“Our forbears are deserving of tribute for one indisputable reason, if for no other: without them we should not be here. Let us recognize that we are not the ultimate triumph but rather we are beads on a string. Let us behave with decency to the beads that were strung before us, and hope modestly that the beads that come after us will not hold us of no account merely because we are dead.” — Robertson Davies, in the New York Times, October 31, 1990
I live in a house that has been home to many families before ours. I live in a city that owes its existence, its form, and its culture to the many pioneers that have come before. And even this blog has been handed down from Maggie to Peter to me. As Robertson Davies described in his New York Times piece, we are all beads on a necklace. We owe our position on the string to the fact that many have come before us. But we also must acknowledge that others will follow. It is with this mindset that I believe we should consider history. We look back to remember what has gone before, but we do so with the understanding that the people, ideas, and events that have preceded us affect our present in a profound way, and shape our future as well.
With that in mind, I look forward to exploring Fort Collins’ history with you. As Maggie said in her introduction, “I am thrilled to be your tour guide through our community’s past.” And I look forward to being tutored by you all as well. Though I love to research stories of people and buildings and events, it’s the people who lived it, or who have stories to share that were handed down to them from their parents or grandparents, who will really breath life into our learning. You don’t have to be a 3rd generation resident of Fort Collins to have interesting tidbits to share. This blog covers our collective history, whether we’re sharing it for only four years while at CSU, for a couple of decades, or for generations. Each of us is a bead in the story of Fort Collins. I encourage you to jump in with thoughts, memories, and stories in the comments section on each post. And if you have a topic that you’d like me to cover more in-depth, email me at meg(at)northerncoloradohistory.com or message me on Google+, Facebook, or Twitter.
My husband and I and our three young children moved to Fort Collins in the summer of 2001 in order to help my mom take care of my dad who had been diagnosed with Picks Disease. (It’s a form of dementia similar to Alzheimers.) I am a teacher by training (having taught high school math for four years in Detroit, Michigan and math, English, and Bible classes in a private school in San Francisco, California) and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed all of the years that I’ve been able to help out in my kids’ classrooms here in Fort Collins. (It’s so much better being the parent helper than being the teacher. I love hanging out with the kids and helping them reach that “a ha!” moment of understanding and discovery. But I don’t have to deal with lesson plans or classroom management.) Now that my kids are all in high school, I’m able to dive into personal pursuits, such as taking on this blog.
As a resident of Old Town, I was involved in the Eastside-Westside discussions of 2012-13 and learned first hand the collaborative nature of our local government. Through the creation of Ordinance 033 and the following repeal attempt, a neighbor and I formed and spearheaded a grassroots organization called Protect Our Old Town Homes (or POOTH, which rhymes with tooth). Through education and advocacy, we hope to protect and maintain the character and community of the Old Town neighborhoods. I also became a member of the Fort Collins Landmark Preservation Commission in January 2014.
I’m also still active in the world of education. I am on the School Accountability Committees for both Lincoln Middle School and Poudre High School. And I am one of the founders of School Advocates for the North End (S.A.N.E.) which advocates for the needs of four of our north end schools (Irish, Putnam, Lincoln, and Poudre) which have the highest free and reduced lunch rates (a commonly used indicator of poverty) of any in the district.
I hope to cover a variety of subjects in my Monday posts ranging from historic buildings to people and events, from fashion and frivolity to culture and tradition. On Thursdays, I’ll be headed to the Archives where I’ll look up old newspapers in order to create “On this day in __fill in a year___” posts. This method of history seeking will give us glimpses of Fort Collins and the nation at various points in time and will also force me to write about topics I might not otherwise have touched upon.
|I used a random number generator to come up with a different year to focus on each Thursday.|
Whether you live in Fort Collins now, were born here and moved away, popped in for a few college years, are only hoping to move to the Choice City, or have been a lifelong resident, you are still a bead on the necklace that we call Fort Collins. Your memories, reflections, opinions, and ideas are all welcome here. It is both the similarity of the beads as well as the uniqueness of each that creates the pattern that gives the necklace beauty.