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Cell block blue

I’m seeing a little extra traffic on Lost Fort Collins blog today from the Coloradoan.

In the paper’s opinion section, Carol Tunner (who is a local history preservationist for the city, if you didn’t already know that) asks What’s the deal with the little blue building. It’s in the alley behind Walnut Street and thought to be the old drunk tank.

Peter Fisk commented, “Lost Fort Collins might know.” Thus the extra visitors here today. 

But I don’t know. I’ve asked around too. And the museum asked me a few weeks ago too. 

Best I can do for now is show you a couple pictures I had vaulted on my Flickr page. And tell you I’ve heard a tunnel leads from the old fire station to this building. But I’ve never seen it.

Blue jailhouse.

Blue jailhouse.


Jailhouse with Graffitti, now painted over.

Jailhouse with graffiti, now painted over.

But maybe one of you knows something? Even stories unrelated to the prison years are interesting to Lost Fort Collins. Know anything?

6 comments to Cell block blue

  • John T

    I checked with my dad thinking that because his first court room was in the firehouse building he might know something — when he took the position in 1952 the drunk tank was located down a hallway on the 2nd floor of the firehouse — He is going to go downtown this weekend and look at the building to see if it can jog his memory

    John Tobin

  • catfc

    Thanks a ton for asking him! If John Sr. can’t remember any talk of it being a drunk tank, that increases my suspicion that it never was. I’ve also heard there’s a tunnel from the old firehouse to the blue brick block. Does he know about that?

  • From Famous Hauntings of FoCo by Kelly Bleck:

    “Also, it is said the tunnels could have been used to transfer prisoners from a jail in the firehouse to a local restaurant to avoid contact with the public.

    It is rumored that while transporting prisoners one time, six were taken and only five returned.

    It cannot be proven that the tunnels are still there, but it is true that they did exist at one time.”

    I don’t understand that last sentence.

  • Karl Rinne

    I was curious as well. My dad worked at the jail in the 70s and he did confirm the building was actually a jail. He stated he had not been in the jail but did see pictures. One of the pictures he saw was an inmate that had hung himself. Maybe this is the mysterious 6th inmate that had vanished. I don’t know.
    Also in conversation he had mentioned a new and temporary location for another jail for some reason. One of the temporary locations that he mentioned was the old power plant on N. College. He did confirm that in fact there was a tunnel leading underground from the power plant leading towards downtown.
    John, I’m sure your father and my father could share some stories. Mention John Rinne from the LCSO if you get a chance.

  • Alex Beerhorst

    I don’t know if this is well known, but I work close to that building and sometimes there is a band that practices in there.

  • Dave S.

    Actually, there are usually multiple bands practicing there, and there have been for a number of years now. If one were to write a history about Fort Collins rock and roll, the drunk tank would be an important part. And yeah, that’s what everyone calls it, if that says anything about the building’s possible provenance.