1540-1858 | 1844-1866 | 1866-1877 | 1877-1900 | 1900-1919 | 1919-1941 | Introduction
The first part of the twentieth century witnessed unparalleled prosperity and growth in Fort Collins. The development of the sugar beet industry underlay the decade's expansion but much of the growth also reflected the steady progress and accumulation of facilities which marked the city as a stable and mature community. Recovering from the Panic of 1893, local businessmen became optimistic about future development, and the vital farm economy also recovered. Lawrence Baume has noted that the average yearly construction expenditures in the town between 1883 and 1897 had been approximately $50,000. This figure grew to $477,760 in 1904 and to over $1,000,000 in 1907. New residences and businesses were constructed, as well as buildings to house the institutions responsible for promoting culture, including a library, schools, recreational facilities, and churches. At the same time, many of the original buildings of the fort had been demolished. Figure 39 is a map of Fort Collins and vicinity from a portion of a 1906 U. S. Geological Survey map.
The Sugar Beet Industry
The depressed economy of the 1890s, which resulted in part from the decline in mining and agricultural setbacks, led entrepreneurs to seek other forms of investment. One enterprise which seemed to hold promise was the sugar beet industry which could provide income for farmers, laborers, industrial workers, and capitalists. The first sugar beet factory in the Rocky Mountain region was built at Lemhi, Utah, in 1891. In 1899, the Colorado Sugar Manufacturing Company established a beet sugar factory in Grand Junction with funding from Denver mining magnates such as Charles Boettcher, J. J. Brown, and John F. Campion. In 1901, the same men founded the Great Western Sugar Company, which became the largest producer of beet sugar in the country.
As early as the 1870s, there had been proposals for the establishment of a beet sugar factory in Colorado. Peter Magnes of Littleton grew the first sugar beets in Colorado during the 1860s. Magnes and Jacob Schirmer incorporated the Colorado Beet Sugar Manufacturing Company with a plan to grow sugar beets and process them in a factory. Although the factory was never built, Magnes and Schirmer did experiment with and promote the growing of beets. The Department of Agriculture and the Experiment Station of Colorado Agricultural College were enthusiastic about the possibilities of sugar beets for farmers. The Experiment Station conducted numerous tests to determine the suitability of sugar beets to the native environment and to develop more productive strains of the vegetable. Substantial information about all aspects of beet culture was disseminated through the Field and Farm Journal. Towns across the state began to compete for the honor of being selected as the site of a factory.
In 1901, the newly-formed Great Western Sugar Company established a beet sugar plant in Loveland, the fourth in the state. The agricultural experiment station had proved that beets could be profitably grown in Larimer County and the Loveland factory was quickly judged a success. In rapid succession, Eaton and Greeley also obtained factories. For Fort Collins business interests it was "unthinkable" for their city not to share in the new industry. A group of prominent local businessmen took matters in their own hands and established a company to build a factory and process beets. The Fort Collins Sugar Manufacturing Company was formed by Benjamin F. Hottel, James Arthur, Peter Anderson, Joseph McClelland, Jesse Harris, Jacob Welch, and C.R. Welch. The group purchased the Alexander Barry farm and a large parcel of land owned by Boulder banker Charles Buckingham for their factory site. J.F. Kilby was contractor for the factory which was erected in 1902-1903. The factory processed its first beets in January 1904. The Great Western Sugar Company purchased the Loveland and Fort Collins factories in the summer of 1904.
The impact of the sugar factory on Fort Collins was so sub-stantial that historian Evadene Swanson judged that much of Fort Collins' "prosperity for the next forty years revolved around the cultivation of beets and the feeding of lambs. Local business hinged on the program." Area farmers had pledged to put a minimum of five thousand acres in sugar beets as an incentive for constructing a factory. Fields north of town near the factory and in the southwestern portion of town were used for beet cultivation. While the first processing season of the factory yielded just over 79,000 bags of sugar, by 1927 927,475 bags were produced.
For four months of the year, hundreds of persons were employed at the Fort Collins factory. The impact of the factory on the town was immediate. Real estate prices in the entire vicinity escalated and local builders found unparalleled opportunities for construction activity. The employment rate surged, new businesses were attracted to the city, and a dramatic increase in population was measured. The growth of population necessitated improvement and expansion of city services, which included the extension and enlargement of the city water system, the construction of a Carnegie Library, and the incorporation of the Poudre Valley Gas Company, all in 1904.
The first decade of the twentieth century saw the most rapid rate of growth ever posted by Fort Collins, as the town's population more than doubled, from 3,053 in 1900 to 8,210 in 1910. The nearly 169 percent increase was attributable to economic expansion as well as annexations of residential subdivisions. Fort Collins leaped from the sixteenth to the sixth most populous city in Colorado in the Census of 1910, a position it held until 1940. The composition of the population was overwhelmingly native white in character with few numbers of racial minorities present. In 1910, the large majority of Fort Collins' population of 8,210 was composed of native whites of native white parents--5,857 or seventy-one percent. An additional 1,419 residents (17.3 percent) were native whites of foreign or mixed parentage. Less than eleven percent (893 persons) were foreign born whites that year, while only thirty-two blacks and nine Indian, Chinese, or Japanese persons were counted.
The 1910s saw relatively slow growth for the city. The 1920 Census showed an increase of just over 500 from 1910 for a total population of 8,755. A similar nativity and ethnic breakdown was revealed by the 1920 Census. Of the city total of 8,755 persons, 6,386 persons (seventy-three percent) were native whites of native parentage. Native whites of foreign or mixed parentage numbered 1,546 or less than eighteen percent. Foreign born whites constituted about nine percent of the total population; only seven blacks were enumerated.
Development of the City
The Fort Collins central business district at the turn of the century extended from the north side of Jefferson southwest to the southern blockface of Mountain Avenue at College, as well as most of the two blocks from College to Mason and Mountain to Maple. The extent of the downtown commercial area in 1901 covered approximately forty-eight acres. While the block bounded by Jefferson, Walnut, Pine, and Linden was wholly commercial, most of the remaining blocks of the CBD embraced mixed uses, including a mingling of single family dwellings. The bulk of structures in the CBD at this time tended to be low-rise buildings of brick or frame of one or two stories. The overall growth of the city during the 1900-10 period was reflected in substantial growth of the business core. By 1909, the downtown commercial area had expanded to the northeast, west, and south and covered approximately seventy-four acres.
Outside of the commercial core, land uses were almost exclusively residential, religious, or educational in nature. Industrial uses generally were found clustered north of Jefferson near the Cache la Poudre River and along the Colorado and Southern Railway tracks along Mason Street north of Mountain Avenue. One new industry was the Poudre Valley Gas Company, incorporated in 1904 to construct and operate a gas plant to provide illuminating and heating gas to the city. The gas plant was located near the intersection of North College and the Colorado and Southern Railroad tracks.
In 1902, one architect was listed in the Fort Collins City Directory, Montezuma W. Fuller. Twenty-seven contractors and builders advertised in the 1902 directory, including two brick contractors, John G. Lunn and R.R. McGregor. Other contractors and builders included C.A. Button, V.C. Bodwell, Walter Cakebread, Clark Chickering, Harry Davie, John C. Davis, Orton Davis, G.A. Dukes, J.W. Dukes, W.T. Early, Michaud Felix, F.L. Garnick, J.B. Hall, W.H. Kerrick, Robert B. Leonard, J.A. Millinger, S.J. Milligan, Samuel E. Moore, J.L. Rowe, H.H. Sargent, H.W. Schroeder, George A. Spencer, M.F. Tracy, J.E. Walker, and C.N. Wilson.
By 1910, one architectural firm was listed in the city directory, Fuller & Garbutt, composed of architects Montezuma Fuller and Arthur M. Garbutt. Thirty contractors and builders were listed in the directory of that year, including M.C. Bassett, F.J. Bell, B.F. Byerly, M.G. Conley, Harry Davies, W.F. Deatrick, M.I. Dotson, H.M. Finney, Thomas Garnick, Garnick & Son, W.T. Early, Perry Harrington, C.B. Hertzog, J.P. Holloway, B.W. Jones, G.W. King, George W. Lindenmeier, R.R. Lindenmeier, James Love, C.J. Loveland, F.W. Mercer, J.M. Morrison, Roller & Sheely, S.W. Sanford, H.W. Schroeder, H.W. Snidow, L.M. Spencer, Alonzo Waggener, J.L. Wallace, and Ernest Waycott.
The Streetcar System
The first electric streetcar installed in Richmond, Virginia, in 1888, was quickly followed by streetcar systems in cities across the country. A streetcar system began operating in Fort Collins in late 1907 and the lines constructed were a factor shaping future residential and commercial development within the city. The impetus for construction of the system came from the Colorado and Southern (C&S) Railway through its subsidiary, the Denver and Interurban Railroad. The latter company had been created by the C&S in the belief that such electric-powered intra- and intercity lines could be a profitable supplement to its existing mainline railroad operations. In addition to the Fort Collins system, the Denver and Interurban operated streetcars between Denver and Boulder beginning in 1908.
After public debate, Fort Collins granted a streetcar franchise to the Denver and Interurban (D&I) in 1906. The agreement had a term of thirty years, payment of three percent of gross revenues to the city, and a $10,000 security bond. The D&I further pledged to have the system operational within eighteen months and to expand the system as the city grew. Construction of the system, including two lines and other facilities, began in March 1907.
The two initial lines were radial in nature, extending from the downtown commercial core to the western and southern periphery of the city. One line ran 1.8 miles westward from College Avenue along Mountain Avenue to Grandview Cemetery. The other route extended 1.1 miles southward from Mountain Avenue down College Avenue, past the Colorado Agricultural College to Pitkin Street. Additional tracks looped through the downtown area on College, Jefferson, and Linden streets, plus turnaround loops at the end of each line. A brick car barn and powerhouse was built on the southeast corner of Cherry and Howes streets in 1907. The initial cars, large units constructed by the Woeber Carriage Works of Denver, were painted green and yellow with gold lettering and striping and could carry forty-four passengers. The trolley system formally opened for passenger service 29 December 1907, with nickel fares and cars operated on a twenty minute schedule. Figure 40 shows the layout of the Fort Collins system during its years of operation.
The streetcar system was extended out Linden Street in 1908 to the Great Western Sugar Factory and then to Lindenmeier Lake, approximately 1.8 miles northeast of downtown. The sugar factory was a major employer in the city during the four-month beet campaigns each year. The lake had been fitted up as a summer resort by William Lindenmeier, Jr., with picnic areas, a dance pavilion, refreshment hall, and a launch and rowboats. The lake was a popular destination in summer for residents and visitors. In 1909, a line was constructed to serve the eastern portion of town, down Peterson and Whedbee streets to Edwards. The College and Whedbee lines were linked during the mid-1920s at their southern ends along Pitkin to form a large loop.
World War I brought changes to the Fort Collins streetcar system. Along with other railroads, the D&I's parent company, the C&S, was placed under control of the Federal Railroad Administration during World War I. The subsidiary Denver and Interurban, however, was not seized and continued to operate independently. Financial problems were encountered due to increasing operating costs and drops in ridership. In November 1918, the company, unable to meet the interest on its bonds, ceased operations and went into receivership, leaving Fort Collins without mass transit. Peyton and Moorman note that the absence of trolley service "had a negative effect on real estate values in the outlying areas, and business at some downtown stores sagged."
After some debate and an affirmative public vote, the city purchased the trolley system from the receiver in early 1919. The city renamed the system the Fort Collins Municipal Railway (FCMR) and quickly took steps to reduce costs and improve service. Track and overhead were improved and the large Woeber cars were replaced in May 1919 with smaller, one-operator Birney Standard Safety cars manufactured by the American Car Company of St. Louis, Missouri. In June 1919, the stretch of line from the sugar factory to Lindenmeier Lake was abandoned and the track and overhead were used to construct a loop off the West Mountain line to City Park. City Park, purchased by the city in 1907 and subsequently developed, became the western terminus of the Mountain Avenue line with the abandonment of the segment extending to Grandview Cemetery.
The first decades of the twentieth century saw both expansion and contraction of the Colorado and Southern (C&S) lines in northern Colorado. A branch line was built by the C&S in 1903 to serve the newly-constructed sugar beet factory in northern Fort Collins. In 1906, the C&S built a branch line north from Bellevue to the Ingleside limestone quarries, when that stone became important in the processing of sugar beets. During the same period, the Stout branch line was abandoned in segments until it was totally removed in 1918. This corresponded to the decline of stone as a building product and the rise of concrete.
The creation of the Colorado and Southern Railway in 1898, following the period of receivership, had removed the Union Pacific Railroad from the Fort Collins market. By 1906, the UP had formulated plans to re-enter the area by building a line from Denver to Fort Collins and LaSalle, splitting at Dent southwest of Milliken. Grading on the line, which ran west of the existing main UP line, began in 1908 and the tracks reached LaSalle in 1910.
The route of the Union Pacific into Fort Collins from the east proved troublesome, as the C&S already entered the city from that direction. The UP asked the city for a right of way along the north sides of Riverside and Jefferson streets, an area occupied by some of the oldest structures in the community. The right of way was granted and, in 1910, seventy-five buildings, including a number of residences, were razed or moved to make way for the railroad. Many of the historic buildings, such as the first brick home in the city, the Old Grout livery stable, the W.C. Stover store, and the Charles Boettcher store were auctioned off and then razed. Two frame houses and five brick dwellings were moved elsewhere within the town on log rollers. Jessen reports that "the majestic old trees in the area" were also removed in May 1910.
Figure 41, composed of mosaics of Sanborn map sheets from 1909 and 1917, illustrates the wholesale changes wrought to the northern portion of Old Town by the UP project. Previously commercial areas along the north side of Jefferson Street were cleared for use as UP railyards and other facilities. The result was a temporary drop in the geographic extent of the commercial core. By 1925, the downtown business area covered roughly seventy-six acres and displayed growth westward along Mountain Avenue and southward along College Avenue (See Figure 16, earlier).
Union Pacific service to Fort Collins began in July 1911 and the railroad built a number of facilities in the city. The UP passenger depot (1911) at Jefferson and Pine was of brick, with an interior trimmed in oak with a large crown molding along the ceilings. A freight depot was also constructed in 1911 on Linden and an eight-stall roundhouse (demolished 1970) was built near Lemay and Riverside which remained in service until 1930.
Influence of the City Beautiful Movement
The 1893 Columbian Exposition in Chicago had awakened many Americans to the rediscovery of classical architecture and spread the City Beautiful movement. At the fair, architect and planner Daniel H. Burnham had presented a concept for dealing with the chaotic growth many cities were facing. Burnham instructed city planners to "make no little plans; they have no magic to stir men's blood and probably will not be realized." The City Beautiful concept which Burnham advanced was one in which neoclassical public buildings inspired by the French Ecole des Beaux Arts were displayed in a landscape which emphasized order and proportion, with wide streets and orderly parks and vistas carefully situated to provide a feeling of stability and peace. The buildings which resulted were to be grand in scale and of a design and substance to withstand the ages. The City Beautiful was the most influential architectural theme during the early twentieth century, and its impact was clearly felt in Fort Collins.
The civic monuments which were considered worthy of consideration by the movement included "customhouse and courthouse, state capitol, symphony hall, museum, (Carnegie) library, university, home of scientific or learned society, memorial building, and commemorative statue...the Federal Reserve bank, the grand hotel, the tall building, the columned corner bank." In Fort Collins, a new library, banks, a post office, a high school, and college buildings were heavily influenced by the movement, as was the landscape of the city.
By the early twentieth century, a public library was considered a vital component of a mature city. The first tax supported public libraries had been established during the 1830s. In 1881, industrialist and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie had first provided funds for the construction of a library building, which was to be maintained through public taxes. In time, towns across the nation had acquired Carnegie funds to build their own libraries. In 1903, construction of a Fort Collins Carnegie Library began in Lincoln Park, one of the parks planned by the original town founders. A public library association had been formed in 1899 and a number of books had been collected. The library was originally housed on the second floor of the Welch block and later in a room on College Avenue. Carnegie provided the city with a $12,500 donation toward the erection of a free public library to be maintained by the city (See Figure 42). The building, designed by Albert Bryan and built by Butler and McDaniels, was erected in 1903-1904.
Another component of the growing city was expanded educational opportunities. In 1889, the Fort Collins Board of Education had established a four-year high school curriculum aimed at offering an "English and Latin Scientific Course." With E. G. Lyle as Superintendent and Kate M. Alling as principal, classes began in September of that year on part of the upper floor of Franklin School. In 1891, the first graduating class of four women and five men received their diplomas at the Opera House on College Avenue. High school enrollment steadily increased, from forty during 1889-90, to 109 in 1901-02, to 321 in 1909-10.
In 1901, the city block bounded by Magnolia, Meldrum, Mulberry, and Sherwood was purchased for construction of a high school building. High school classes were moved to the new structure upon its completion in October 1903. Following completion of the new high school in 1924, this building became Fort Collins (later Lincoln) Junior High School. The structure received additions in 1915, 1921, and 1939, and has since been razed. The Lincoln Center which replaced it incorporated the old gymnasium.
The city also needed new grade schools to serve a growing student population. The Laurel Street School at the northwest corner of Laurel and Peterson was designed by Montezuma Fuller and completed in 1906. Fuller was also the architect for the Laporte Avenue School of 1907 at the northwest corner of Laporte and Loomis. A detached building to the northeast housed additional school rooms and a kindergarten. Two more grade schools were completed in 1919. Lincoln School in the southeastern Lake Park Addition was constructed on the southeast corner of Elizabeth and Whedbee, while Washington School was built in the Scott-Sherwood Addition in the extreme western portion of the city on Shields and Olive. The two school buildings were apparently built from the same plans, with Washington facing south and Lincoln north. Lincoln School, which was renamed Harris after the naming of Lincoln Junior High in 1939, was added on to in 1947 and 1952, while Washington was remodeled in 1938. The town's early grade schools were all constructed on relatively small sites of one to two acres, which left little room for playgrounds or expansion.
About 1900, the college in Fort Collins began to be referred to as Colorado Agricultural College. Enrollment, which was still less than three hundred students in 1909, topped five hundred students in 1914, and exceeded one thousand students by 1925. During the early twentieth century, a second group of buildings were constructed on the campus, reflecting a range of styles popular during that era. Also during the early twentieth century, fraternities and sororities became popular among the students. Some of the groups erected large chapter houses outside of the college grounds, many of which represented formal architectural styles and were designed by professional architects. In addition, a number of private homes served as boarding houses for college students and faculty members. Not until 1937 did the college build a dormitory for women students.
As the city matured, recreational and social facilities requisite for a significant urban area were constructed. In 1906, a campaign for the erection of a Young Men's Christian Association building was initiated. Local residents pledged $90,000 for the building and furnishings, completed in 1908, on the northwest corner of Remington and Oak. The building was designed by local architect Montezuma Fuller, assisted by Arthur Garbutt, and was one of the largest construction projects of the decade.
Many of the larger towns throughout Colorado erected National Guard armories during the early twentieth century for the training of local units. In 1907, S.H. Clammer and F.A. Carleton built a Fort Collins armory for Company F. The armory contained a basement shooting gallery, a large drill hall, officers' and enlisted men's quarters, and offices. The largest hall in the city when it was erected, the armory was also used as a meeting, convention, and entertainment facility. The building served the National Guard until 1922, when a new facility was built.
Entertainment facilities expanded during the early twentieth century. By the late 1890s motion pictures were being shown in large cities in the United States in buildings known as nickelodeons. In 1913, the first full length film was made in Hollywood. By the time America entered World War I, motion pictures were a popular form of entertainment throughout the country and Fort Collins had its own motion picture houses. The Empress Theater at 161 North College and another motion picture house at 137 East Mountain Avenue offered the latest features to local residents in 1917.
Evadene Swanson noted that the Opera House was affected by changes in public taste brought about by the popularity of movie theaters. In 1917, Ansel Pierce supervised the remodeling of the Opera House which included remodeling most of the facade and the interior auditorium which became a dance hall. By 1925, a third motion picture house appeared in town, at 150 West Mountain. In the 1936 city directory, two moving-picture houses with a capacity of 1,600 seats are listed for Fort Collins.
Parks where citizens could contemplate the beauty of nature and escape the crowding of the inner city were essential to the City Beautiful concept. Fort Collins founders had laid out two parks in their initial plan for the city, Lincoln Park and Washington Park. In 1907, city authorities purchased sixty acres of farm land for the site of another park on the western edge of the city. City Park would offer residents inspiration through its views of the mountains, the city skyline, and the agricultural fields and farmhouses. Grandview Cemetery, which had been laid out in 1887, was an attractive park-like area with circular drives and small landscaped parks with grass, shrubbery, flower, and a multitude of shade and ornamental trees.
In 1911, a new post office and federal building costing $89,000 was erected at the corner of College and Oak streets (See Figure 43). Baume has noted that the removal of the post office from the Old Town area "reaffirmed the fact that Fort Collins was destined to grow towards the south as Franklin Avery... envisioned in 1873."
A large, modern hotel was considered a vital ingredient of every progressive city, and community boosters across the state formed groups to support the erection of such structures. In 1905, David Harris, Jr. sold the Commercial Hotel to a group of prominent local businessmen and developers, including Samuel Clammer, Franklin Avery, George W. Bailey, Dr. P.J. McHugh, James F. Vandewark, and Corwin Welch. These owners established a new hotel named the Northern Hotel and extensively renovated the old hotel building. Albert Bryan, designer of the Carnegie Library, was the architect for the remodeling. The hotel was expanded to include a new dining room and kitchen addition.
Influence of the Automobile
The growing popularity of the automobile brought changes in the appearance and character of the downtown commercial district (See Figure 44). The Model T was introduced in 1909 and the car quickly became an essential ingredient of American family life. Sanborn maps of Fort Collins for 1909 indicate that horses and wagons still dominated the landscape. In 1909, a number of livery stables and barns were found around the commercial district of the city, including the very large operation of Stroud & Jackson at the southwest corner of Jefferson and Chestnut. Of note is a small bicycle and auto shop at 156-158 South College, the only building related to auto uses. The downtown quickly accommodated the automobile and the facilities it demanded. As Richard Longstreth noted
Even widespread use of the automobile generated comparatively few changes in commercial development until after World War II. Indeed, the initial impact of the automobile was to intensify the primacy of the street. In community after community, major routes were widened, straightened and freed of obstacles that might impede the smooth flow of traffic. Offstreet parking in cities was more often than not contained in multistory garages that echoed the form of their office building neighbors...Automobile service centers, including gasoline stations, represented the only substantial departure from the pervasive tendency to enclose space with buildings before the 1940s.
In 1916, the first block of College Avenue was paved with concrete, and paving progressed as traffic increased. By 1917, Sanborn maps of the city detailed a dozen automobile related buildings in the city, including automotive garages with a total capacity of about 275 cars, service stations, repair shops, and automobile dealerships. The largest garage, located at the northwest corner of Laporte and College had a capacity of fifty cars, a repair shop, and office space. Other automotive buildings included an auto assembling and repairing business in the 200 block of Linden and a small shop for "auto tops" in the 200 block of Pine. Toward the end of 1919, the Fort Collins Express reported that the city was carrying out a program of street improvement intended to prepare for future development accommodating a city twice its 1919 size. College Avenue was being paved with reinforced concrete and a center parkway was being planned.
The City Beautiful movement continued to influence the design of the built environment in Fort Collins for many years and the buildings erected during the height of the movement affected the residents' image of their city. As a result of the movement, Fort Collins secured cultural, educational, and recreational facilities which placed it in the ranks of the state's most progressive communities. As late as 1937, the mayor of Fort Collins invited "all to pay Fort Collins--'The City Beautiful'--a visit."
Growth of Residential Subdivisions
The prosperity of the early twentieth century was reflected in the impressive homes erected by many of the city's prominent citizens along South College Avenue of the original townsite. Here members of the city's power elite built houses designed in the popular architectural styles of the day. Among those who displayed their wealth with new homes during the period were attorney Sanford Darrah; Franklin Corbin, head of the Corbin-Black-Wilson Lumber Company and the Hawthorne-Corbin Motor Company; Charles and Mary Lowell, owners of the Lowell-Moore Hardware Company; and Charles R. Evans, manager of J.C. Evans & Son and a founder of the YMCA. South College Avenue continued to be a prestigious address into the 1920s, when new subdivision platting took advantage frontages along the street.
Sugar Beet Suburbs
A spate of subdivision platting activity and annexations which added 325 additional acres to the city occurred during the 1900-10 period. In addition to economic and civic impacts, the sugar beet factory also affected development patterns and the ethnic makeup of Fort Collins. Two of the earliest developments of the decade were Buckingham Place (1903) and Anderson Place (1904), developed as worker housing on the north side of the Cache la Poudre south and east of the sugar factory.
When the factory was built the existing labor supply in Fort Collins was not large enough to support the demands of sugar production. Workers were needed for field labor and to operate the factory during sugar campaigns. To obtain the necessary workers, the sugar company recruited German Russian workers, first from the Arkansas Valley and then from other states, primarily Kansas and Nebraska. The German Russians were accustomed to a relatively harsh climate and the flat, treeless prairies, which were similar to the steppes of western Russia which was their homeland. Large groups of German Russians first came to work in Larimer County in 1902. Railroad cars full of German Russians traveled from Sutton and Lincoln, Nebraska, to Denver and thence to Loveland, where the families occupied both shacks and tents.
In November 1902, a few of the German Russian families elected to spend the winter in Fort Collins rather than to return to Nebraska. A residential area for the experienced workers was created by the Fort Collins Sugar Company on the land it had purchased. The site was across the river from town, near the new factory and the agricultural fields, in a development known as Buckingham Place. Buckingham Place was named after Charles Buckingham, a wealthy Boulder banker who owned large amounts of land in northern Colorado.
The Fort Collins factory thus attempted to ensure that an experienced work force would be available when the factory was complete. The sugar company also placed an advertisement in the local newspaper requesting that beet farmers who wanted to board families for the winter should contact the secretary of the company. During the following spring the company brought several trainloads of workers from Kansas and Nebraska to the city. In order to guarantee the necessary laborers, the sugar companies also imported workers directly from Russia, and sometimes whole villages of people were transported to the United States. Some of the workers continued to stay in shacks during the growing season, however, many took up permanent homes.
A second residential area for beet workers was created on the farm land of Peter Anderson in 1904. Peter Anderson was an incorporator of the Fort Collins Sugar Company who had immigrated from Norway and had been in Colorado since 1864. Anderson had worked as a freighter during the gold rush days, and in 1865, had established a squatter's claim and built a log cabin near the fort. Anderson built up large cattle holdings, only to lose more than half during the winter of 1887-1888. After that disaster, Anderson began a successful mercantile business, served as alderman, on the board of education, bank director, and developed a prosperous farm. He was one of the first in the area to grow sugar beets and employ German Russian laborers.
As was typical of housing developments for factory workers in most communities, the laborers' housing had been established on less desirable land near the factory and the flood plain of the river. In 1904, a spring flood of the Cache la Poudre river inundated several houses in Buckingham. The residents of Fort Collins initiated a community effort to assist the victims of the flood. The Colorado and Southern donated boxcars to serve as temporary housing and local residents provided food and clothing. The outpouring of concern and aid established a bond between the citizens of the town and their German Russian neighbors.
The influx of German Russians had widespread influence on the town. The German Russians preferred to transact business and worship in their native language, so a number of German businesses catered to the group, and churches were erected by them. German grocery stores supplied the needs of these clients, including Sitzman's, Hohnstein's, and Shulthauer's. Meyer Clothing and Rolhing's had German speaking staff and supplied the clothing preferred by the group.
In 1906, Buckingham Place, along with several other subdivisions, was annexed to Fort Collins in a special election held July 26. The town attorney initiated the annexation petition after a petition to incorporate Buckingham as a separate town began circulation. It was reported that the incorporation effort was backed by breweries to permit the sale of liquor there. The subdivision's annexation to Fort Collins permitted city control over the liquor question.
Most real estate development activity during the early 1900s focused on the west side of town, with a number of additions platted along the West Mountain Avenue corridor. Subdivisions in the western area included: Morger-Smith (1905); Grandview (1906); Prospect Place (1906); Washington Place (1906); Capital Hill (1907); City Park Heights (1907); Scott-Sherwood (1907); Hensel's (1908); Van Slyke-Setzler (1909); and Swett's (1910). Much of the land along the corridor was platted in advance of the trolley line along Mountain Avenue becoming operational in late 1907.
Streetcar suburbs were created to attract stable family groups of middle class origins away from the city center to planned residential communities. On small or moderate sized lots, the suburbs housed workers such as teachers, salesmen, and clerks, who traveled via public transportation to their jobs in the heart of the city. The creation of streetcar systems led to the outward growth of the city toward the suburbs which "promised the felicitous unity of urban comforts and rustic simplicity, progress and nostalgia that characterized the ideal American community."
The development of the streetcar system in Fort Collins had a profound impact on the development of its residential areas. In 1908, the Weekly Courier reported that
many fine suburban homes also have been put up, notably along West Mountain Avenue outside of the limits. This growth in the suburban districts will be greater during 1908, because of the completion of the Denver & Interurban to Prospect Park, making both the extension of West Mountain Avenue and Laporte Avenues highly desirable for suburban residences. Real estate men are expecting a boom in all outlying property touched by the lines, as these districts have been brought into close communication with the business center.
As new residential areas were laid out, they were brought within the Fort Collins city limits. A number of annexations totaling 121 acres were approved at a 1906 special election: West Side Addition; Washington Place Addition; Morger-Smith Addition; Grandview Addition; and Prospect Place Addition. The Buckingham Place annexation of 1906 involved seventy-three acres and extended the city boundaries across the Cache la Poudre River. Three small annexations in 1910 brought sixteen acres into the city. By the end of 1910, the city contained 1,441 acres.
James Morger and C. Mackay Smith platted the small Morger-Smith Subdivision in 1905 in an area previously owned by Loomis and Maxwell between Mountain and Laporte east of Shields and west of Mack Street. Ann McMullin created the small Grandview Addition in 1906 immediately west of Morger-Smith. The 1906 Washington Place subdivision was platted by the Pennock Nursery and Seed Company, Solomon S. Peterman, Charles E. Schaap, Orlando P. Shields, Joseph J. Noble, and Jefferson McAnelly. The addition was immediately south of the Morger-Smith subdivision, from Mountain to the alley between Oak and Akin and from Shields to Washington.
Prospect Place was platted by Myron H. Akin and Gordon M. Fothergill in 1906 and was immediately south of the Washington Place addition, from the alley between Oak and Akin to Woodford Avenue and from Shields to Washington. Akin, who would serve as mayor from 1909-1910 was Fothergill's partner in a real estate firm for many years.
The Scott-Sherwood Addition was platted in 1907 by the Edwards and Kissock Agency, which purchased sixty-eight acres of land from A.W. Scott and F.W. Sherwood for $52,000 in what was heralded as Larimer County's "biggest real estate transaction." The developers planned 50 by 190 foot lots and "proposed to have the streets broad and attractive and every effort is to be made to induce buyers to beautify their homes and build handsome houses."
The principals in the Edwards and Kissock Agency were J.A.C. Kissock and A.A. Edwards. Kissock was a Canadian who came to Fort Collins in 1874 and engaged in cattle raising, mercantile trade, real estate, abstracting, and insurance. He was a member of the city council and was active in developing the town's sewer system. Edwards initially came to Fort Collins for a year in 1869. He returned to the town in 1876, where he pursued ranching, bookkeeping, clerking, and milling. Edwards was prominent in water supply issues in the area, serving as general manager of the Laramie-Poudre Reservoir and Irrigation Company and helping to organize the Water Supply and Storage Company. In addition, he was president of the State Board of Agriculture, city alderman, and county treasurer. In 1890, the real estate, abstract, and insurance business of Edwards and Kissock was created.
In 1907, the Capital Hill Addition, a resubdivision of the Doty and Rhodes Addition, was platted by well-known Fort Collins businessmen S.H. Clammer, E.S. Bumstead, B.F. Hottel, and F.P. Stover (listed as president of the Fort Collins Terminal Land and Improvement Company). The FCTL&I Company was formed in 1906 to purchase a right-of-way, railyards, and depot grounds in the city for the Denver, Yellowstone, and Pacific Railroad. The company also speculated by purchasing land along the right-of-way as an investment. Much of this land was later sold to the Denver and Interurban Railroad for a substantial profit. Samuel H. Clammer was born in West Virginia in 1874. Clammer came west alone at the age of sixteen, working as a clerk at Eaton. He moved to Fort Collins in 1895, where he farmed and ranched. Clammer ran a livery stable in Fort Collins and a saw mill outside of town. He was one of the investors in the Northern Hotel and was mayor of Fort Collins from 1905-1909, served on the city council for two years, and then was mayor for five more years. Clammer was in the real estate business in Fort Collins for more than thirty years. Benjamin F. Hottel was a Fort Collins pioneer, equally prominent in the development of the city, who owned the Lindell Mill, and was president of the Fort Collins Sugar Manufacturing Company and of the Poudre Valley National Bank. Frank P. Stover was the owner of the City Drug Store, county treasurer, and town recorder.
John H. Gault created City Park Heights, a small area west of Shields and south of Mulberry, south of City Park in 1907. Parthenia E. Hensel platted the small Hensel's Addition between Laporte and Mountain west of Shields in 1908. Herbert Swett was a dealer in investment securities who originated Swett's Addition between Laporte and Mountain west of Hensel's Addition in 1910.
Sugar Beets, Streetcar Suburbs, and the City Beautiful, 1900-1919. This context covers early twentieth century developments such as the building of the sugar factory in 1904 and the construction of a streetcar line in 1907 through the end of World War I.
Potential Property Types
Resources associated with the period are diverse, and could include residential dwellings, apartment houses, boarding houses, and fraternity and sorority houses; farms; churches; schools, including high schools; college buildings, including classrooms, library, laboratories, barns, and heating plant; industrial buildings including sugar beet factory buildings and structures, grain elevators and mills, ice plants; transportation resources such as railroad associated buildings and structures, including freight and passenger depots, streetcar tracks or grades, barns, and vehicles, automobile garages and sales rooms and supply stores; libraries; recreational/entertainment buildings such as the YMCA building, dance halls, theaters and motion picture houses, and bowling alleys; parks; government offices, including post offices; business buildings, including hotels, banks, office blocks, drug, grocery, and dry goods stores, bakeries, butchers, restaurants, lumber yards, service buildings, such as barber shops; utility buildings, such as gas plants; meeting places such as fraternal lodges; and streets, bridges, and highways.
Residential Architecture. Toward the end of the nineteenth century, reaction to the elaborate ornamentation of the Queen Anne style and the economic downturn during the 1890s led to a movement to create somewhat plainer, less ostentatious residences which continued into the early twentieth century in Fort Collins. The excesses and extravagances of the Gilded Age were attacked as an indication of selfishness and a lack of social concern. Urban reform movements emphasized the values of the middle class and the benefits of Americanizing immigrant newcomers. The Edwardian Vernacular style was a post-Victorian architectural concept which utilized the same form and massing of the Queen Anne house, but stripped away the spindled porch details, varieties of glass, and other ornament to create a simple surface with some classical details. In 1901, Franklin Avery built his son Edgar a residence near his own at 316 West Mountain Avenue with Edwardian Vernacular details as a wedding present. The house, designed by Montezuma W. Fuller, was described as "modern in all respects" and was notable for its stone masonry, which included stone porch columns, balustrade, lintels, and beltcourses. The asymmetrical composition, bay window, wrap-around porches, and decorative parlor window were elegant without being excessively ostentatious.
Rob Roy McGregor, a Fort Collins building contractor who also served as city fire chief, built a more modest Edwardian Vernacular style home in the city at 509 South Howes in 1904. The brick dwelling atop a stone foundation had a hipped roof with cross-gables. The front gable featured a triangular section with decorative shingles projecting over a double-hung window flanked by engaged pilasters. The entrance was sheltered by a gabled hood supported by classical columns. A semi-circular arched parlor window had a decorative banded hood mold with carved floral ornament. Nearby, at 608 South Howes, George H. and Margaret J. Glover had erected an Edwardian Vernacular house in 1901.
Eclectic combinations of late nineteenth and early twentieth century architectural elements were also popular for residences. Delia M. Dickinson owned an eclectic house at 620 South Howes. The asymmetrical, two-story dwelling had a first story composed of large, roughly quarried blocks of stone, while the second story featured various patterns of decorative wooden shingles. The one-story, off-center porch was supported by classical columns atop low stone walls.
By 1910, the square footage of houses had diminished, although prices of new homes remained high due to new technological advances. The Eclectic movement which followed the Victorian era drew upon a wide range of architectural tradition for its inspiration and stressed relatively pure copies rather than free stylistic mixtures of the previous era. The movement was influenced by Chicago's 1893 Columbian Exposition which emphasized the "correct historical interpretation" of European architectural styles. At the same time, the modern Craftsman and Prairie styles competed with the period styles.
The Centennial Exhibition in 1876 engendered in Americans a revitalized interest in the country's architectural roots which continues to the present day. Houses constructed by the Colonists were viewed as a model for finding the American identity in terms of a dwelling. The movement resulted in the creation of two types of residences: those which were historically accurate reproductions of colonial houses, and those in which colonial details were applied to basically Victorian or post-Victorian buildings, sometimes called "free Colonial" houses. A subcategory of the Colonial style was the Dutch Colonial house, which found great popularity. The Dutch Colonial was distinguished by its gambrel roofed structure, to which was added colonial detailing such as Palladian windows. California developed the Mission Revival as a counterpart to the Colonial Revival.
Montezuma Fuller designed the Peter Anderson house at 300 South Howes in 1901 with many Colonial Revival details (See Figure 45). The design of the residence was very similar to a Fuller drawing which won second place in a Carpentry and Building magazine competition for farm house plans. Fuller designed the asymmetrical clapboard building with a hipped roof with overhanging eaves and modillions. An elaborate Palladian window graced the second story and a full-width porch with balcony was supported by classical columns. A polygonal, two-story bay was on the northern elevation. The building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Builders Garrison & Halpin erected a two-story frame house for lawyer Sanford Darrah at 612 South College in 1905 (See Figure 46). The house was Colonial Revival in style as reflected in its symmetrical appearance, clapboard siding, low hipped roof, and prominent central entrance. The house displayed a high level of craftsmanship in its slightly projecting entrance surround with fluted classical columns supporting a full entablature topped by a pediment-shaped crown. Flanking the entrance were triple windows with narrow four-over-four lights flanking divided light windows with transoms with decorative glass. Two-story bay windows ornamented the northern and southern elevations. The impressive residence soon became a fraternity house.
Popular from the 1890s to World War I throughout the United States and into the 1920s in Fort Collins, the Mission style was characterized by a shaped dormer or roof parapet, tile roof with overhanging eaves, and smooth wall surface. In 1905, architect Montezuma Fuller completed plans for a $7,000 two-story, three unit terrace on his property at 228 West Magnolia. Although the Fuller Flats has been altered in subsequent years, when erected Fuller intended it to reflect a "modified Spanish Mission style."
In 1908, Sears began offering plans and materials for houses and by 1916, it sold completely prefabricated homes to customers around the country. These houses reflected recognizable traditions and "a certain wholesomely American lineage." The house plans offered by Sears were variations of popular traditional styles popular among the middle class. No new style was developed for Sears customers, nor were the new Prairie style, Art Deco, Italian, or French designs offered. Nonetheless, the Sears prefabricated homes sold well and by 1934, 100,000 of the dwellings had been sold. Montgomery Ward offered a similar service for home builders. These prefabricated houses reflected the popular tastes and the middle class lifestyle in the era before World War II.
One of the most commonly built houses during the period before World War I in Colorado was the Foursquare style. The Foursquare was part of the movement away from the elaborate exterior ornamentation of the Victorian period. The house style was popular for families as it had a boxy shape which provided lots of room and was free of expensive exterior ornament. The Foursquare style could be individualized in a variety of ways by utilizing different wall cladding, altering the porch design, or varying window treatments. Certain features, however, were almost universal to the style, including a low hipped roof with overhanging eaves, a central dormer, two-story height, and a one-story porch with classical columns or square posts. The porch supports became masonry piers in later versions.
A number of excellent examples of Foursquare style homes were built in Fort Collins during the early twentieth century. In 1905, E.M. Cole designed two brick duplex residences in the Foursquare style for wealthy businessman James A. Brown. Known as Brown's Flats, the buildings had the two-story boxy shape, hipped roof with overhanging eaves, roof dormers, and porch supported by classical columns which were typical of Foursquare style residences. The buildings were distinguished by their individual details which included bay windows with cut away corners, round and oval windows, paneled and glazed sidelights, and roofline cresting.
In 1904, builder Harry Noel constructed a two-story Foursquare style residence in the Harrison Addition for Emery D. Searling at 616 South Howes (See Figure 46). The frame dwelling atop a raised stone foundation had a hipped roof with widely overhanging eaves with modillions and a central dormer with shingled walls and a window with multiple small lights. A flat roofed porch with corniceline balustrade was supported by classical columns. A variety of windows ornamented the exterior, including double-hung windows, horizontal windows with multiple lights, and a sash and transom parlor window.
Another style which employed less ornamentation and more classical details was the Classic Cottage style. The Classic Cottage was basically the Foursquare style in a smaller, one-story or one-and-a-half story version. The style was characterized by a dwelling with square floorplan, hipped roof, front dormer, and porch with classical details. The Classic Cottage was one of the most commonly erected styles in Fort Collins during the early twentieth century and was common in middle and working class neighborhoods throughout the city. In 1902, Mary Calloway built a Classic Cottage style home at 514 South Howes Street in the Harrison Addition. The small brick dwelling had a pyramidal hipped roof and a pediment-shaped dormer with decorative shingles; a porch with slender wooden supports; and round, segmental arched, and bay windows.
The Arts and Crafts movement was extremely influential in popular architecture during the first half of the twentieth century. The movement was popularized by Gustav Stickley, a Syracuse furniture maker whose shop produced its products with hand tools and emphasized simple lines and unvarnished materials. Stickley published The Craftsman, which spread the tenets of the Arts and Crafts movement, including an appreciation of hand-crafted goods, simplicity, rustic appearances, and a wholesome environment. From these concepts grew the Craftsman style of architecture popular for homes.
The Bungalow style was influenced by elements of the Arts and Crafts movement as popularized by Stickley. Bungalows were small houses of one to one-and-a-half stories, with wide porches with heavy supports, overhanging eaves, and were generally composed of a variety of materials. The design was very versatile and could be adapted to brick, clapboard, shingle, or stone. Bungalows were popular houses for small urban residential lots and their numbers increased as journals and pattern books made such designs available to the average citizen. From the beginning of the twentieth century until World War I, the Bungalow style was the favorite of American home owners, replacing the Classic Cottage in most cities as the most popular small home. The style continued to be popular in Fort Collins into the 1920s. The Colorado Historical Society defines buildings with similar details but of larger scale as Craftsman style.
The Edmonds house at 809 East Elizabeth Street is a good example of the Bungalow style in Fort Collins. The one-and-a-half story house has stucco walls and a concrete foundation. The gabled, Spanish tile roof is supported by post and beam construction. The full-width porch has solid walls which are topped by tapered posts. The house has a central shed dormer, multi-paned windows, and eave brackets. The J. M. Shelley house at 924 Laporte is an example of a modest Bungalow style home, popular among working and middle class families. The house was built between 1908 and 1913 and is frame, with a front gabled roof with exposed rafters and decorative eaves braces.
At the same time that Bungalow and Craftsman style homes were being constructed, the Prairie style emerged. Frank Lloyd Wright's "home in a prairie town" design appeared in 1901. The style was never as widely adopted as the Bungalow, and dwindled in popularity by the 1920s. Characteristics of the Prairie style were strong, horizontal lines; broad, overhanging eaves; and a flat or low pitched roof. Bands of windows, often decorative in character, and plastered exterior walls were also typical.
Factory worker housing. In many cases, early homes for the seasonal beet workers in Larimer County were small shacks on the farms where they were assigned to work. The seasonal shacks were generally small frame structures composed of two-by-fours and one-foot-boards covered with red felt roofing paper for insulation. Each shack had one or two rooms and had no heat or running water. Large families were often crowded into these small structures.
By December 1902, thirteen small frame workers' houses had been erected in the new Buckingham Place subdivision, each twenty by twelve feet in dimension, with four small windows. Typical houses had hipped or gabled roofs with decorative shingles in the gable ends and small porches with turned spindle supports. Associated with the houses were small sheds for horses and cows. The houses reflected elements the German Russians employed in dwellings in their homeland, including the use of local materials for sturdy construction, and in the one-story height, hipped roofs, and dimensions. The Andersonville subdivision was similar to Buckingham Place in that it was composed of small, one or two room frame houses. Although most of the homes in the sugar beet suburbs have been extensively modified, the house at 200 East Lincoln Avenue maintains integrity. The small frame cottage housing built by the Fort Collins Sugar Company for its workers in 1902. Representative elements include the hipped roof, frame construction, wood shingles in the gable end, and small porch with turned spindle supports.
Fraternity and Sorority Houses. James Hansen observed that fraternities and sororities appeared at the agricultural college during the early 1900s and that many students lived in houses associated with these groups or in boarding houses as there were no dormitories on the college campus. Several fraternity and sorority groups moved to South College during the early twentieth century. Some of the Greek letter societies purchased large, formerly single family, homes and remodeled them to suit their purposes. Examples of this phenomenon are the Darrah house (612 South College) which became the Epsilon fraternity house by 1908; the C.R. Evans house (633 South College) which was sold to Betta Gamma in 1923; and the Matteston residence (1405 South College) which became the Gamma Phi Beta sorority house in 1928.
Farms. The agricultural productivity of the Fort Collins vicinity continued to expand during the early twentieth century and successful farmers and ranchers built homes which reflected the prosperity they had gained. The houses erected by farmers were similar to those of the town residents although the tended to be somewhat plainer and more practical in design than ornate residences of the inner city. Large farm houses replaced the smaller homestead claim houses of the earlier period as families and incomes expanded. Certain styles, such as Edwardian Vernacular, Foursquare, and Bungalow, appeared in rural areas during the period. About 1900, Henry and Martha Ziegler built a large brick Edwardian Vernacular style house on their farm in the Harmony agricultural district, where they raised sheep, corn, alfalfa, cattle, and barley. The house was asymmetrical in massing, with a two-story corner porch, bay windows, and cross-gables with decorative diamond-shaped windows.
Churches. By 1917, fourteen churches appeared on Sanborn maps of the city. Included were the Bethlehem Evangelical Lutheran, First Baptist, First Christian, First Methodist Episcopal, First Presbyterian, First United Presbyterian, German Evangelical Congregational, Plymouth Congregational, Presbyterian, St. Joseph's Catholic, St. Luke's Presbyterian, Seventh Day Adventist, Unity, and West Side Presbyterian churches. Styles of churches did not change dramatically from those popular in the late nineteenth century, and the Gothic Revival style was still popular. Brick and stone were popular construction materials for churches and the stone industry near Fort Collins supplied local builders with necessary resources. Most of the churches were architect designed. For example, Albert Bryan, who was architect of the Carnegie Library, designed the Neoclassical Unity Church built in 1904 (razed 1970) and Montezuma Fuller designed the Methodist Episcopal Church erected in 1905-1906.
Factory worker churches. Earliest church services for immigrant workers were conducted in private homes in Andersonville or Buckingham. The German Evangelical Congregational Church held services in the G. A. R. hall. In 1904 there were enough German Russians to employ Montezuma Fuller in the design of the German Congregational church at the southwest corner of Whedbee and Oak. The church was designed in a Gothic style with a fifty foot tower and pointed arch windows, and was composed of a red stone foundation with Fort Collins pressed brick walls and red stone trim.
In about 1904, the Evangelical Lutheran Bethlehem church was established in a small building in Andersonville. In 1914, the congregation built a new church at the southeast corner of Whedbee and Olive. The building was composed of sandstone obtained from one of the quarries at Stout and transported by church members with wagons to the building site. The builder of the church was Ernest Waycott, who was assisted by members of the congregation.
Schools. In reaction to the growth of the city during the early 1900s, several new schools were built in the city in styles popular during the period. Montezuma Fuller designed the 1903 high school building (demolished), which had a total cost of $50,000. The two-story building had a raised basement level, and reflected Romanesque influences in its second story ribbon of semi-circular arches with rusticated stone trim, as well as its arched entrance. Fuller also designed Laurel Street School built by the Cole Potter Construction Company (1906) and Laporte Avenue School (1907), which had a detached kindergarten building. In 1919, Lincoln and Washington, twin school buildings in the Mission Revival style were erected.
On the college campus, the Beaux Arts influence was expressed in the erection of the Neoclassical style Simon Guggenheim Hall of Household Arts in 1911. The two-story brick building featured a full-height portico with gray sandstone columns topped by a classical pediment.
Industrial Facilities. Industrial facilities of the early twentieth century included mill buildings and structures erected earlier, oil storage facilities, brick plants, and a planing mill, all located on the fringes of town near railroad tracks and the river. Construction on the Fort Collins sugar beet factory, encompassing 480 acres on Vine Avenue on the north side of the Cache la Poudre, began in November 1902. Contractor for the project was J. F. Kilby of Cleveland, Ohio. The four-story factory building, three hundred feet by seventy feet of stone, cement, and steel, with a 150 foot smokestack, was easily the largest manufacturing facility in the vicinity (See Figure 47). A three-story Steffers process building, warehouses, a power house, a chemistry lab, beet bins, lime kilns, and beet pulp dumps were also associated with the complex, which was served by a railroad spur connecting with the Colorado and Southern Railway. The factory was completed in late 1903, making it the seventh plant in Colorado. Two long, rectangular brick warehouse buildings in the Factory/Warehouse style are still standing.
Commercial Buildings. Many of the commercial blocks erected during the period before World War I continued to reflect the design elements popular during the late nineteenth century. In 1906, the Whitton Block on Walnut designed by Chambers was erected. The building, which cost $17,000 to build, was constructed of gray sandstone from Fort Collins and pressed brick from Boulder. The building featured galvanized cornices and a decorative entrance of carved stone as well as a facade with plate glass windows and prism transom lights above the doors. In style, the building reflected nineteenth century tastes more than the modern influences which would become popular later in the century.
The interest in the revival of the classic forms of Greece and Rome was not confined to public buildings of the period. Commercial structures were also chosen to convey the classical ideals. The Beaux Arts influence was dominant from the turn of the century until the late 1920s and remained popular into the 1930s. As opposed to the exuberant variety of ornamentation on Victorian commercial buildings, the academic approach stressed "unity, order, and balance." Commercial buildings became dignified and restrained, composed of historical references to earlier periods. Individual designs were achieved through the use of an ever growing variety of construction materials, including brick of various hues and textures, inexpensive thin stone veneers, terra cotta, concrete block, and stucco. Large areas of plate glass graced the ground floor of many buildings, made possible by new construction techniques and materials.
The Commercial Bank and Trust Company was chartered in 1906 and erected a bank building located on College Avenue north of the intersection of Mountain and College which was completed in 1907 (See Figure 48). Fort Collins architect Arthur Garbutt designed the Classical Revival building, which was described upon its opening as a "veritable gem of architecture." The interior of the building featured a separate ladies' banking room, Pavinaza marble along the walls, and a large skylight. The building had a flat roof and decorative gray St. Louis pressed brick cornice. The elaborate facade featured a dentilled pediment above three round arched openings with stepped, radiating voussoirs and keystones, two of which held windows with stained glass transoms. The third arch was above a recessed entrance with wooden door and transom. The arches were separated by engaged stone pilasters. According to Lawrence Baume, this building is the only remaining example of Classical Revival architecture in the business district.
In 1908, Franklin Avery moved his First National Bank to a new building which reflected the tastes of the early twentieth century and was one of the best examples of the Beaux Arts influence in the city (See Figure 49). In moving his business to New Town, at the southeast corner of College and Mountain Avenues, the banker made that corner the major downtown intersection. The stately bank was constructed of brick with terra cotta facing. The building had a raised foundation with deep horizontal grooves which gave the foundation a massive appearance. The large corner entrance was flanked by two-story Ionic columns, above which rested the carved nameplate. The flanking elevations were divided by a series of large, semi-circular arched windows above large flat arched windows which were separated by two-story engaged, squared columns. The building had a wide, finely detailed frieze and a balustraded cornice. The bank, which was considered one of the most beautiful business blocks in the city, was demolished in 1961 when the new First National Bank was completed at Oak and Howes.
A number of small commercial buildings were erected in what the Colorado Historical Society defines as the Twentieth Century Commercial style. This style was utilized for buildings of one to five stories, and was characterized by brick construction and little exterior ornamentation. Such commercial buildings had flat or slightly pitched roofs and decorative brickwork along the cornice or a shaped parapet. Many of the buildings were ornamented with patterned or contrasting brickwork in the area above the storefront.
Many small commercial buildings were erected by small business owners and craftsmen in a vernacular style, without displays of wealth which characterized buildings such as banks and downtown business blocks. A small paint shop was erected in 1908 at 326 Willow which is representative of these buildings (See Figure 50). The one-story brick building had a flat roof with brick cornice and stepped side elevations. A central entrance and two tall, narrow, one-over-one light double hung windows reflected the simplicity of the building's design.
Transportation, Railroads. A freight and depot building was constructed of locally-made brick in 1906 by the C&S. This freighthouse/ depot, 40 by 150 feet in size, was the largest on the line north of Denver. The building, located adjacent to the C&S tracks between Laporte and Maple, was notable for its ornamental cornice with modillions. The Union Pacific depot erected at Jefferson and Pine in 1911 was a one-story brick building in the familiar long rectangular shape of depots throughout the West. The building had minimal Mission Revival influences reflected in the shaped gables over the entrance and gable ends of the depot.
Transportation, Streetcar System. The Denver-Interurban Railway lay tracks for the city streetcar system beginning in 1907. The route of the system has been described above. Wayne Sundberg reported in 1975 that the tracks were still evident in many parts of the city. A brick streetcar barn was erected on the southeast corner of North Howes and Cherry to house and service the associated vehicles. The barn was a one-story building with flat roof with central shaped gable and large double garage doors permitting vehicle access.
Transportation, Automobile Salesrooms, Garages, and Service Centers. By the end of World War I, a number of automobile-related buildings had been erected in Fort Collins. The largest group of such buildings consisted of garages which had repair shops and the capacity to store large numbers of automobiles.
Government Buildings. In 1907, Samuel H. Clammer and F.A. Carleton built a National Guard armory at 300 E. Mountain Avenue (See Figure 50, earlier). Fort Collins architect Arthur Garbutt designed the building which contained an indoor shooting gallery, showers, a drill hall, quarters, and offices. The building was not only used for National Guard training, but also served as a meeting, convention, and entertainment hall. The two-story brick building had a crenelated parapeted roofline with coping and an entablature of decorative brickwork. The building featured a large, central, round arched entrance with brick surround with keystone and a central triple window on the second floor.
Governmental buildings continued to be monumental in scale and reflected the classical details popular during the period. The 1911 post office at the southwest corner of South College Avenue and West Oak was a reinforced concrete building with two elevations faced with rusticated limestone blocks. The building was designed in the Renaissance Revival style, popular for United States post offices, and typified by horizontal divisions, arched openings, and projecting cornices. The post office building may be the only example of the Renaissance Revival style in downtown Fort Collins and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Library. The Fort Collins Carnegie library was designed by Albert Bryan, who served as architect for some buildings erected by the Colorado National Guard in the state. Butler and McDaniels constructed the red sandstone building in 1903-1904. The building was erected utilizing stone from the quarries near Stout. The restrained building was composed of rusticated sandstone in alternating wide and narrow courses. The tiled, hipped roof had overhanging eaves and exposed rafters and was intersected by two projecting bays on the facade with groups of three, semi-circular arched windows. Between the two projecting bays was a slightly lower, flat roofed, entrance bay with two semi-circular arches.
Recreational/Entertainment Facilities. Recreational opportunities expanded during the early twentieth century. Architects Fuller and Garbutt designed the Fort Collins YMCA building completed in 1908. The three-story building had a raised, rusticated stone foundation with basement level windows, a low-pitched hipped roof with overhanging eaves, and a one-story porch supported by squared columns with a corniceline balustrade. The building was plain in appearance with evenly spaced, double-hung windows with flat arches, and corner quoins. The YMCA was later extensively remodeled and does not retain historic integrity.
Motion picture houses appeared during the early twentieth century in Fort Collins. Theaters featured large lobbies sheltered by big marquees with prominent signs. Two movie theaters appear on the Sanborn map of 1917. Barbara Fleming lists the Empress on North College and the Lyric on East Mountain. The Empress was a one-story brick structure with a facade with two central double door entrances, clerestory windows, and an overhanging hood sheltering the entrance area of the theater.
Meeting Places. During the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, many men and women belonged to fraternal lodges, church groups, social organizations, and clubs such as literary or debating societies. Often, these groups met in churches, schools, and the upstairs rooms of blocks within the commercial district. In Fort Collins, the armory was utilized for large meetings and social events. Parks were the site of large celebrations and social activities. A few of the larger groups had their own lodge halls.
The cornerstone of the Masonic building was laid in August 1902 and the building was completed by December of that year (See Figure 51). The Fort Collins chapter of the Masons erected the building with a fraternal meeting hall on the second floor and storefronts on the first. The building was very much in keeping with the design of commercial blocks of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The two-story stone and brick commercial building had a facade composed of gray rusticated sandstone trimmed with red sandstone and a decorative cast iron cornice. The lower story was divided into three storefronts with recessed entrances. This story was later remodeled with the addition of dressed ashlar finish stone. The upper story, which maintains integrity, was composed of gray sandstone in coursed, rusticated ashlar, with red sandstone used for quoins, window surrounds, and window sills. Three banks of three windows with arched transoms were evenly spaced on the upper story.
A number of buildings reflecting property types associated with this context have been identified in Fort Collins. A few properties from this period have been nominated to the National Register of Historic Places. Residences may be eligible under criterion A, for their association with significant events or historic themes, under criterion B, for their association with significant persons, or under criterion C, for their representation of an architectural style or as the work of an important architect such as Montezuma Fuller. Other property types may be eligible under criterion A, for their association with a particular historical theme or under criterion C for their architecture, construction techniques, or as representative of the work of a master. Resources representing these property types should generally maintain a high degree of integrity of materials, design, craftsmanship, location, and feeling. Buildings significant primarily for their architectural value or association with a person or event may have lost integrity of location and still qualify under criteria consideration B if other elements of integrity are intact. Religious properties which derive primary significance from their architectural or historical importance would also be eligible under criterion consideration A. Buildings which are rare representatives of a particular architectural style or function are significant.
Threats to Resources
Resources along the 500 and 600 blocks of South College Avenue are experiencing substantial development pressures as many of the old residences have been converted to commercial uses, as in the case of the Garment District. Residential resources nearer the university along College Avenue are experiencing conversion to multi-unit dwellings and rental applications, as well as conversion to commercial uses. Substantial vehicle traffic utilizing College Avenue has already made the thoroughfare an intrusion in the historic area, which effectively divides the resources on opposite sides of the street and makes existing resources less desirable for their original residential uses. Inappropriate remodeling and additions are a threat to the historic properties associated with this context. Buildings within the center of the business district are threatened by development pressures, as are agricultural structures.
National Register of Historic Places|
|Fort Collins Post Office, 1978|
|Peter Anderson House, 300 S. Howes St., 1979|
|Laurel School Historic District, 1980|
|Fort Collins Birney Safety Streetcar #21, 1984|
|Kissock Block Building, 115-21 E. Mountain Ave., 1985|
|Local Historic Landmarks|
|SarchetHouse, 930 W. Mountain Ave., 1980|
|Laurel Street School, 330 E. Laurel, 1984|
|Fort Collins Birney Safety Streetcar #21, 1985|
|Old Post Office, 201 S. College Ave., 1985|
|Carnegie Library Museum (1903) Historic District, 200 Mathews, 1985|
|Shenk House, 629 West Mountain Avenue, 1991|
|Street Railway Car Barn (Trolley Barn), 330 North Howes Street, 1992|
|Issac W. Bennett House and Garage, 816 West Mountain Avenue, 1993|
|Replogle/Bennett House, 314 East Mulberry Street, 1994|
|Littler-Baker House and Carriage House, 725 Mathews Street, 1995|
|B.F. Ayers House & Garage, 518 Peterson Street, 1995|
|Morgan-Kickland House and Garage, 408 West Mountain Avenue, 1995|
|Frank Corbin House, 613 South College Avenue, 1995|
|Doc Sadler House, 628 West Mountain Avenue, 1995|
|John M. Riddle House, 530 Smith Street, 1996|
|Hiram Pierce House, 510 South Howes Street, 1996|
|J. F. Farrar House and Garage, 304 East Myrtle Street, 1996|
|H. F. Elliot/Carl Anderson House and Barn, 308 East Myrtle Street, 1996|
|M. G. Nelson House and Carriage House, 700 Remington Street, 1996|
|Charles A. Lory House & Outbuildings, 903 Stover Street, 1996|
|McGannon-Middleswart House and Garage, 300 East Elizabeth Street, 1996|
|Dura and Neil Graham House, 811 Peterson Street, 1996|
|Ernest Waycott House, 1501 West Mountain Avenue, 1996|
|Edward M. & Lucy Dodd/Frank Ghent House, 1996|
|B.H. McCarty House, 218 Peterson Street, 1997|
|Fred W. Stover House, Garage and Shared Barn, 515 Remington Street, 1997|
|J. C. Beers Barn, 311 Whedbee Street, 1997|
|Emerson H. Kirkpatrick House, 321 East Garfield Street, 1997|
|Thomas Nicholas House, 922 West Oak Street, 1997|
|G. R. McDaniel House, 632 Peterson Street, 1997|
|David and Dorothy Watrous House and Garage, 301 South Loomis Street, 1997|
|W. E. Mahood House, 832 West Oak Street, 1997|
|Humphrey/Davis House, 231 South Howes Street, 1998|
|J.M. Glick House, 425 East Laurel Street, 1998|
|Addie R. Debolt House, 630 Peterson Street, 1998|
|Dr. William A. and Katherine Kickland, 430 West Mountain Avenue, 1998|
|William J. and Alice Ralph House, 641 Remington Street, 1998|
|Willard and Gladys Eddy House and Shared Barn, 509 Remington Street, 1997|
|James and Katherine Marsh / William and Hazel Geist House and Garage, 1006 LaPorte Avenue, 2000|
|C and S Freight Depot Building and Dock, 136 LaPorte Avenue, 2000|
|S. A. Johnson House, 623 Mathews Street, 2000|
Demographic information on residents of early twentieth century neighborhoods.
Examples of prefabricated houses.
Examples of Prairie style homes in Fort Collins.
Inventory of Mission style houses in Fort Collins.
Examples of early Twentieth Century garages/repairshops.
Biographical information on builders and carpenters of this era.
Building materials and sources of materials of the era.
Examples of pattern book houses.
Preserving the history of Fort Collins, Colorado & the Cache la Poudre region