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Then and Now: Meldrum and Oak

Meldrum-Oak, circa 1920's

NW Corner Meldrum and Oak circa early 1990's

Last year I came across this photograph while at Ulrich’s Blueprint. This is a photograph of the Northwest corner of Meldrum and Oak taken sometime in the 1920-30’s. This photo showcased some beautiful homes. Sometime in the 1960’s to 1970’s these homes were torn down in the name of Urban Renewal. This was a common practice across the country at this time, as communities wanted to modernize, and old was bad. Occasionally urban renewal was successful. More often than not it was disastrous, destroying entire communities. Fortunately, here in Fort Collins, while we did lose some structures, there was not wholesale destruction. Of course, this debate rages on today, preservation vs. new.

So what was built here?

A parking lot.

Is this really progress? Not in my mind. This was done before Preservation became important to the City of Fort Collins. Below is a photo of the same corner today. This parking lot itself is little used and is ripe for development in and of itself.

Meldrum Corner Today

NW Corner Meldrum and Oak today.

People do ask, what are the benefits of historic preservation? They are many. Among them are preservation of communities within the city, as well as the heart and soul of the city. Historic Preservation is also an economic driver. Fort Collins historic preservation efforts are nationally re-known. We have one of the largest collections of sandstone constructed buildings in the country. When you see pictures of Fort Collins in the national media, you don’t see pictures of the mall, you don’t see Front Range Village, you don’t see Walmart, you see one of our beautiful downtown buildings. During the last 25 years, we have seen private owners take on the rehabilitation of many of the buildings in downtown, to make it the success it is today. Downtown is a destination unto itself. How many communities can say that the downtown is more popular and is doing better than the mall? Not many. It is something to be proud of. Imagine what downtown Fort Collins would be like today if we had lost most of those buildings and we had newer Key Bank style buildings? It would be like almost anywhere else USA.

Of course, preservation does not mean keeping it all as is, and not moving forward. Fort Collins has some fabulous examples of new construction and infill development that fits right in with the neighboring historical properties. This community, and all communities continue to struggle with how to keep the character and soul of the city, what makes it great, and what people moved here for in the first place, while at the same time allowing for rejuvenation of the city and keeping our city great.

We are starting a new series, then and now to showcase some of the highlights. Some will be good changes, some bad. These will be posted from time to time. Enjoy!

3 comments to Then and Now: Meldrum and Oak

  • That parking lot is regularly plowed when it snows, but as you said, rarely filled (even 1/2 way). Do you know who owns it? Is it part of the Key Bank parking area? I should think the maintenance would be more than it’s worth to whoever owns the lot.

    What a shame to lose that house.

    Speaking of Ulrich’s, what was on that corner before? Do you know? (That’s just north of the parking lot, isn’t it? Or am I thinking of a different copy place?)

    Love the comparison photos. And I love the then and now idea. Looking forward to future posts.

    (Hmm, there used to be a button I had to click to get alerts about new replies, but I don’t see it now. Is there a new way to make sure I get alerts?)

    (Oh, and while I’m going completely off topic here, I love the rotating photos at the top of the site. Now I’m going to go buggy until I figure out what house that is. No! Don’t tell me. It’ll be more fun to see if I can find it.) 😉

  • Meg,

    Thanks for the reply. Ulrichs is just north of the parking lot, but not sure what was there before. That building has been there a long time too. Just north of that was a gas station that is now Vaught Frye’s Building. I do not know who owns the lot, but suspect it is part of Key Bank. I will find out.

    As for the comments, I don’t think I activated the subscribe to comments, but will get it in place. If you (or anyone) finds any other bugs, please let me know. There are a few I know of that I am trying to fix.

    Over time I will add more pictures to the header, as well as on the sidebar.

  • Hi, my 1900 home was moved from downtown Fort Collins during urban development and I can’t find where it came from. How do I research this? Moving homes was a big deal, no?

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