded to thirty-six and the Fort Collins Brick Manufacturers and Builders Association was listed at 133 West Mountain Avenue. Contractors included W.H. Althouse, N.H. Bales, J.A. Bell, L.O. Bement, L.R. Bevan, R.T. Bonham, J.L. Cheney, W.L. Cheney, W.M. Cooper, Davis Orton, J.J. Dexter, Earl Grant, N.C. Fansler, J.F. Greene, W.W. Greene, J.W. Hubbell, R.A. Johnson, W.A. Knight, L.D. Lawrence, G.J. Lesher, Lindenmeier Brothers, O.E. Long, I.L. McKinley, M.D. McRae, Jay A. Martin, H.L. Moore, D.C. Nelson, R.W. Nye, W.A. Read, C.M. Riddell, H.W. Schroeder, H.K. Shaffer, Noah Simmons, G.A. Spencer, B.F. Todd, and C.A. Williamson.

Transportation Systems

A 1920s report on the street railway system concluded that it "had more than proved its need to the public. It had held up the standards of our city far above that of a country village and, in addition, has offered continuous service to its patrons." Fort Collins was the smallest city in the nation with its own streetcar system. The trolleys were popular with Fort Collins residents; referendums supported retention of the system in 1932, 1934, 1938, and 1950. Increased reliance on the automobile, the post World War II suburban explosion, competition from buses, and declining ridership led the Fort Collins city council to cease streetcar operations in June 1951. According to Peyton and Moorman, this was "the last scheduled Birney car operation on the North American continent, and the last street car to operate commercially in the state of Colorado."

The presence of streetcar lines linking downtown and the fringes of town made the periphery more desirable for residential development. The two principal trolley lines, which formed an "L" with the legs intersecting at College and Mountain, reinforced the existing development pattern. Given the natural barrier of the Cache la Poudre to the north and east and the presence of the large State Agricultural College campus to the southwest, residential development tended to focus along the western and southern corridors of the town in the pre-1940 period. These areas were also further removed from the pollution, noise, and odors of the town's northeastern industrial section.

Tourism and Hotels

By 1925, Ford was turning out a complete car every ten seconds, and Americans of every walk of life wanted to own their own vehicle. The ability of Americans to travel easily from one site to another led to an expansion of tourism and growth in the hotel industry in Fort Collins. In 1922, the Armstrong Hotel opened at the northwest corner of College and Olive to serve the visitor to Fort Collins. Two years later, the historic Northern Hotel capitalized on the growth of tourism by undertaking a major remodeling.

High School

The new Fort Collins High School, completed in 1924, was situated in the southeast portion of town on the western half of the block bounded by Remington, Lake, Peterson, and Pitkin (See Figure 52). The building was designed by William N. Bowman and Company of Denver. Bowman, a native of New York, had little formal schooling but learned the construction trade as a carpenter's apprentice. After working for firms in Detroit and Indianapolis, he relocated to Denver in 1910 and designed there the Mountain States Telephone Building, the Continental Oil Building, and the Norman Apartments, as well as many schools and other public buildings throughout Colorado. The new high school was located south of the Lake Park Addition, distant from much of the town's population, resulting in long walks to school for many students. The trolley was the first "school bus" to serve the facility and was routed on Pitkin for this purpose. The building was the city's only high school into the 1960s.

The Fort Collins-Wellington Oil and Gas Field

The local economy received a boost from a brief mid-1920s oil and gas boom in Larimer County. In November 1923, oil was discovered near Wellington, fourteen miles north of Fort Collins. By the following year, one hundred to 150 drilling rigs were arrayed along a north-south corridor, stretching from east of Terry Lake near Fort Collins to eight miles north of Wellington. Union Oil of California, Producers and Refiners Corporation, Marland Oil Company, Carter Oil Company, and numerous smaller firms undertook exploration activities in the area which came to be known as the Fort Collins-Wellington Field.

The discovery raised great expectations in Fort Collins with predictions of prosperity and substantial population gains for the city. L.C. Moore of the First National Bank anticipated a population of thirty thousand in two years, while the Express-Courier forecast a population of fifty thousand by 1928. Office space became scarce as backers of wildcat exploration and other oil and gas related projects arrived to promote their schemes. Tresner concluded that "there were investors who made considerable profit from stock manipulations and other transactions related to the oil and gas business, while others later admitted that they held enough worthless oil stock certificates to paper a house."

Some area entrepreneurs catered to sightseers who came to view mishaps associated with the process. In November 1923, thousands came to see and hear an uncapped well that discharged 85 to 100 million cubic feet of gas per day with a deafening roar for six weeks. An estimated fifty thousand persons visited the drilling site on 18 November 1923. One Fort Collins resident set up a makeshift cafe nearby and another established a automobile shuttle service to ferry visitors between Fort Collins and the well site. In July 1924, a giant gas jet ignited, injuring several workers, and burned out of control for twenty-four days until it was capped with the aid of explosives. The flames were visible twelve miles away in Fort Collins.

Although the field shipped five thousand barrels of oil daily by late 1924, interest diminished when it became apparent that the discovery was not as significant as initially imagined. As early as 1926, a drop in production was observed and, by 1930, the industry had faded from public notice.


In 1909, Los Angeles became the first city to enact a zoning ordinance, in which it categorized three types of districts: residential, light industrial, and heavy industrial. By the 1930s, smaller cities across the country had also passed zoning laws which were primarily created to protect residential areas from infiltration of business and industrial concerns. During the 1930s, planners referred to the "natural" separation of these activities. As residential neighborhoods were protected, only a few grocery stores, restaurants, or service shops were permitted in single family housing areas. In this manner, the neighborhoods became more economically segregated, as the worker's houses and their places of employment became further separated.

In 1929, Fort Collins adopted a comprehensive zoning plan and map, which identified six categories of permissible land uses within the city (See Figure 53). A committee had examined existing land uses throughout the city and conducted a series of public meetings to present findings and recommendations. The zoning measure had three residential categories (from one-family dwelling areas through multi-family dwellings), two commercial classes, and one industrial category. Beier concluded that the "real need for the zoning ordinance... was to confine the commercial uses to the areas where there was a logical need and to prevent the further deterioration and blighting of the residential neighborhoods." Although zoning of the city was approved in 1929, it was not until 1954 that a board was created to administer the program.

The Depression Decade

By 1930, Fort Collins contained 11,489 inhabitants and covered 1,851 acres. Growth during the preceding decade represented a gain in population of 31.2 percent or 2,734 persons over that of 1920. The city continued to display a fairly homogeneous makeup in 1930. Of the community's 11,489 residents, 8,106 were native whites of native parentage (70.6 percent). Native whites of mixed or foreign parentage numbered 1,971 persons, while foreign born whites accounted for 735 persons of the total. Only twelve blacks were counted in the census of 1930, contrasted with 665 persons of "other races." The latter number is probably primarily composed of Hispanic workers and their families, drawn to Fort Collins by job opportunities in the sugar beet industry.

Construction activity in the city, as reflected in the value of building permits issued, declined from the late 1920s into the early 1930s as the national Depression deepened. It was not until 1939, when $334,303 in permits were issued, that the value of construction exceeded the total posted in 1928. The 1931 city directory noted that there were two newspapers, three banks, six hotels, two theaters, one hospital, ten schools, and twenty-four churches in Fort Collins. The advantages of the city included five parks, the public library, the YMCA, and the wide, clean, graveled avenues. Of the sixty-five miles of streets within the city, nine were paved.

One of the largest projects undertaken in the city during the 1930s was the building of a municipally-owned electric power plant. City Commissioner of Finance Earl Douglas led the drive for public power and voters authorized the concept in 1932. Continued opposition, including litigation, delayed the project until 1935, when the electorate reaffirmed its support for the endeavor and bonds were issued. Construction began on the coal-powered plant on the south bank of the Cache la Poudre River at 430 North College in November 1935. The plant was completed the following year and began providing electricity to the city in late June. In conjunction with the plant, Works Progress Administration (WPA) workers built a four-hundred-foot retaining wall along the south bank of the river and installed landscaping around the building. In 1937, Mayor Ray Matthews reported that the grounds surrounding the plant had been beautified with the erection of a fountain, walks, curbing, lawns, rock gardens, and flower beds. Matthews noted that "the site has become one of the beauty spots of the city and creates a very attractive north entrance to 'The City Beautiful.'"

During the Depression, many students stayed at the college rather than entering the job force during a period of such high unemployment. After a slight downturn in the enrollment during 1933-1934, the student population rose and by 1940 exceeded two thousand. New Deal programs such as the National Youth Administration helped college students to remain in school by providing federal funds for student employment in various academic departments. During this period, the Public Works Administration provided money for a student union building on the campus. Other college construction included a new veterinary building, a new agriculture building, and a new dormitory with capacity for 125 women. In 1935, the name of the college was once again changed, and the institution was known as Colorado State College of Agricultural and Mechanic Arts.

Other construction projects during the 1930s included the completion of an addition to the city library. This project updated the building and added an auditorium for civic use. An addition to Lincoln Junior High was one of the major projects during the Depression, costing $125,000. Washington School was remodeled and received an addition. The Poudre Valley and First National banks remodeled and modernized their buildings, as did some churches in the city. In 1939, a theater and a Safeway store were completed. Also during the 1930s, the Civilian Conservation Corps was utilized to improve two mountain parks owned by Fort Collins, including the erection of a large community hall. The improvement of the Fort Collins-Cheyenne highway and improvement of farm to market roads in the county were also accomplished during the Depression.

Of all the federal projects initiated in northern Colorado during the New Deal, none was more politically complex and technically challenging than the Colorado-Big Thompson Project. The largest public works water project undertaken in the state during the Depression, the Colorado-Big Thompson Project was also one of the largest ventures ever undertaken by the United States Bureau of Reclamation. The project enabled the diversion, capture, storage, and regulation for direct and indirect use of water of the Colorado, Big Thompson, Cache la Poudre, St. Vrain, Boulder, and South Platte rivers and their tributaries for irrigation, domestic, municipal, industrial, power, and recreational purposes. The project, which took over twenty years to complete, diverted water from Colorado's Western Slope to Eastern Slope water users. The primary purpose of the Colorado-Big Thompson Project was to provide a supplemental water supply for 615,000 acres of land in northeastern Colorado.

The Colorado-Big Thompson Project was authorized in the Interior Department Appropriation Act of 9 August 1937, and was set forth in Senate Document 80, 75th Congress. President Roosevelt signed the measure in December 1937 and construction began in 1938 and continued through 1959. The construction of the reservoir and associated structures provided many jobs for Fort Collins residents. Basically, the project diverts water from the Colorado River drainage in the vicinity of Granby and Grand Lake to Colorado's Front Range. Horsetooth Reservoir, located approximately four miles west of Fort Collins, is one of the Colorado-Big Thompson's principal storage facilities on the eastern side of the Continental Divide. Water stored in the reservoir supplies irrigation water for lands in the Cache la Poudre Valley.

Sugar beets were the leading cash crop in the state during the 1930s, and the economic crisis had widespread effects on the many groups involved in sugar beet production. Many of the small farmers, including a number of German Russians, lost everything. Within Larimer County, sixty-five percent of German Russian families collected relief during the Depression. Farm prices fell to unprecedented lows in 1933, and migrant laborers were among those who experienced the greatest hardship. James Wickens noted that during the spring of 1933, "almost one-half of all relief expenditures in Colorado went to the sugar beet counties. Usually this assistance was a supplement to the migrant's meager wages, not a replacement." Spanish-speaking seasonal workers faced additional problems resulting from a growing sentiment against aliens. Governor Johnson encouraged the removal of aliens from the state during the 1930s and in 1936, he ordered the National Guard to keep non-Colorado citizens from entering the southern borders of the state. This action was widely criticized. The American Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organizations organized eight thousand beet workers in Colorado and worked for better wages and workers' rights.

During the 1930s, growth in the housing industry dwindled as the nationwide depression took hold. Sears Roebuck's prefabricated homes were discontinued in 1936. Government agencies began to supervise the financing and construction of a large sector of American housing. These years witnessed the first federally financed public housing for the poor. The programs of Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal resulted in the modernization of older homes and the construction of new ones.

In 1931, no architectural firms were listed in the city directory. The number of builders and contractors living in the city had declined since the more prosperous 1920s. Sixteen builders and contractors were cited, including Ralph T. Bonham, Vernon E. Cheney, William M. Cooper, William L. Davidson, Orton Davis, Orange A. Decker, Argus B. Evans, Charles H. Fuller, Harley H. Hale, John W. Hubbell, George W. Lindenmeier, Jefferson D. Lindenmeier, Ora E. Long, Charles E. Lowe, George A. Spencer, and Harry E. Woodruff.

The Public Works Administration and the Public Housing Administration were responsible for the construction of federally financed housing projects and the provision of housing for "the deserving poor." The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) was established to facilitate improvement of housing conditions and to provide a system of mortgage insurance. FHA officials favored traditional designs for new houses, as they were easiest to resell. The stimulus provided by World War II resulted in a new surge in the housing market during the 1940s.

Residential Neighborhood Growth

The 1910s had seen relatively slow growth for Fort Collins, with no new subdivisions platted during the 1911-19 period. The Census of 1920 showed an increase of just over five hundred from 1910 for a total population of 8,755. The 1920s saw a renewal of interest in residential development in the city. The western edge of the city was again an area of activity, accompanied by developments in the extreme southeast. Four hundred acres became a part of Fort Collins as a result of annexations during the 1920s, mostly along the western boundary of the city. The largest annexation of the period was that of City Park (Prospect Park and Grandview Cemetery) in 1922. Figure 54 is a 1940 city map, illustrating the extent of the city, the street layout, and platted subdivisions at that time.

Developers of subdivisions during the 1920s usually selected sites which offered little resistance to development and were initially rather flat and barren. Overlaid upon this environment were gridirons of streets and generally small to moderate sized lots. The developers platted lots, laid out streets and then often sold most of their land to small builders or individual buyers who hired their own builder.

Subdivisions platted in the western portion of the city included: Westlawn (1920); Mountain View (1922); Frey (1924); Kenwood Heights (1924); Juel Place (1924); Babbitt Addition (1925); and Sylvan Place (1925). Caroline E. Mantz created the Westlawn Subdivision, between Washington and Whitcomb from Mulberry to Laurel. M.S. Fishback, Beulah Babbitt Cameron, Louisa A. Secord, Mayme C. Farrar, Mrs. S.V. Lynes, Leonard E. Smith, Eva Newton, Murl McNece, Harl A. Buoy, and Grace McNece created the Babbitt Addition northwest of Mountain and Roosevelt. Annie Frey, widow of Henry Frey, platted the Frey Subdivision, west of the Babbitt Addition. Kenwood Heights was originated by Clyde M. Lyon between Shields and Mountain south of Woodford Avenue. J.F. Spangler, and C. Juel platted Juel Place between Mountain, Mack, and Washington.

The Mountain View Addition was platted in 1922 northwest of Laporte and Shields south of Maple by Francis L. Toliver. F.L. "Roy" Toliver came to Fort Collins from Missouri in 1908. In 1919, he bought half interest in an existing business and the firm of Toliver and Kinney engaged in the sale of coal and gasoline, as well as storage and transfer work. The firm expanded to include a wide selection of hardware in 1938. Toliver purchased an eight-acre tract of land at the northwest corner of Shields and Laporte where he raised thoroughbred chickens and hogs as a hobby. In 1922, Toliver platted this land as the Mountain View Addition to Fort Collins. Toliver built a home there in the Art Moderne style in 1938. Perhaps the only residence of this style in the city, the Toliver House was designed by Denver architect Lester Jones with walls composed of smooth stucco and tan brick. The asymmetrical house has varied setbacks, a projecting entrance bay, and vertical bands of glass blocks and ribbons of multi-light windows.

In the southeast, subdivision development occurred south of the Lake Park area and included G.F. Wiard's Addition southwest of Lake and College (1921). L.C. Moore's three resubdivisions of portions of the Lake Park Addition occurred in 1922, in an area from College to Stover and from Pitkin to Prospect. Moore's subdivisions attracted some of the city's most successful businessmen and also fraternities and sororities which built large chapter houses in the new additions.

Justice Place, southwest of Prospect and Peterson (1924) was the creation of Moses K. Justice. I.C. Bradley's Addition (1925) south of Moore's additions was developed as a result of the Larimer County oil boom of the mid-1920s. Bradley was a Missouri native who came to Fort Collins in 1901 and operated such diverse businesses as a print shop, a bicycle shop, a dairy farm, and a poultry hatchery. Person Subdivision between Prospect and Parker from College to Peterson was created in 1926. Fred G. Person, a professor of physics and electrical engineering at Colorado Agricultural College, was the mover behind the Person Subdivision.

L.C. Moore also platted the College Heights Addition, a forty acre tract east of the new high school building. In 1925, the newspaper headlines announced, "College Heights Section Taking on Appearance of Real Big Town Addition." The associated story reported that the site was "one of the most perfect lying pieces of ground ever brought into the city as an addition." The developer hoped to attract wealthy residents as building restrictions in the subdivision stipulated that "no home of less than $5,000 valuation shall be built." The subdivision was described in glowing terms by the Express Courier, which remarked that "this high, sightly location overlooks some of Fort Collin's most pretentious homes (and) commands wonderful views of the Rocky Mountains to the west and farming country to the east and north." To publicize the addition, the Express Courier planned to build a "demonstration residence" at the northeast intersection of Lake and Whedbee designed by George F. Johnson of Fort Collins and built by Ernest P. DeMoulin.

Relatively few subdivisions were platted in the city during the decade of the 1930s. The Grey-Strecker subdivision (1936) was created in the southeast, while the Rostek Addition (1930) was platted in the extreme northwest. The Rostek Addition was undertaken by John G. Rostek and the First National bank in Fort Collins. No annexations took place during the 1930s. In 1940, the area of Fort Collins stood at approximately 1851 acres (2.9 square miles), nearly double the area of the 1873 plat. The city's 1940 population of 12,251, an increase of 6.6 percent or 762 from 1930, was the eighth largest in Colorado. Between 1880 and 1940, the population of Fort Collins had increased nearly tenfold, from 1,356 to 12,251. Figure 55 shows areas of the city with high concentrations of older housing stock. Using a 1958 study of the city's housing, areas of the community where at least ninety percent of dwelling units were constructed 1937 or earlier were identified and mapped.

Alta Vista

In the northeast part of town, Alta Vista (1927) was platted by the Great Western Sugar Company northwest of Vine and Lemay as a residential area for Spanish-American workers at the sugar factory. Most of the German Russian workers who worked in the beet fields had a goal of owning their own farms. Gradually, these workers acquired their own plots of land where they grew sugar beets and thus stopped working as seasonal laborers. During World War I, European immigration ceased and the numbers of German Russians entering Fort Collins dwindled. As the supply of German Russian laborers decreased, new groups came into the area to replace them, including Japanese and Hispanic workers. In the early days, the Hispanic laborers were generally seasonal workers who lived in one or two room adobe, brick, or frame shacks built by the sugar company. By 1924 over two hundred such structures had been erected. However, seasonal migratory workers were not considered as skilled and efficient as those who stayed in the same jobs from year to year. In 1923, Great Western Sugar announced plans to create a "Spanish colony" in which each worker would own his own house.

Great Western Sugar's concept for the colony, which was named "Alta Vista," was that the company would supply the building materials and the workers would construct their own houses utilizing adobe bricks made on the site during the off season. To obtain a deed for the property, the worker would agree to remain for five years and would pay nothing the first year, and a graduated mortgage rate over the next three years. On the fifth year, the worker would pay to have the deed filed.

The first six houses in the company subdivision were built by Felipe and Pedro Arellano, who were natives of northern New Mexico. The brothers also helped other residents to build their houses. The material for a two-room house cost seventy-five dollars. The adobe houses were rectangular two room dwellings with gabled roofs, with gable ends filled with wood framing. The houses featured two double-hung windows and an off-center entrance with plain wooden surrounds on the facade. Many workers added on to their homes when they could afford to build additional rooms.

A survey of beet sugar laborers in the 1920s determined that Fort Collins was the only town where Spanish-speaking workers were becoming farm tenants or owners. The Hispanic community in Fort Collins was large enough to support a church, Spanish language newspapers, a chile parlor, and a weaving school and shop. Great Western Sugar assisted the community in purchasing a church for a Catholic congregation in 1924. The wood frame church located at the northwest corner of Cherry and Whitcomb was called St. Joseph's Mexican Catholic Church. In 1929, Holy Family Church was built across the street from the earlier church.

Property Types


Post World War I Urban Growth, 1919-1941. This theme covers the period beginning after World War I, includes the Great Depression, and ends with America's entrance into World War II.

Potential Property Types

Historic resources related to this theme are diverse and include many of those listed for the previous context including commercial buildings; automotive service buildings; hotels; schools; meeting places; office buildings; utility buildings such as the power plant; college buildings such as a dormitory and student union. The company houses associated with Great Western Sugar's Alta Vista subdivision would form a separate subtype under residential resources. Single family dwellings are probably the most numerous examples of the residential property type associated with the period.

Residential Architecture. By the end of World War I, more people were living in the city than in rural areas for the first time in the country's history. Many of these city dwellers had been drawn by high paying jobs resulting from the war and chose to remain in the city following the resolution of the conflict. At the same time, it became increasingly difficult for Americans to own their own homes, and many unmarried people lived in apartments or rented housing. The ideal of owning a home away from the inner city had taken root in the American psyche, and architects and builders sought to exploit the boom in suburban housing. In 1921, the Architect's Small House Service Bureau was founded to provide local builders with designs for small dwellings. The Bureau offered the public an "architectural melting pot" of home designs.

During the period following World War I, a wide range of architectural styles were employed in residential construction. These new styles were partially a reaction to the standardization and uniformity of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. At the same time, these houses reflected a concern for the role of women in society and emphasized simplicity, unpretentiousness, and sanitation. Advances in technology allowed new designs as techniques for adding a thin veneer of brick or stone to a balloon frame house were perfected. Small cottages could then mimic more substantial masonry residences. These advances resulted in the popularity of a full complement of European and Colonial American styles during the decades before World War II.

Pattern books continued to be a popular means of transmitting styles from one section of the country to the other. The Ladies Home Journal was the largest supplier of mail order plans in the country and other magazines made house plans a major part of their publications. Newspapers like the Fort Collins Express carried advertisements for mail order house plan catalogs and published examples of home designs. In its April 1925 "Build Your Own Home" section, the newspaper carried a design for a "practical little home" in the Colonial style with wide siding painted white and a full-width porch supported by classical columns.

The Colonial Revival style retained its great popularity in the city during the period the English styles flourished. The mid-twentieth century Colonial Revival homes for the middle class generally featured simple, unpretentious plans, symmetrical facades, and a direct link with America's heritage, which appealed to the home buyer of the 1920s.

Large scale Colonial Revival homes were erected in Fort Collins during the 1920s for wealthy residents. The style was characterized by an accentuated front door, multi-pane, double-hung windows which were evenly spaced, and a side gabled roof with boxed cornice and little overhang. Dormers, quoins, and shutters were also common elements. Pioneer livestock raiser Edward F. Munroe built a large frame Colonial Revival style house at 1220 South College which featured fanlights in the gable ends and a flat roofed portico with classical columns.

The Dutch Colonial Revival style continued to be very popular in Fort Collins into the 1920s and was versatile enough that it could be used for large mansions and small cottages. The style was generally considered less formal, reminiscent of early farmhouses. Lawyer Lawrence Temple and his wife Ethel built a Dutch Colonial Revival style home at 120 East Buckeye in L.C. Moore's First Subdivision. The two-story side gambrel roof house had shingle clad walls, gabled wall dormers, and a central entrance flanked by groups of six-light windows with shutters (See Figure 56). College professor and mayor of Fort Collins Clark H. Alford built a Dutch Colonial Revival style home at 1417 South College in 1924, with side gambrel roof, stuccoed walls, and a projecting, curved porch roof supported by classical columns. Auto sales manager Fred Larimer built a similar style house nearby at 1421 South College in 1928 with a side gambrel roof and a projecting porch with broken pediment supported by squared columns flanked by twelve-over-one light windows.

The Bungalow style also continued to be popular in Fort Collins after World War I. The 1920 house erected at 1160 Laporte represents one of the more finely crafted examples of the style in the city (See Figure 56, earlier). The house had the gabled roof with overhanging eaves, broad porch, dormer, and multi-over-single light windows typical of the style. Notable architectural elements included the combination of wall materials, including stucco, clapboard, and stone; tile roofing, decorative beams, and exposed rafters; stucco and half-timbering in gable ends; a porte cochere with stone piers; and the door with divided sidelights and wood paneled surround.

Larimer County pioneer and real estate developer Benjamin F. Flowers built a small Bungalow style home at 1400 Laporte in 1924. The one-story house was constructed of light colored brick with dark colored mortar and had a side gabled roof with widely overhanging eaves, exposed rafters, and triangular knee braces. The residence had a large front dormer and an off-center porch with pergola-like beams and geometric balustrade. A garage built with the house was of the same architectural style.

The peak of home building during the era between World Wars I and II came in 1925 in the United States. Most styles popular during the era were revivals, with the English influence with its half-timbering and steeply pitched roofs being the favorite. From large Elizabethan residences and Tudor Revival style homes to small English/Norman Cottages, the English style held sway and continued to be popular in Fort Collins into the 1940s. A typical well built example of the English/Norman Cottage style was the home of widow Mary Hill constructed at 608 S. College in 1946 (See Figure 57). The brick dwelling featured overlapping and intersecting gables and a projecting entrance bay with arched entrance with stone surround. An unusual variation of the style was the brick cottage with false thatch roofing built by insurance businessman Howard T. Hunter in 1930 at 1315 Remington Street (see Figure 57).

Tudor Revival and Jacobean/Elizabethan style homes were usually reserved for large, freestanding mansions of the well-to-do. These styles were characterized by steeply pitched gables, massive chimneys crowned by decorative chimney pots, decorative half-timbering or decorative brickwork, and tall, narrow, casement windows with multiple lights. Distinguished professor Emil P. Sandsten built a large residence in the Jacobean/ Elizabethan style at 1413 South College in 1926. Typical elements of the style represented by the Sandsten house included the brick construction, intersecting gables and dormers, arched entrance, and prominent chimney (See Figure 58).

The smaller English/Norman Cottages were widely built by the middle class home owner. In Colorado, these cottages were generally constructed of brick and had steeply pitched gabled rooflines, with overlapping gables, gabled entrance bays with round arched openings, facade chimneys, and casement or multi-light double-hung windows. A good example of the style is found at 429 South Howes, which features a steeply pitched, cross-gabled roof, a tapered facade chimney, and gabled entrance with round arched opening.

Large scale versions of several of these styles were popular for sorority and fraternity houses which proliferated during the 1920s and early 1930s. The Delta Delta Delta sorority erected an impressive brick residence in the Tudor Revival style at 1504 Remington in 1929. The house was notable for its multi-hued brick construction with multiple gables and a two-story tower, as well as the stucco, half-timbering, and decorative brickwork in the gable ends of the building (See Figure 59). Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity built a large Colonial Revival style residence at 121 East Lake in 1930. The two-and-a-half story brick residence had a hipped roof with multiple hipped roof dormers and a monumental portico with classical columns (See Figure 59).

Other styles popular during the period between the wars were Mediterranean and Spanish Colonial. These styles were widely built in the Southwest and California, and a smaller number of these homes were built in Colorado. Characteristic features were stucco wall surfaces, tile roofs, eaves with little overhanging, and arched openings. Lumber dealer R. Irl Mawson built a Mediterranean style home on prestigious South College Avenue in 1929. The brick dwelling at 1530 South College was distinguished by its multiple hipped and gabled bays, red tile roofing, and porch with round arched entrance. A variety of windows graced the design of the house, including a triple window with a series of three round arched windows with multiple lights connected by a decorative brick arch. Of particular note was the skill of the brick masonry, which included blind brick arches with diapered brickwork.

Newspaper publisher and businessman James G. McCormick also built a Spanish Colonial Revival style residence at 1520 South College. The McCormick home had roughly stuccoed walls and a raised brick foundation. The house was composed of multiple gables, including a front gable with shaped parapet. Red tile roofing, exposed beams, and an arcaded porch with wrought iron balustrade ornamented the home. Other notable elements were the Palladian motif window of the central gable, the carved ornament in the curvilinear parapet, and the French doors with wrought iron balconet.

Modernistic styles such as Art Moderne and Art Deco were popular during 1920-1940 in the United States, although not built in large numbers in most cities. Art Moderne dwellings featured smooth wall surfaces; flat roofs with coping; horizontal grooves in walls; and an asymmetrical composition. Art Deco dwellings also had a smooth wall surface, usually of stucco; geometric decorative elements such as zigzags; and vertical projections on the roofline. The International style was developed by European architects after World War I in an attempt to utilize the materials and technology of the times. The International style was characterized by a smooth wall surface, flat roof, asymmetrical facade, and metal casement windows set flush with outer walls.

Architect Lester Jones designed Francis LeRoy "Roy" Toliver's home at 1102 Laporte in the rare Art Moderne style (See Figure 60). The house was asymmetrical in plan, with varied setbacks. Notable details of the construction included smooth stucco and tan brick walls, vertical bands of glass blocks, a projecting entrance bay with metal hood and ribbons of multi-light windows which extended around the corners of the building.

The Boulder architectural firm of Huntington and Hunter designed a home at 701 East Elizabeth for ranchers Richard and Flora Brackenbury in 1938, one of the few substantial residences erected during the Depression in the city. The house was designed in what the firm termed the "Southwest Colonial" style, a style that the architects also chose for their Floral Park district in Boulder. The large house was a two-story building with minimal exterior ornamentation and a symmetrical design with a low pitched roof, smooth stuccoed walls with belt course, a prominent central entrance, and large multi-light windows (See Figure 60).

As during other periods, vernacular housing continued to be popular, especially among working class homeowners. After World War I, vernacular homes were often of frame construction with side gabled roofs. These homes frequently employed simplified details from the Bungalow and Craftsman homes, including small, gabled or shed porch hoods supported by triangular knee braces, overhanging eaves and exposed rafters, and multiple lights in the upper sash of windows.

Apartments. One of the few large privately financed building projects during the Depression in Fort Collins was the erection of a brick Jacobean/Elizabeth style apartment building during 1931-1936. Louise G. Chestnut obtained a building permit for a twenty-two room apartment house to cost an estimated $54,500 in November 1931. Apparently Chestnut had difficulty seeing the project to completion as four years later, the Boulevard Investment Company obtained a permit to finish the building at 221 Mathews. The two-story building is one of the best examples of the Jacobean/Elizabethan style in the city and is notable for its steeply pitched gables with stucco and half-timbering, wrought iron and terra cotta ornamentation, stone entrance surround, and decorative wing walls (See Figure 61).

Commercial Buildings. The Factory/Warehouse style was utilized primarily for industrial and storage applications in the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries and was characterized by brick construction, a flat roof, minimal ornamentation, and an urban setting. A good example of the Factory/Warehouse style in Fort Collins is the building erected by A.D. McMillan at 300 North College in 1932-1934 to house his freight and storage business (See Figure 62). Because of the economic crisis, McMillan used the barter system to obtain the lumber and materials necessary to construct the building. One of the first fireproof structures in Fort Collins, the walls of the building were sixteen to eighteen inches thick and composed of concrete reinforced with rebar and faced with brick. The two-story building had a rather plain, symmetrical facade with a shaped parapet at cornice level, brick pilasters, and a central entrance flanked by large windows.

After World War I, the influence of European modernism was felt in the popularity of the Art Deco style, which emphasized the use of geometric forms and verticality, such as piers extending from the ground to beyond the roof of a building, creating a jagged top. During the 1930s and 1940s, the Art Deco style became streamlined, with a more horizontal emphasis, bands of windows, smooth wall surfaces, and rounded corners. New materials such as Carrara glass were employed in bold colors. The extensive remodeling of the Northern Hotel undertaken in 1924, which included the addition of a fourth floor and elevators, incorporated Art Deco ornament. An Art Deco facade was created with the addition of fifteen pilasters which terminated in triangular, pointed finials above the flat roof and a frieze design of running triangles and chevrons.

Arthur E. Pringle designed the Armstrong Hotel, built in 1922-1923 at the corner of College and Oak. The three-story brick building reflected a restrained design which featured a flat roof with central parapet. The building's symmetrical facade had evenly spaced windows on the second and third stories and large display windows on the first floor.

Schools. The beautiful new Fort Collins High School, completed in 1924, was a stately, three-story brick building with a central, pedimented portico supported by three-story classical columns. Above the portico was a delicate tower. The symmetrical building had bands of double-hung, paired windows with contrasting, shared lintels and sills. The layout of Fort Collins High School took the form of the letter "E", with a long north-south facade, two perpendicular bays on either end, and a shorter perpendicular central bay. The new high school was surrounded by a fifteen acre campus, four times the area of the facility it replaced. The expanded school grounds reflected the view of that era that schools were best placed in park-like settings. Shop buildings were added to the school in 1940, followed by another addition in 1952.

Harmony School, erected in 1931 to serve local farm families, was one of the few Art Deco style buildings erected in Fort Collins (See Figure 62). The two-story brick schoolhouse had a central entrance bay with engaged brick pilasters with terra cotta capitals with a geometric floral design and three narrow vertical windows flanked by etched glass sidelights with Art Deco design. The wings flanking the entrance bay had engaged brick pilasters with terra cotta capitals flanking ribbons of windows. The school year at Harmony School was structured around the farm schedule, with a fall vacation at beet harvest time. A teacherage was built east of the school grounds.

The principal private school established in Fort Collins prior to 1941 was St. Joseph's School, a Catholic educational facility constructed in 1925 at 101 North Howes. Schoeman described the building as the only Spanish Colonial Revival structure in the Downtown Development Area district. The one-story building is comprised of tan-colored brick on a raised red stone foundation with a symmetrical facade and a curvilinear central gable.

Expansion of the university campus resulted in improvement of facilties during the postwar period. Ammons Hall, completed in 1922, represented elements of the Italian Renaissance style. Denver architect Eugene Groves designed this brick women's gymnasium and social center which featured a swimming pool, gymnasium, auditorium, offices, and dining and conference rooms. Other buildings erected during the 1920s included the Administration Building (1923-1924), Men's Gym and Fieldhouse (1924), Library (1927). Examples of buildings erected during the Depression include the original Student Center (1936) and Rockwell Hall, a women's dormitory (1940).

Government Buildings. In 1922, a new National Guard Armory was built on South College Avenue near the Agricultural College. The two-story brick building had a raised foundation and a recessed entrance with squared classical columns supporting an entablature. The facade featured a shallow, central gable with decorative corbelling, flanked by corner towers with shaped parapets. By the late 1930s, National Guard units of the 157th Infantry and 168th Field Artillery were stationed at the facility.

Meeting Places. The Masonic Temple was one of the few monumental buildings erected in Fort Collins during the 1920s and was an example of the longevity of the Beaux Arts influence in the city. Built in 1925, the massive structure featured a central portico with large boxed pediment containing the Masonic emblem, a frieze with the engraving MASONIC TEMPLE, and six two-story Tuscan columns, four of which are paired. The walls were composed of cream colored brick. The roof of symmetrical the building was flat, with an accentuated cornice and small attic level windows.

Utilities. The design of the 1935 power plant erected at 430 North College reflected Modernistic influences, including stepped setbacks of from one to three stories in height, coping at cornice level, flat roofs, strips of windows with metal frames, and parapet above entrance with vertical design. Large smokestacks projected from the third story and a railroad spur served the installation (See Figure 63).

Property Types

Context Post World War I Urban Growth, 1919-1941. This context covers developments during the 1920s and the period of the Great Depression.

Registration Requirements

Although a significant amount of research has been conducted on the early history of Fort Collins, less work has been done on the city's history since World War I. Few resources associated with this context have been designated. To be determined eligible, residences should maintain a high degree of integrity of design, materials, craftsmanship, location, setting, and feeling. Commercial buildings should also maintain high integrity. Of special significance are buildings which are good examples of a particular style or which represent innovative architecture. Buildings associated with Depression-era public works projects are significant under criterion A if they maintain integrity. Members of property types would be considered eligible under the same circumstances as those of the 1900-1919 period. In addition, some buildings constructed after 1942 which have achieved significance during the past fifty years might be of exceptional importance, thereby qualifying under criterion consideration G.

Threats to Resources

Resources in the 1200 through 1400 blocks of South College Avenue are experiencing substantial development pressures as many of the old residences have been converted to commercial uses, such as the 1301 and 1220 South College Avenue. Residential resources near the university along College Avenue are experiencing conversion to multi-unit dwellings and rental applications, as well as conversion to commercial uses. As noted earlier, the high traffic volume on College Avenue has already made the thoroughfare an intrusion in the historic area, effectively dividing the resources on opposite sides of the street and making existing resources less desirable for their original residential uses. Other threats include inappropriate remodeling which diminishes the integrity of materials or design.

Designated Resources

National Register of Historic Places
Ammons Hall, CSU Campus Ammons Hall, CSU Campus, 1978
Local Historic Landmarks
Power Plant Power Plant and Art Deco Fountain, 401 N. College Ave., 1987
Jasper Loomis House Jasper Loomis House, 1316 West Oak Street, 1994
Fort Collins High School Fort Collins High School, 1400 Remington Street, 1994
Hunter House & Garage Hunter House & Garage, 1315 Remington Street, 1994
John S. & Lillie Schalk/William A. Stallings House & Garages John S. & Lillie Schalk/William A. Stallings House & Garages, 319 East Plum Street, 1995
Annie's Grave Site Annie's Grave Site & Memorial Headstone, 136 LaPorte Avenue, 1995
 Wesley & Edith Dealy/Melville & Maude Good J. Wesley & Edith Dealy/Melville & Maude Good, 233 South Howes Street, 1996
Marion Alice Parker/Frank P. Stover House Marion Alice Parker/Frank P. Stover House, 1320 West Oak Street, 1996
Anna B. Miller House Anna B. Miller House, 514 East Elizabeth Street, 1996
St. Joseph's Catholic School St. Joseph's Catholic School, 127 North Howes Street, 1996
  William Welscher Residence, 1304 South College Avenue, 1996
William E. Greffenius House & Garage William E. Greffenius House & Garage, 824 Remington Street, 1996.
Phi Delta Theta Fraternity House Phi Delta Theta Fraternity House, 200 East Plum Street, 1996
1936 Model 221D Diamond T Aerial Ladder Fire Truck Fort Collins Museum's 1936 Model 221D Diamond T Aerial Ladder Fire Truck, located at 200 Mathews, 1996
Long Apartment Complex Long Apartment Complex, 220 East Laurel Street,1997
  Elizabeth Collins House & Associated Structures, 924 West Magnolia Street, 1997
Harmony School Harmony School, 2112 East Harmony Road, 1997
148 Remington Street Poudre Garage, 148 Remington Street, 1997
Floyd & Fay Vanderwark House & Garage Floyd & Fay Vanderwark House & Garage, 1109 West Oak Street, 1998
George Wolfer House & Garages George Wolfer House & Garages, 1400 West Oak Street, 1998
  Rush & Jean C. Locke House, 719 East Prospect Road, 1998
  Mittry-Young House, 1601 Sheely Drive, 1998
508 West Olive Street Rosenoff/Smith House, 508 West Olive Street, 1996

Data Gaps

Commercial buildings of the 1920s.

Apartment buildings in Fort Collins.

Examples of Modernistic influences in Fort Collins.

Public works relief program construction in the Fort Collins area.

1540-1858 | 1844-1866 | 1866-1877 | 1877-1900 | 1900-1919 | 1919-1941 | Introduction

Table 1 - Population Growth
Table 2 - List of Historic Subdivisions

Fort Collins Museum of Discovery          Poudre River Public Library District
Preserving the history of Fort Collins, Colorado & the Cache la Poudre region