Minerva Stoneburner stands on the porch of the Frank A. Collamer Grocery. (Photo courtesy of Jim Burrill.)
Jim Burrill, the great grandson of Jacob A. Collamer, and his wife Carol Burrill have donated the 1881 Emma Malaby Grocery that has been in the Collamer family since 1906 to the regional historic preservation advocacy organization, Historic Larimer County. The building was originally constructed in 1881 on N. College Avenue as a photography studio for George T. Wilkins. Wilkins, his wife and daughter all lived as well as worked in the building. From 1900-1906 the building contained a millinery shop and continued to also be used as a residence. In 1906, Jacob A. Collamer purchased the building and hauled it to 313 N. Meldrum near his family home. The Commercial Bank & Trust Company built a new building at 146 N. College, the former site of the photography studio. Once on Meldrum, Jacob Collamer opened the Jacob Collamer Grocery for several years. He passed the store down to his daughter, Emma, and she renamed it the Emma Malaby Grocery.
Historic Larimer County advocates for historic preservation through community-based collaborative projects, education, and interpretation in order to connect people to place. The organization, led by a thirteen-member board representing Fort Collins and Loveland and all of the county’s smaller communities from Estes Park to Wellington and Livermore to Berthoud, has had no headquarters since the organization’s founding in 1988. The Emma Malaby Grocery will become the organization’s headquarters which will include a grocery store museum; displays sharing the stories of the Wilkins, the Collamers, and others who have used the building; an architectural history and preservation library; office and meeting space.
Historic Larimer County began as the Larimer County Historic Alliance in 1988 when a group of local advocates banded together to save the Franz-Smith cabin, now on display in Heritage Park near the old Carnegie Library in Fort Collins. In February 2016, Ron Sladek and Meg Dunn rebooted the organization with an active team of board members from throughout the county. Today Historic Larimer County holds monthly tours or talks, helping residents connect with the wide variety of historic places within our county. The organization also provides training events for municipal leaders, staff, and advocates and provides assistance to owners of historic properties.