In 1890, Fort Collins architect Montezuma Fuller started designing a new house for his growing family. Construction began in 1894 and the house at 226 W. Magnolia St. was completed the following year. The house features elements of the Queen Anne style, with Eastlake ornamentation across the facade. In 1976 Fuller’s house was honored with a historic marker as part of the Fort Collins’s Centennial and the Nation’s Bicentennial. But in 2014 (or thereabouts) the sign was stolen by vandals. A few years later, the new owners of the property contacted the City of Fort Collins Historic Preservation Department about getting a new sign. The City does not have a sign program, so they referred the owners to Historic Larimer County.
The goal of Historic Larimer County’s sign program is to provide markers throughout the county that will be similar in style and format (making them easily recognizable, even from a distance) that will help residents and tourists alike learn more about the history of our Northern Colorado communities.
The program has been a little slow getting started, in large part because the original plan to have the signs cast in zinc turned out to be financially prohibitive. After a year of exploring options, HLC president Ron Sladek suggested visiting Reprographics, on Fort Collins’ east side.
The new sign is printed, not cast, which not only means it can include color, but it’s also significantly cheaper than a zinc or bronze sign would be. Though it may not last as long (There is concern about fading over time.) the cost of printing the sign was so minimal that it could easily be updated and replaced frequently and still remain cheaper than having a zinc sign cast. That said, this is a test case and we’ll monitor the sign to see how it performs in sunlight.
If you’d like to check out the sign in person, head towards the downtown post office, which is located on the block right next door. Just to the east of the Magnolia/Howes intersection is a green apartment building (which was also built by Montezuma Fuller). The next house over is the home that M. W. Fuller built for his family in 1894. The house is now home to the offices of Chipper’s Lanes, The Mishawaka, and the Aggie Theater.