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Where in Fort Collins?

Where in Fort Collins?

For a change of pace, we will see how many of you can figure out this one. I know a couple of you will know this right away, but lets see if the others can figure it out!

Where in Fort Collins

Where in Fort Collins

Another image provided courtesy of Captain Bevo. Can you guess not only what building this is in, but what the business is?

Where in Fort Collins?

Where in Fort Collins was this?

This weeks where in Fort Collins has been provided by Captain Bevo. To add to the discussion, can you also guess what is in its place now?

Mosman House

Last week, one of our out of town readers, Patricia, emailed me saying that she had grown up in Fort Collins, and remembers her great grandparents house in the vicinity of the old Library on Matthews Street. After some dialogue back and forth, and a little digging on my part going through old phone books, I did indeed find her great grandparents house. Unbeknownst to her, and more than a little surprising to me, was the history involved with this little house. Her great grandparents, Theodre and Sarah Randolph lived in the home at 324 E. Oak Street. It turns out, this house happens to be the Mosman House, which is the first locally designated landmark home in the City of Fort Collins. This house was designed by renowned architect Montezuna Fuller in 1892 in the Eastlake Victorian Queen Anne style. The Mosman’s lived here until 1905, when they moved to Walden. This house is also listed on both the state and national landmark lists.

Mosman House

324 E. Oak

A for the Randolph’s, I don’t know exactly when they lived in the home, but they are listed as being there in the 194o phone book, as well as the 1956 phone book. Patricia tells me her great grandfather made string instruments for the orchestra. The following is a short story from her.

I remember a a small child going outside to my great-grandfather’s work shed and watching him work on pieces of wood and seeing the strings for the instruments hanging from pegs in the walls. At the time I did not understand what he was doing; it was much later in life that my grandmother told me about the violin I played in junior high and high school was one that he made and kept for himself. I remember my great-grandmother always “sushing” us and telling us not to bother great grandpa because he did not need little fingers helping. I have memories of him always smelling of wood shavings and my great grandma fuss at him about the wood dust he would bring into the house.Unfortunately my memories are few because my family moved to Europe when I was 8 and my great-grandparents died while we lived in Italy. I will always remember how I enjoyed going to my great grandparents home and picking fresh vegetables from the garden and eating them dirt and all, and climbing on the porch railing and picking peaches straight from the tree. My great grandma’s carrots were the best! Although my great-grandparents were quiet and reserved folks they were always loving and outwardly affectionate to me.

Thanks Patricia for sharing this story with us.

Merry Christmas Lost Fort Collins

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all of Lost Fort Collins. Here are some more christmas light pictures.

Old Town Christmas 2010

Old Town Christmas Ice Skating 2010

Trimble Court Christmas 2010

Update on Mountain Avenue House Remodel

West Mountain Remodel

I have had a few out of town readers respond off-line as to whatever happened with the house I blogged about some time back (click here). Here is the final house. I personally find this house to be very well done, respectful of the neighboring homes, and it fits right in on Mountain Avenue.

Christmas Lights at the Gardens on Spring Creek

Christmas Lights Cover the Watering Can

Recently the kids and I visited the Gardens on Spring Creek to see all the christmas lights. It was (and is) quite the display, probably one of the more brilliant displays in town. This got me to thinking, are there any other traditional christmas light displays in Fort Collins, either on homes or in other public places?

A few come to mind for me

Santa’s workshop at Woodward Governor. The family and I have visited this one for most of the last 23 years. It is cool, but my only complaint is that is has not changed at all in that time frame.

Downtown Fort Collins. This one has vastly improved over the last 10 years.

Do any of you want to nominate any others? Any pictures of Christmas past you would like to share?

Trees all lit up

Christmas Light Flowers

Weeping Trees

Where in Fort Collins?

Where in Fort Collins is This?

I am starting something new called Where in Fort Collins? On occasions I will post pictures taken by myself, or those sent to me by readers, and we will let you guess where it is!

Old Town Alleyways

Artist Image of Firehouse Alley

Alleys are like the ugly stepsister, all cities have them, and most choose to ignore them, particularly in downtown areas. They are usually nasty, with garbage dumpsters that stink, utility boxes and power lines, and just plain dark and dingy. Not a place you would choose to hang out in, that is for sure. Fortunately, Fort Collins has managed to avoid the worst of this in the downtown alleys, but they still havn’t been very hospitable.

That is now changing with the charge of the Downtown Development Authority and the City of Fort Collins, primarily the DDA, they are transforming the alleys into pedestrian walkways that will eventually connect downtown with CSU. It started back in 2006 when the DDA did two pilot project alley ways, Trimble Court and Tenney Court. Trimble Court, long a pedestrian shortcut between Old Town Plaza and College Avenue is now a pleasant walkway with lighting, and overflowing with flower boxes in the summer. Tenney Court became a pedestrian shortcut to Mountain Avenue when the Civic Center Parking Garage was constructed. This was a true alley with odiferous trash dumpsters, drainage issues that became dangerously icy in the winter, and steep side slopes. The revamping addressed all this, consolidating trash dumpster, fixing the storm drainage, flattening the alley, adding lights, and planter boxes again. After it was complete, the Children’s Mercantile and the Opera Galleria both added new store fronts and entrances onto the new pedestrian ways. I previously blogged on these alleys at The Built Environment

Artist Image of Montezuma Fuller Alley from Oak Street

. Check it out for the photos.

This past summer the DDA took on two additional alleyways, Montezuma Fuller Court between Mountain and Oak, and Firehouse Alley. Both were retrofitted with upgraded drainage, pavers, lighting, and planter boxes. The hope is that businesses will eventually add new entrances off of the alleys, restaurants will create outdoor patios, and these become lively places. Indeed, one brewpub has already built a beer garden on Montezuma Fuller Alley. These were just completed, so the full impact of all the planter boxes won’t be seen until next year.

I applaud the DDA for doing this. It helps to alleviate the congestion on College Avenue with the pedestrians, sidewalk patios, etc. Most of the alleys are heavily used by pedestrians anyway to get from the parking lots to the shops, so why not make them pedestrian friendly? When they are complete all the way to CSU, now that will be cool.

Artist Image of Montezuma Fuller Alley from Mountain

Artist Image of Alley Cat Alley from Laurel Street

Rumor has it… Fort Collins is a “Hub for Jazz”

Hot or Not?

A reader asked me to check on persistent rumors he’d heard that Fort Collins has been a hot spot on the jazz radar through the years.

Sorry, but not really. Although time to time there are related bursts of activity, Denver seems to claim most of the title of Colorado’s jazz hub. According to local musician and former music teacher Glenn Shull, high school band programs didn’t include jazz until the late ‘60s.

Others I spoke with say most local enthusiasts hit Denver clubs like Vartan’s and Lannie’s Clocktower Cabaret for their regular fixes. The city has a well-documented urban music scene. In fact, a recent article in the Colorado Statesman (http://www.coloradostatesman.com/current_news) notes the Five Points neighborhood is gearing up to revitalize the area with tourism based on its illustrious jazz and African American history.

Even rumors that some great musicians have moved here to retire have turned up very little information, so far. There is, however, an article written by a local aficionado that appeared in the now-defunct Rocky Mountain Bullhorn. If anyone knows where we can find a copy of that article, please let us know. That one lost story could hold the key.

Currently Avogadro’s Number (http://www.avogadros.com) does feature mostly “hot” jazz – ragtime and swing – on the first Friday of the month, when the Poudre River Irregulars hit the stage. The sounds of the Just Jazz Quintet can also be heard time to time in the back patio, which is one of the few venues big enough to host the larger groups.

Ace Gillett’s Lounge (http://www.acegilletts.com) opened in March in the lower level of the Armstrong Hotel, which is just off the corner of Olive and College. They offer an historic location and “cool” jazz.

The Fort is also not without its jazz following on the radio. You’ll find historic and modern compositions on KRFC 88.9 FM (http://www.krfcfm.org) Thursday nights, 10 until dawn, and Sundays, starting at 7:30 p.m.

Great timing on the topic as this week the Fort Collins Jazz Experience fills the air. A-Train PR Manager Josh Johnson says, “It’s the only [Colorado] jazz event that’s all jazz.”

There’s more than music at the free festival – special restaurant deals, gallery walk Friday evening and presentations by jazz historians. More details on events at http://downtownfortcollins.com/dba.php/fcjazzlineup/

I am definitely willing to leave this question open.

Next week: “The Return of Satchmo” (or at least the story of the statue that once stood in Old Town Square).


Josh Johnson of A-Train Marketing for the idea, Fort Collins History archives staff for helping me get past the dead ends, and members of The Northern Colorado Jazz Society for sharing their stories.