Candidates’ Thoughts on Historic Preservation

Elections are coming up soon, and we were wondering where our local candidates stand regarding historic preservation. So we sent all of the mayoral and city council candidates in both Fort Collins and Loveland the same three questions. You can jump to the section for Fort Collins candidates or Loveland candidates, or you can go directly to a specific candidate’s answers.

Fort Collins | Loveland

Jeni Arndt, Patricia Babbitt, Eric Hamrick, Sean McCoy, Julie Pignataro, Shirley Peel, Melanie Potyondy, Alexander Adams, Emily Francis

Jacki Marsh, Don Overcash, Janice Ververs, Daniel Anderson, Troy Krenning, Lenard Larkin, Russell Sinnett,
Andrea Samson, Kat McManus, Erin Black, John Fogle, Zeke Cortez, Laura Light-Kovacs

We also sent each candidate links to more information about historic preservation, in case they wanted to educate themselves before replying. This additional text read as follows:

Recommended resources to help you learn more about historic preservation in Colorado:
Learn more about Historic Larimer County at https://historiclarimercounty.org/

Fort Collins

Jeni Arndt – Mayoral Candidate

We haven’t received Jeni’s answers yet.

Patricia Babbitt – Mayoral Candidate

1. What is your favorite historic building in the community? What do you like about it? 

When people ask me about my favorite food, color, music…historic building, I always say, “I don’t have a favorite.  It depends on my mood.”  That being said, I have to admit that my favorite historic building in our community is the little log cabin near City Park that my sons and I have called home for over 27 years.  Although we never went through the process of getting historical status for our cabin (my late husband didn’t want this), it was given as an example of authentic cabins in Fort Collins, in a book provided to us after we bought our house in 1996.

Over the years, we heard stories from the various people who lived here before us, except for the original owner, James Forney’s brother, who moved the cabin down from the mountains to help with the family business in Fort Collins in 1938. In addition to our house itself, I love our beautiful trees and natural environment which surrounds our home.  Whenever I come home from being out-and-about, I’m always happy to return to the little oasis that I call my home.

2. What significant historic building in our community do you feel is most at risk of being lost? What effect would its loss have upon the community?

Again, I really haven’t thought about any particular building being at risk of being lost. Whether it is a public historic building or a private historic home, I believe that this could lead to many cultural, social, sentimental, economic, and environmental losses to our community.

I feel that the current thinking which focuses on the perceived need to destroy old buildings to build new ones, puts all of our historic buildings at risk. I’ve been frustrated and saddened to see so many homes in our community destroyed, only to be replaced by huge, soulless homes with little remaining yard space or apartment buildings with expensive units that are difficult for many local residents to afford–even though our mayor and some city council members continue to tell constituents that we need to replace these single-family dwellings to provide “affordable/attainable” multi-family units.  It’s just not what I’m seeing.

If we continue to demolish historic buildings and yards, I feel this will have multiple negative effects including loss of cultural history as well as loss of natural habitat for plants and animals living in the yards of the historic buildings.  Also, many people don’t seem to understand that revamping an old building is usually a much greener choice than demolishing the building and building a “green” building in its place.

3. Given that studies (see resources below, especially Place Economics) show historic preservation can play an outsized role

  • in building economic strength and resilience,
  • in contributing to sustainability goals,
  • in connecting people to place, and
  • in teaching newcomers and the younger generation about our local history,

What cultural, economic, social, and environmental benefits do you feel historic preservation has brought to our community? 

Many tourists come from all over our state, country, and even the world specifically to visit historic buildings such as those in Old Town Square and surrounding areas, hoping to enjoy the special culture that Fort Collins has to offer. This, in turn, leads to economic opportunities for businesses in and/or near the various historic buildings being visited.

Often visitors make a point of booking rooms in historic Old Town hotels or our Old Town hostel, the Fernweh Inn when they come to visit Fort Collins to enhance their cultural experience while visiting our city. When people stay in many of these historic buildings, they are easily able to take advantage of our public transit and bicycle options during their visits, which obviously is better for our environment than car-centric options in less historic parts of town. In addition to the many Old Town buildings that attract people to our city, there are other historic buildings in other parts of town that are also important parts of our city’s story and need to be protected.

Eric Hamrick – Candidate for District 2

1. What is your favorite historic building in the community? What do you like about it? 

The Old Post Office, Downtown.  A great example of Italian Renaissance Revival architecture, this building was saved from being demolished. It is a grand structure, fitting into our community’s fabric and identity like a glove, with contemporary uses like the Museum of Modern Art adding to its charm and glamour.

2. What significant historic building in our community do you feel is most at risk of being lost? What effect would its loss have upon the community?

Saint Joseph’s School is high on the list of historic structures that I fear we could lose to development in the near future.  With it’s unusual Spanish Colonial architecture, we would lose a unique, yet entirely appropriate, structure that is filled with the history of Fort Collins.  As with all structures that are torn down, we would quickly lose our knowledge of what our past was made of, and of our ties to history older than Fort Collins.

3. Given that studies (see resources below, especially Place Economics) show historic preservation can play an outsized role

  • in building economic strength and resilience,
  • in contributing to sustainability goals,
  • in connecting people to place, and
  • in teaching newcomers and the younger generation about our local history,

What cultural, economic, social, and environmental benefits do you feel historic preservation has brought to our community? 

From the Old Post Office to the Northern Hotel to the Linden Hotel, we have example after example of how historic buildings make the present richer because of these connections to the past.  Because of these preserved buildings, people become interested in the history of Fort Collins, creating stronger ties to the present, and ensuring that future development integrates this knowledge into the spaces created for our future. The embodied energy in our historic structures, and their preservation, is much more than simply preserving our environment.  They are a window into the people who were every bit as much alive as us, and whose stories we should hear, so that we too can leave a legacy for those yet to come. 

Sean McCoy – Candidate for District 2

Sean has stepped down from his candidacy and has endorsed Julie Pignataro.

Julie Pignataro – Candidate for District 2

1. What is your favorite historic building in the community? What do you like about it? 

Not a building per se, but I love the historic trolley because of the joy, nostalgia, and character it brings to the community.

2. What significant historic building in our community do you feel is most at risk of being lost? What effect would its loss have upon the community?

Definitely the Historic Plummer School. Through watching its evolution since I moved to Fort Collins 30 years ago, it appears to be struggling to remain an icon in our community. Since it is already listed as an historic place, I don’t think it is at great risk of being lost per se, but it does seem like it could get swallowed up by surrounding development. So I would say that the loss of the land that it sits on, which includes some very mature landscapes, is the biggest risk.

3. Given that studies (see resources below, especially Place Economics) show historic preservation can play an outsized role

  • in building economic strength and resilience,
  • in contributing to sustainability goals,
  • in connecting people to place, and
  • in teaching newcomers and the younger generation about our local history,

What cultural, economic, social, and environmental benefits do you feel historic preservation has brought to our community? 

Historic preservation has brought a connection to the past for Fort Collins’ newcomers, and as we know by our growth rates, there are many! For our younger generations, it helps bring history alive and I have enjoyed seeing some of our historic buildings and sites through my son’s eyes as he has made his way through elementary school.

Shirley Peel – Candidate for District 4

1. What is your favorite historic building in the community? What do you like about it? 

It is really hard to pick just one. Obviously, I love the old buildings in Old Town, especially the old feed store that is now Ginger and Baker. We actually used to buy our feed there before it was renovated. Closer to home there is a small house on the corner of Trilby and College that sadly is slated for demolishing when the road is widened. I think it used to be a schoolmaster’s house or a former school, not sure, but I have been wanting to go in and just look around. 🙂 I think what I like about old buildings beside the architecture, is the history attached with each one. I can just imagine the simpler times and the people who lived, worked and played in them. 

2. What significant historic building in our community do you feel is most at risk of being lost? What effect would its loss have upon the community?

As a councilmember, one of the things that hurts my heart the most is when we have an appeal come before us and my vote causes us to lose any historical building or even just an old building in general. I am hopeful we can find a way to identify buildings that can be saved before they reach the council level as well as repurpose buildings to fit new uses without losing their character. I am interested in advocating for a better process to preserve buildings. 

3. Given that studies (see resources below, especially Place Economics) show historic preservation can play an outsized role

  • in building economic strength and resilience,
  • in contributing to sustainability goals,
  • in connecting people to place, and
  • in teaching newcomers and the younger generation about our local history,

What cultural, economic, social, and environmental benefits do you feel historic preservation has brought to our community? 

Again, obviously Old Town has big economic, social and environmental benefits. Another I place that I think could play a role in these areas is the preservation of our flea markets on South College. While not exactly historical buildings, they are a piece of the historical fabric of our town. These businesses have been left in limbo with no way to upgrade their parking lots, buildings, etc. without a huge infusion of cash. I think this is a shame and would like to see a thriving market in that area. 

Melanie Potyondy – Candidate for District 4

1. What is your favorite historic building in the community? What do you like about it? 

My favorite historic building in Fort Collins is the Armstrong Hotel. I love its thoughtfully-restored interior, its location right in the heart of Old Town, and its overall cozy atmosphere. Plus, The Armstrong Hotel has sentimental value for me because my husband and I stayed there when we got married back in 2008.

2. What significant historic building in our community do you feel is most at risk of being lost? What effect would its loss have upon the community?

I don’t have a specific site in mind for this question, but believe it is important that our community maintain focus on preserving properties that are of particular significance to our community members of color and members of marginalized groups. So often, these groups’ history and cultures have been devalued and de-emphasized in decision-making; I would like to see historic preservation processes pay special attention to these historical trends. 

3. Given that studies (see resources below, especially Place Economics) show historic preservation can play an outsized role

  • in building economic strength and resilience,
  • in contributing to sustainability goals,
  • in connecting people to place, and
  • in teaching newcomers and the younger generation about our local history,

What cultural, economic, social, and environmental benefits do you feel historic preservation has brought to our community? 

I think historical buildings are part of what makes Fort Collins special, especially in the Old Town area. Residents and visitors, alike, are drawn to the charming atmosphere downtown, which is both a social and economic benefit. Likewise, many of our neighborhoods include beautiful homes from different eras and corresponding architectural styles, drawing in potential buyers and renters who seek a unique space to call their own. I am an especially big fan of our mid-century modern neighborhoods and, although I am not lucky enough to live in one, I really enjoyed a recent opportunity to take a tour of several Fort Collins homes from the MCM era. Many of our historical buildings impart Fort Collins with a true sense of place, and I feel lucky to live here. Further, regarding sustainability, restoration of historical buildings with “good bones” can be a less wasteful option than building new and, oftentimes, historical buildings’ craftsmanship and quality of materials is superior to that used to create new buildings. Of course, not every structure from a bygone era is an architectural treasure or practical with regard to use of space, energy efficiency, etc., but thoughtful decision-making about renovation vs. replacement of buildings is oftentimes prudent.

Alexander Adams – Candidate for District 6

1. What is your favorite historic building in the community? What do you like about it? 

I have quite a few. I have always liked the old bank in old town–every time I walk past it it really gives me a sense of rootedness and antiquity of the area. My favorite though if I really think about it is likely the art museum. The architectural style is very aesthetically pleasing to me. There are too many honorable mentions to list. 

2. What significant historic building in our community do you feel is most at risk of being lost? What effect would its loss have upon the community?

I read a while ago the old post office was slated for demolition but I did not follow up on that to see what happened. I am very concerned overall with historical preservation, especially in old town. In fact, one of the reasons I oppose the LDC is that even when a specific building is spared, if the surrounding buildings dramatically change, it changes the feel of the neighborhood entirely. Something is lost. Old Town and old buildings generally connect us to a bygone era and keep us connected with our ancestors (either directly or ‘spiritual’ ancestors, those generations who lived here prior). 

3. Given that studies (see resources below, especially Place Economics) show historic preservation can play an outsized role

  • in building economic strength and resilience,
  • in contributing to sustainability goals,
  • in connecting people to place, and
  • in teaching newcomers and the younger generation about our local history,

What cultural, economic, social, and environmental benefits do you feel historic preservation has brought to our community? 

Economically, Old Town is an economic center and draws tourists. Socially and culturally, it was the model of Disney Land, and thus has has an impact on American culture. In terms of climate, reusing existing structures is less carbon intensive than creating new ones. For me, as a transplant, being able to research different buildings allows me to understand how the city was laid out and has progressed to where it is today. Fort Collins’ historical sites and communities ought to be preserved—developers do not have the right to turn us into another dot on the map. 

Emily Francis – Candidate for District 6

1. What is your favorite historic building in the community? What do you like about it? 

The Emma Malaby Grocery Property! I like the look of the building and how it has been incorporated into the neighborhood. I also enjoy the history of the property and family and how it has changed uses over time.

2. What significant historic building in our community do you feel is most at risk of being lost? What effect would its loss have upon the community?

The Laurel Street School/Centennial High School: With Poudre School District consolidating and this school being older it is of concern what will happen if PSD will no longer use this building. The school has been part of our history and the loss would be significant. 

3. Given that studies (see resources below, especially Place Economics) show historic preservation can play an outsized role

  • in building economic strength and resilience,
  • in contributing to sustainability goals,
  • in connecting people to place, and
  • in teaching newcomers and the younger generation about our local history,

What cultural, economic, social, and environmental benefits do you feel historic preservation has brought to our community? 

As someone born and raised in Fort Collins, I appreciate the work that has been done over the years to preserve our cherished history. Historic preservation has immeasurable benefits from an educational, environmental, and cultural perspective, and I’m glad that city leaders had the forethought to establish historic preservation as a policy more than 50 years ago. Historic preservation helps communities maintain a sense of place and can anchor a town’s identity.

Loveland

Jacki Marsh – Mayoral Candidate

1. What is your favorite historic building in the community? What do you like about it? 

There are several, Rialto Theater would be my first choice as it was renovated to maintain its original character and function. It is stately. One can easily envision silent movies with piano accompaniment. My second choice would be City Hall, the former Washington School. Walking up the steep stairwells brings thoughts of past youthful, excited voices gathering in former classrooms.

Of note is the current renovation of the Feed and Grain building, which may become my new favorite once renovations are complete. One wall in my home is adorned with photographs of the machinery in the Feed & Grain. Also in the works, is the renovation of the Pulliam Community Building.

2. What significant historic building in our community do you feel is most at risk of being lost? What effect would its loss have upon the community?

I worry about the future of Timberlane Farms on 1st Street. I believe it’s significance of being a farm museum within the Downtown Area is undervalued. I was disappointed that City Council did not invest in preserving it, several years ago, when the opportunity came to the City. For children, of all ages, to walk back in history, in the heart of Downtown, and down the street from our Boys and Girls Club, is both educational and meditative. If dollars are needed to make it pay for itself, consideration could be given to a farm to table restaurant on the property to supplement a farm museum.

3. Given that studies (see resources below, especially Place Economics) show historic preservation can play an outsized role

  • in building economic strength and resilience,
  • in contributing to sustainability goals,
  • in connecting people to place, and
  • in teaching newcomers and the younger generation about our local history,

What cultural, economic, social, and environmental benefits do you feel historic preservation has brought to our community? 

Why do we save photos, create albums, spend time on our memories? Time is always moving forward and yet, we are forever linked with the past. Sometimes it’s hard to appreciate our everyday luxuries, until we remember the clumsy ways of the past. And sometimes we look at our current chaos and we long for the simpler times of the past. Preserving our historic buildings is essential to preserving the character and the specialness of our City. Things we took for granted when we were children and when our grandparents were children, become rare as we age. Architecture, styles, materials, quality of workmanship, become more unique with age. And yes, the character of our Downtown is a tourist draw, which is good for our economy, but more importantly, as residents, we identify with it being who we are, as we are proud Lovelanders, who are in love with our City. I love our community and our penchant for appreciating the Arts. And so, I’ll finish where I started, from it’s meager beginnings, Loveland has always been an Art City, and our Rialto Theater, is our crown jewel.

Don Overcash – Mayoral Candidate

1. What is your favorite historic building in the community? What do you like about it? 

The Rialto Theatre is my favorite at present with the First National Bank building coming in as a close second.  The Rialto preserves the architecture and feel from my childhood of going to or $0.25.

2. What significant historic building in our community do you feel is most at risk of being lost? What effect would its loss have upon the community?

The Pulliam Community Building has been a top priority of mine for restoration/preservation since 2015.  In 2016 I lead the effort on City Council to partner with the community effort to fund and bring back the Pulliam.  This building given to the community by the Pulliam family decades ago is a reminder of the benefits provided to the community through generous hearts.  Bringing this building back into use for the community will contribute greatly to the revitalization of the downtown community as an anchor for downtown entertainment and economic activity.

3. Given that studies (see resources below, especially Place Economics) show historic preservation can play an outsized role

  • in building economic strength and resilience,
  • in contributing to sustainability goals,
  • in connecting people to place, and
  • in teaching newcomers and the younger generation about our local history,

What cultural, economic, social, and environmental benefits do you feel historic preservation has brought to our community? 

The Loveland downtown revitalization effort has greatly benefitted from preserving the Rialto, Loveland Downtown Historic District, First National Bank Building and soon the Pulliam Community Building.  The cultural, social, economic and environmental benefits brought to the greater Loveland community is priceless.

Janice Ververs – Mayoral Candidate

We haven’t received Janice’s answers yet.

Daniel Anderson – Candidate for Ward I

We haven’t received Daniel’s answers yet.

Troy Krenning – Candidate for Ward I

We haven’t received Troy’s answers yet.

Lenard Larkin – Candidate for Ward I

1. What is your favorite historic building in the community? What do you like about it? 

To be honest, the old grain and feed on railroad and 2nd, the depot at 11th and Monroe, and the depot on railroad and 4th. I’m a little of a train buff. It also shows an example of how we can use more mass transit to unite the city.

2. What significant historic building in our community do you feel is most at risk of being lost? What effect would its loss have upon the community?

The feed and grain building near downtown.  It has been a common site my entire life living in Loveland. Losing it personally for me would be losing a link to my life living in Loveland. The loss of the community would be another bulldozing of our history for a short term profit for those who care nothing about Loveland.

3. Given that studies (see resources below, especially Place Economics) show historic preservation can play an outsized role

  • in building economic strength and resilience,
  • in contributing to sustainability goals,
  • in connecting people to place, and
  • in teaching newcomers and the younger generation about our local history,

What cultural, economic, social, and environmental benefits do you feel historic preservation has brought to our community? 

The simplest statement is that those who forget, or ignore history are doomed to repeat it.

Cultural-knowing our past helps ground us to the present.

Economic- we have ups and downs over the years in our economy, we can learn from the downs to make a more stable future.

Social- unfortunately I see our community has forgotten a significant part of its social past that we need to acknowledge to make a brighter future. The actions of this past are repeating in our government to the detriment of Loveland.

Environmental- from the floods of 1976 or 2013, we learned where we made mistakes in building too near the rivers. This is an example of how we cannot cheat our environment for short term gain.

Russell Sinnett – Candidate for Ward I

We haven’t received Russell’s answers yet.

Andrea Samson – Candidate for Ward II

We haven’t received Andrea’s answers yet.

Kat McManus – Candidate for Ward II

We haven’t received Kat’s answers yet.

Erin Black – Candidate for Ward III

1. What is your favorite historic building in the community?

I really like the post office building on 6th and Cleveland. Being in that old building, doing present business, is very cool! I think it’s even more special when you couple the history of our Valentine mailings from the City of Love. I love the staircase up to the unique double doors and entry. Bonnell Building, the Stroh Bldg., and of course, the Rialto are all very neat looking and are certainly pillars of Loveland.

2. What significant historic building in our community do you feel is most at risk of being lost? What effect would its loss have upon the community?

There are some dilapidated buildings near the railroad in different areas in Loveland. I imagine that these all have rich history. I do know that there is a fundraising campaign to raise monies for the old railroad depot over off Monroe. I think this is a great idea.

John Fogle – Candidate for Ward III

1. What is your favorite historic building in the community? What do you like about it? 

I have been the Council Liaison to the Loveland Historic Preservation Commission for 12 years, and one building particularly stands out.  The ‘Opera House’ at 4th and Cleveland is a wonderful example of Historic Restoration and the teamwork that can occur when developers and History folks come together to save a structure.  This building is now a wonderful remodel hosting a ‘pinball palace’ for kids of all ages – and the upstairs ‘Opera House’ is an active Multi-office space.

The exterior has been completely restored to its former glory and stands as a cornerstone of Loveland’s Downtown historic efforts.  I am extremely proud to have been involved through my work with HPC and the Loveland Downtown Development Authority which I also serve as a board member.

2. What significant historic building in our community do you feel is most at risk of being lost? What effect would its loss have upon the community?

I am incredibly proud to say I don’t believe any of our downtown buildings meet this criteria.  Active projects are underway on several structures and moving nicely.  Even the Great Western Train Depot has been slated for a move to City property following a recent agreement with OmniTrax, who owned the building.  Current projects with Historic activity are:  The Pulliam Building (abandoned Community Center) that is currently being remodeled with a $7m budget from City Council, The Draper – 5 building combo on 4th street that will save the historic components and facias of two of Loveland’s oldest historic structures – blending them into a new modern apartment building and retail center, The Feed and Grain – challenged structure that was purchased by ART Space and is now being remodeled into 9 apartments with working space/retail space for Artists, The ‘ELKS Lodge’ – whose exterior and  structural components were remodeled by State Historic funds is now undergoing a complete interior renovation to transform the structure into multiple retail and office space units, including restaurants and a proposed area for youth. The list can go on – and I am incredibly proud to have been closely involved with each of these projects over my 12 years as a City Councilor.

3. Given that studies (see resources below, especially Place Economics) show historic preservation can play an outsized role

  • in building economic strength and resilience,
  • in contributing to sustainability goals,
  • in connecting people to place, and
  • in teaching newcomers and the younger generation about our local history,

What cultural, economic, social, and environmental benefits do you feel historic preservation has brought to our community? 

Energizing a community to understand the importance of Historic Preservation is the biggest challenge.  Through yearly outreach, sponsored commitments, and yeoman’s work – the Loveland Historic Preservation Commission in combination with the Loveland Historic Society has been contributing to this journey for many years.  Developers often see Historic Preservation as a hinderance to their plans, hence the need for strict regulations regarding demolition.  Overcoming that perception IS the job of the Historic Preservation Commission.  Folks don’t take traveling historic vacations to look at shiny new steel and glass structures, but thousands of folks yearly travels include Historic interests throughout Northern Colorado, and Downtown Loveland.  By repurposing older structures, Loveland has contributed greatly to the sustainability effort to keep our city current, while maintaining the past.  Through Historic walking tours, self-guided tour materials and more – Downtown Loveland and the surrounding area earns its ‘Historic Downtown’ designation every day.  For the last 7 years, the Historic Preservation Commission has enjoyed having a high school student sit as a voting member of the Commission.  Adding the vitality, perspective and overall energy of a teen to Historic conversations has been invaluable. Student involvement, guided tours, self-guided tours and historic projects every direction you look – Downtown Loveland has come a long way – and Loveland’s Historic Preservation Commission and the Loveland Historic Society should be commended for wonderful work.

Once you get ‘hooked on history’ – there is no cure.

I stand ready to serve 4 more years as a Loveland City Councilor, and proud liaison to the Historic Preservation Commission and Board Member of the Downtown Development Authority.

Zeke Cortez – Candidate for Ward IV

We haven’t received Zeke’s answers yet.

Laura Light-Kovacs – Candidate for Ward IV

We haven’t received Laura’s answers yet.

Brief History of Health Care in Fort Collins

Larimer County Hospital

In 1877 the Colorado State Board of Health was established by Colorado’s first General Assembly.  The board was charged with the control of epidemics and contagious disease, the collection and study of vital statistics as a means of determining the causes of illness and death, and advice on proper sources of water supplies and places of sewage disposal.  Their first vital statistics report showed that 24.7% of deaths were from consumption-also known as tuberculosis (possibly due to the fact that Colorado had a reputation as a healthful spot for the treatment of that same disease), 7.8% from diphtheria, 5.4% from scarlet fever and pneumonia and 5% from heart disease.  

In 1893 local boards of health were established.  Public health at local levels was strengthened by public health nursing throughout the state in the late 1880s and early 1900s.  The evolution of public health nursing involved the American Red Cross, the Visiting Nurse Association and the Colorado Tuberculosis association.  

Despite the existence of a State Board of Health, in 1918 when the flu epidemic hit, the state suffered a lack of funding.  In fact, the State Health Department was so underfunded that year that they had to commandeer an appropriation dedicated to controlling venereal disease to fill the gap.  In 1918 the state spent more to control livestock disease then they did on the State Board of Health.

It appears the American Red Cross Northern Colorado chapter, which was founded in March, 1917, provided the medical oversight for the response to the epidemic in Larimer County.  They had formed to aid families impacted by the war, but their work load doubled in 1918 as they responded to the pandemic.  They organized hospitals in cooperation with the Agricultural College.  There were also hospitals at the 1st Presbyterian Church in Ft. Collins and in Wellington.  In the aftermath they held health clinics and their health programs strengthened through the 1920s.

The Larimer County Public Health Association was organized in 1920, for the sole purpose of aiding those who couldn’t obtain proper medical or dental treatment.  In 1920 a Ft. Collins doctor visit cost $1.50, a night visit was $5.00. 

In 1925 the Larimer County Hospital was opened, just outside the city limits and was “deeply appreciated by residents when it arrived, following the devastating influenza epidemic of 1918-19”.  It cost $175,000 to build and served 14,500 patients in it’s first year of operation.  The hospital expanded through the years and became Poudre Valley Hospital in 1950.  (Side note-two of our HLC board members were born here!). 

Ghost Signs Remain in Many A Colorado Town

Ghostly remains of a sign only seen inside Indigo Rose Books – Fort Collins, CO

One of the many things attracting the attention of residents and visitors alike are the ghost signs adorning the historic downtowns in Colorado, Loveland included.  These signs, from the 1890s to the 1960s, can be even more ghostly when you attempt to uncover the original words and images.  The several layers of paint can often provide many messages.  Ironically, in their day, the signs were nothing more than a highly visible way to advertise and solicit a product or business.

Ghost signs are making a comeback in many communities where residents are working to save these pieces of retail history.  The reasons they still exist are plentiful, however, the primary reasons are the durable lead-paint used in the early to mid-20th century which adheres well to masonry; location of the property which provided protection to the sign from the elements; and current historic preservation efforts to ensure they are around for decades to come.  The sign painters of this time period worked quickly and were quite skilled at painting.  The “wall dogs”, as they were called, generally worked for major sign companies.  Signage was primarily on privately owned barns in the country and commercial walls in smaller communities.  The “wall dogs” arrived with smaller drawings in hand and literally sized up the wall, smooth or bowed, and crafted the image onto the wall.  The painter often mixed the colors on site to get the exact color needed for the job.  These painters traveled from town to town to locations determined by company representatives.  A little customizing was done when the owner of the wall’s business name was added above the product being advertised.  These early advertisement signs were often painted over when the building was sold, thus the reason why there can be multiple layers on one sign.

J.L. Hohnstein Block – Coopersmiths – Coca Cola ghost sign – Fort Collins

Signs placed in communities were generally soft drinks, coffee, beer, and tobacco.  A Coca-Cola sign from 1958 in Old Town Fort Collins was preserved and touched up in 2011 (Coopersmiths) to make it more legible.  The conservation treatment saturated the original colors bringing back the intensity of the design.  It also made the underlying signs more visible to the naked eye.  It took almost three weeks.  Many thanks to Carol Tunner who led the Coca-Cola sign preservation efforts in Fort Collins. If you know of a ghost sign where you live, please let us know and we’ll add it to the collections!  For more information and a self-guided tour visit fcgov.com/ghostsigns.

Written by HLC Board member Sharon Danhauer

Gooch-e in Loveland

The Hidden Advantage to having historical surveys is the wealth of information readily available for all to see. Here is a quick summary of the history of 120 and 122 East 4th Street, as taken from the Downtown Loveland Historic District nomination form, written by Carl McWilliams in October 2014. What follows comes from Carl’s report.

 

Historic Name: Weinberg and Harrison Dry Goods Store Current Name: Cloz to Home Construction Date: Circa 1886. This two-story commercial building features a rectangular plan, with painted pale green stuccoed brick masonry walls, and a flat roof. The building has served as a retail commercial establishment throughout its history. In the late 1880s, a dry goods store occupied the first floor, while a hand printing shop was located upstairs. Other early uses include a billiards parlor, a bakery, and a general store. The H. A Gooch Dry Goods Company, followed by Weinberg and Harrison Dry Goods, was located in the building during the early 1900s. Loveland Hardware, owned by the Moon Brothers, was in business here during the 1920s. Uses from the 1930s to the 1970s include another billiards parlor, a sheet metal works shop, and a series of restaurants. The Green Lantern Café was in business here circa 1936-1937, followed by the Windsor Café from the early 1940s to the early 1950s. Circa 1954, the name of the establishment was changed to Betty’s Café, followed by the Double D Café and Cocktail Lounge in the 1960s, in turn, succeeded by the Top Hat Café and Lounge, from the late 1960s to the late 1970s. A retail store named the Cat’s Pajamas was located in the building in the 1980s, followed, in the 1990s by a store named Feathers. Currently (in 2014) the building is home to a retail store called “Cloz To Home.” The upstairs has primarily served as office space through the years.

Historic Loveland: Inside & Out

On November 17th, Historic Larimer County hosted a tour of three historic buildings in Loveland’s Downtown Historic District: the First National Bank building (now Desk Chair Workspace), the Lovelander Hotel (now residential housing), and the Rialto Theater. In addition to providing a view into the city’s history, the three buildings also provided a glimpse into three different ways of reusing an older building.

This article is photo-heavy, so it may take awhile to load. Despite the fact that several photos are shared here, taking the tour is far richer in terms of sites, sounds, and information. If you would like to attend an upcoming Historic Larimer County tour or talk, please check out the upcoming events page.

First National Bank, 201 E. 4th Street

First National Bank was built in 1928 at the corner of 4th and Cleveland. The bank was managed by President Hugh Scilley and Vice Presidents D. T. Pulliam and Adolph Donath. In addition to housing a bank, the building also contained professional offices for lawyers, accountants and dentists. The bank remained in this location for 35 years before moving to a new location at 235 E. 6th Street in 1963. The Larimer County administrative offices then moved in and remained until 1990 when Interweave Press moved in and remodeled the building. Now housing Desk Chair Workspace, the interior of the building blends the historic with high-end modern details.

As described in a historical survey completed in 2003,..

The First National Bank building is an example of the Classical Revival style of architecture. The First National Bank building has a distinctive façade, unlike any other in Downtown Loveland. Centered on the north elevation is a very large arched entryway framed by massive tapered pilasters and ornate Corinthian capitals. A “capital” is the head or crowning feature of a column or pilaster. Above the entry way and tapered pilasters is an entablature bearing the words “FIRST NATIONAL BANK.” The Photos #1 (left), #2 (center), and #3 (right). Examples of Classic Revival architecture. Source: Colorado Historical Society Guide to Colorado’s Historic Architecture, 1983. Photo #4. West elevation shows front-block, and lower height rear-block. Photo #5. Primary building material is buff-colored brick. 4 tapered pilasters are faced with large terra-cotta pieces.

The entranceway to the building.

In one corner of a meeting room we were delighted to see the night drop-off vault.

The original high-ceilinged main room had a second story added.

Common areas were artsy with a touch of the historic. In two locations there were ghostly wire people, like visitors from the past.

The original capitals of the interior columns remain as a testament to the lavish interior of the former bank.

Where a rear exterior wall was cut to make a passageway into a back room, the cement was polished. This turned an exposed historic material into an artistic visual delight.

The view from the rooftop patio provides wonderful views of the surrounding Downtown Historic District.

Despite the weather, the group gathered around the front facade to learn more about the architecture of the building.

The Lovelander Hotel

Our second stop on the tour was the Lovelander Hotel. The building has undergone multiple changes over the years, yet it continues to stand as a monument to the importance of Loveland as a resting place for tourists before they would head up to Estes Park in a powerful Stanley Steamer back in the early 1900s. The tour only included the still residential portion of the building (the rest has housed the Elks for a substantial amount of time).

Entering the lobby of the hotel was like stepping back in time. The same old maps adorned the walls that had been there for tourists as they anticipated their vacations up in the mountains.

The building currently provides housing for several working class Loveland residents. Astrid explained that her mission with the building is to provide safe, sound, and quiet housing at an affordable rate. (Learn more at Astride A Starship.)

The part of the building that we toured.

The maps and other odds and ends that tourists would have seen when they entered the hotel.

The downstairs retail space is currently vacant. On the left it’s clear where ceilings were dropped for residential common areas at the back of the retail space.

The dropped ceiling made for an odd “second story” that was too small for regular use. Instead it gave access for utility hookups.

The hallways were cozy. And though we got to tour inside one of the apartments, it didn’t seem appropriate to snap photos there.

The Rialto Theater

The last place we visited was the Rialto theater. The theater was designed by Denver architect Robert K. Fuller (son of Montezuma Fuller of Fort Collins). It was completed in May of 1920. It was built primarily as a silent movie theater with a small orchestra pit in front. It was also used for special events in town such as graduations, town meetings, and recitals.

After under going several changes, including being turned into a mall for a time, the Friend of the Rialto was formed in 1989 with hopes of restoring the building to its former splendor. Beautiful interior and exterior decorations were uncovered and either repaired or, when the damage was too great for repairs, then reproduced in such a way that the new versions were similar the originals with some significant differences to indicate they were newer.

Entering the Rialto.

Ron Sladek, the president of Historic Larimer County, was involved in the renovation of the Rialto, so he gave us a first hand account of what the building looked like before rehabilitation, the process it went through, and how it got to the point it is now.

The sparkling gold of the flower at left indicates that it’s an original. The reproductions were painted to look similar, but the gold was deliberately left off to show they were newer.

The theater. We also got to visit the area under the stage, but it was so cramped that getting a decent photo was difficult.

The whole tour group in front of the Rialto Theater.

Threatened: Loveland’s Great Western Sugar Depots

There are two small white, wooden buildings sitting vacant on Monroe Avenue and 10 Street in Loveland. Though they look a bit lost and forlorn, they continue to stand as a reminder of days gone by when the Loveland Great Western Sugar factory was at the heart of the city’s economy. The depots were used for passenger service as well as freight. But in the mid-1980s, they were decommissioned. Wanting to protect a building that held deep memories for many, the windows were boarded up, but the boards were painted over to look like glass windows so that the buildings would continue to appear like they were in service. Five years ago, however, the company that owns the land decided that the depots had to go. That’s when the Loveland Historical Society decided to step in and try to save the buildings.


The Great Western passenger depot was built by the Great Western Railway in 1902, the year after the sugar factory opened. The factory was the first Great Western Co. sugar plant in Northern Colorado, although three other sugar processing plants had previously been built in the state. The sugar factory drove our economy for eight decades and grew Loveland’s population by 300% the first decade of operation! It was a major contributor to the area’s economic success and remains a very important piece of our history and heritage. All the next generations in Loveland deserve a chance to know and appreciate the Great Western legacy.

The Great Western Railway’s main purpose was to transport beets from outlying farmers’ beet dumps, as well as refined sugar, molasses, coal and lime rock, but it also operated passenger service from 1917 – 1926. Before and after passenger service years, it was used as the railroad agent’s central office. In the 1980s, Great Western Railway offered popular rail excursions, and school classes rode cabooses for years, but the railroad never got back on its feet. The passenger depot was closed in the mid-1980s. The little freight depot to the east was built in 1942.

OmniTRAX, Inc. owns the railway system now. In 2012, the Loveland Historical Society was negotiating a lease, which would have left the depots on railroad land, and was planning to fundraise and seek grants for restoration as probably a Great Western Sugar museum. At that point, OmniTRAX decided the buildings had to go due to their new plan to bring oil tanker trucks onto the property from Monroe Ave. The buildings were in the way, and the railroad gave the historical society 30 days to move ‘em or lose ‘em. Our volunteer who was working to save the depots hustled to find someone to take them, thinking that saved but gone is better than demolished. LHS reluctantly agreed, and the depots were happily claimed by the Moffat Railroad Museum in Granby, who also planned to fundraise and take the buildings apart to move them over the mountain.

But after four years of expecting them to be frisked away every day, the Loveland Historical Society has formed a committee that has redoubled efforts to save the depots in Loveland where they belong. OmniTRAX will give the buildings to anyone who will get them off railroad property. The contract between OmniTRAX and the Moffat Railroad Museum still has not been signed, making them fair game. We don’t want to lose that part of our history. We need Loveland’s help!

The Loveland Historic Preservation Commission and a new county-wide preservation non-profit, Historic Larimer County, are supportive of the efforts to save the depots, offering invaluable knowledge and expertise. The depots have been nominated to the 2018 Colorado’s Most Endangered Places list, run by Colorado Preservation, Inc. in Denver. We will need to fundraise approximately $60,000 to cover inspection and abatement of hazardous materials, the cost of moving the buildings, and at least one new foundation. Then we will seek various restoration grants. The buildings are eligible for listing on the State and Local Historic Registers, but only if they are kept in their historic context near the sugar factory. Without a historic registration, grants would not be available.

The historical society will approach the City about possibly moving the buildings just south to leased City land. Once saved, restoration will have to be accomplished in phases, as with the Milner-Schwarz House. Plans for reuse could include a Great Western Sugar museum, model railroad, coffee shop or some other income-producing retail enterprise, or all the above! We will begin by taking pledges for monetary and in-kind support. Look for “Save Loveland’s Great Western Depots!” on Facebook. Find a pledge form at the Loveland Museum, the Library and lovelandhistorical.org. Mail to: Save the Great Western Sugar Depots! PO Box 7311, Loveland, CO 80537.

You can help by contacting your City Council person and asking him or her to please save Loveland’s Great Western Depots!   Message number: 970-290-0169.

The Loveland Great Western Sugar Company depots are beloved remnants of the community’s past that could be revitalized and once again become a place where memories are made.