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A Fort Collins midcentury Christmas

That’s right, I said CHRISTMAS. Colored lights, Stars, Christmas trees, and Santa Claus. In the 1950s, the whole town celebrated Christmas unapologetically. And Ruth B. Dermody took pictures to prove it. Click through to see holiday details. Is that a nativity in front of the courthouse?

City Hall. It doesn't look much different now.

College Avenue. Even without holiday lights, downtown was brighter with neon signs.

Our unloved mid-century courthouse. 1957-1999


All photos by Ruth B. Dermody.

Thanks to Jim Burrill for letting me use them. Jim has lots more family photos in and around Fort Collins at his blog http://lapoudre.multiply.com/journal

14 comments to A Fort Collins midcentury Christmas

  • catfc

    Just one question, Jim. Is that dark blue car in two of the photos Ruths?

  • Jim Burrill

    If it’s dark green it’s the 51 Buick Dynaflow. I couldn’t tell for sure.

  • captainbevo

    Cool, a couple of things I recall were the nativity at the court house and of course driving around town with my parents looking at the lights. The best was to go to Denver and see the store front displays. The picture of the Northern shows part of sign that I recall as Ghent motors it was across the street from Markley motors.

  • I liked the courthouse well enough to get married in it, right after traffic court, wearing white shirt, black tie, two-tone shoes and pressed overalls. And that was the first clock I ever remember watching and being able to see the minute hand move.

    Wait a minute, I got married there in 2000. Why does it have dates that end in 1999?

  • captainbevo

    oh yeah I forgpt the nativity scene was feet away from the sheriffs office deja vu

    Merry Christmas all

  • Lesley

    These are really pretty! Thank you for sharing.

  • captainbevo

    I saw something interesting today in these politically incompetent times a psuedo nativity scene in front of a public building I thought I would tease you into finding it
    a hint its southeast of where sachmo was. I found it to be tasteful especially sitting next to santa

  • catfc

    Not fair! I’m out of town until January. I want to see it. Someone send me a photo of the pseudo nativity.

  • This posting reminds me of a time in the mid-fifties (pre kindergarten for me) when I was playing in the backyard of our house in the 600 block of S. College and a guy showed up carrying one of the ‘candles’ shown attatched to the streetlight pole. He asked if my dad was the guy who worked for the pinball/jukebox company(he was) and if my dad could fix the candle (which he left)……I don’t know if the guy was from the city or if the candle was ever fixed, but I recall my dad was mystified as to why it was left with him at all.

    Does anyone recall the city sponsored Christmas tree burnings that were held in city park in early January?People brought their trees and piled them up to create the makings of a Gigantic bonfire.

    Good old days.

  • Karl

    Why did I recently have a vision of the Coffee Shop in the old Courthouse decorated in Christmas garb. This stood out to the point that I even saw the bean bag ash tray that you tossd your change in for the vision impaired clerk to find.

  • catfc

    Norm says he remembers the Christmas tree pile. He says they would burn the pile on Epiphany (the 12th day of Christmas).

    Everybody would pile up their trees at the end of Oak Street, just west of the ditch by the ball fields. Then on Epiphany (January 6?), they’d have a bonfire and celebration.

    Norm says he thinks that was put on by the City, despite its religious connotations.

  • catfc

    Norm remembers that the coffee shop was in the basement of the courthouse. Run by a blind man named Bruno.

  • Rich

    So, is this the last article to be published on Lost Fort Collins? Is there anyone to take the baton and run with it?

    If not, I will sure miss it. Its been great.

  • catfc

    Thanks Rich. One reader has offered to try to take over. I’ll meet with him in the next week or so and see if we can work it out. There are still tons of stories to be told…