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Fort Collins is no Mecca of architecture, and yet we do have a nice array of styles, ages, and artistry represented in our built environment. Some of these cultural artifacts have met the wrecking ball and are with us only in faded photographs and stories. But others still stand, and continue to be used today. The more we know about our architectural resources, the more we’ll appreciate what we have as a community.

Though buildings are owned by individuals or organizations, by their nature they are also, in a way, owned communally in the sense that they embody the history and culture of our community. When a building of import is knocked down or substantially changed, the effect falls not only upon the owner, but upon all who live, work, shop, or play around that building. There is an interconnectedness between ourselves and our built environment that transcends ownership. That relationship is often referred to as “a sense of place.”

Having a sense of place adds authenticity to an area. Although buildings in other cities might share similar adornments, building materials, and overall styles, if you were to see a picture of the Old Firehouse, the old Linden Hotel or even the Key Bank building, you’d know immediately that you were looking at a photo of a Fort Collins building because they are unique to our community.

My goal in this post is to give a sense of the breadth of our historic Fort Collins architecture. I won’t be able to cover every building that fits within a specific style of architecture. And for each building I mention, there is soooo much more I could dig into in terms of style, history, succession of owners, etc. But we’re going to have to save all that for another day. Today’s post is going wide, not deep, and will include very brief descriptions with lots and lots of photos. It will hopefully be a feast for the eyes and a chance to revel in the sense of place that makes up our Fort Collins.

Art Deco

The Fort Collins Power Plant (401 N. College Ave.) was built in 1936 by the Burns and McDonell Engineering firm. It includes a WPA Art Deco fountain that was added in 1936.

The Fort Collins Power Plant (401 N. College Ave.) was built in 1936 by the Burns and McDonell Engineering firm. It includes a WPA Art Deco fountain that was added in 1936.

This 1946 Art Deco house (237 West Street) sits nestled among bungalows in the Capitol Hill Neighborhood.

This 1946 Art Deco house (237 West Street) sits nestled among bungalows in the Capitol Hill Neighborhood.

Built in 1940, this office building was originally Zoric Nu-Life Laundry, which boasted "newest and most modern plant. One day service, cash and carry prices."

Built in 1940, this office building was originally Zoric Nu-Life Laundry, which boasted being the “newest and most modern plant. One day service, cash and carry prices.” (210 E. Oak)

The Northern Hotel underwent a remodel in 1924 that gave it the Art Deco facade we know today. I would include the old Forestry building at 148 Remington in the list of Art Deco buildings. And the house across from Rocky Mountain High School that I mentioned in my recent West Central Neighborhoods post is also Art Deco. You’ll note that they look somewhat different from each other, even though I’m grouping them all under the same style. Within each umbrella style are distinct sub-categories. I’ll be lumping buildings into more general umbrella categories.

Beaux Arts

The Masonic Temple was built in 1925.

The Masonic Temple was built in 1925.

Simon Guggenheim Hall of Household Arts was built on campus in 1911. The full height portico supported on columns creates a classical look.

Simon Guggenheim Hall of Household Arts was built on campus in 1911. The full height portico supported on columns creates a classical look.

Classical Revival

The Commercial Bank & Trust Company was built in 1907 and may be the only remaining example in Fort Collins of the Classical Revival style of architecture. The building's architect was Arthur Garbutt.

The Commercial Bank & Trust Company was built in 1907 and may be the only remaining example in Fort Collins of the Classical Revival style of architecture. The building’s architect was Arthur Garbutt.

Colonial Revival

1220 South College was built in the Colonial Revival style in 1920. It was built by Edward Munroe, who made his money raising livestock. Note the flat roofed portico and large columns.

1220 South College was built in the Colonial Revival style in 1920. It was built by Edward Munroe, who made his money raising livestock. Note the flat roofed portico and large columns. This building now houses Encore Bridal shop.

When the old Fort Collins High School at 1400 Remington was first built, people thought it was too far away from the center of town.

When the old Fort Collins High School at 1400 Remington was first built, people thought it was too far away from the center of town. This building now houses the University Center for the Arts.

Craftsman/Bungalow

The Edmonds house was built between 1908 and 1913. The one and half story house has a characteristic wide front porch, multi-paned windows, and eave brackets.

The Edmonds house was built between 1908 and 1913. The one and half story house has a characteristic wide front porch, multi-paned windows, and eave brackets. (809 E. Elizabeth)

This modest bungalow at 708 W. Oak was recently featured in Time Magazine.

This modest bungalow at 708 W. Oak was recently featured in Time Magazine.

Bungalows are a popular style of architecture in Old Town. Several new developments in town have borrowed from this style including the Bennett Road Bungalows (right across from the school) and the Bellweather Farm neighborhood off of West Vine Drive.

Dutch Colonial Revival

120 E. Buckeye sits just across from the old Fort Collins High School with a view of the CSU flower gardens.

120 E. Buckeye sits just across from the old Fort Collins High School with a view of the CSU flower gardens. Lawrence and Ethel Temple were the original owners.

1417 S .College, built in 1924, was originally the home of Clark Alford.

1417 S .College, built in 1924, was originally the home of Clark Alford, a college professor and also mayor of Fort Collins.

1421 S. College was built in 1928 by Fred Larimer, auto sales manager.

1421 S. College was built in 1928 by Fred Larimer, auto sales manager.

Edwardian Vernacular

316 W. Mountain was built in 1901 by Franklin Avery for his son, Edgar, as a wedding present.

316 W. Mountain was built in 1901 by Franklin Avery for his son, Edgar, as a wedding present.

509 S. Howes was built in 1904 by building contractor and city fire chief, Rob Roy McGregor.

509 S. Howes was built in 1904 by building contractor and city fire chief, Rob Roy McGregor.

608 S. Howes was built in 1901 by George and Margaret Glover.

608 S. Howes was built in 1901 by George and Margaret Glover.

English-Norman Cottage

608 S. College was built in 1946 by Mary Hill.

608 S. College was built in 1946 by Mary Hill.

1315 Remington Street was originally the home of Howard Hunter who built this unusual version of an English-Norman Cottage (with fake thatched roof) in 1930.

1315 Remington Street was originally the home of Howard Hunter who built this unusual version of an English-Norman Cottage (with fake thatched roof) in 1930.

Googie

The unusually shaped building at 222 Laporte was originally part of the Poudre Valley Creamery. This building is sometimes known as the Butterfly Building because of its shape. It may be the only example of Googie architecture in Fort Collins. The buildings around it are slated for demolition. The Butterfly Building is planned to be saved, but a decision hasn't yet been made on whether it will remain in this location or be moved.

The unusually shaped building at 222 Laporte was originally part of the Poudre Valley Creamery. This building is sometimes known as the Butterfly Building because of its shape. It may be the only example of Googie architecture in Fort Collins. The buildings around it are slated for demolition. The Butterfly Building is planned to be saved, but a decision hasn’t yet been made on whether it will remain in this location or be moved.

Gothic Revival

The Franklin and Sarah Avery House was built in stages, starting in 1879. It is currently a house museum.

The Franklin and Sara Avery House was built in stages, starting in 1879. It is currently a house museum.

The German Evangelical Congregational church at the corner of Oak and Whedbee was built in 1904 and was designed by Montezuma Fuller.

The German Evangelical Congregational church at the corner of Oak and Whedbee was built in 1904 and was designed by Montezuma Fuller.

The First Baptist congregation built this stone structure in 1903-04, replacing a smaller brick church building. An addition on the east side was added in 1912. There also used to be a steeple which was probably removed in the 1940s.

The First Baptist congregation built this stone structure in 1903-04, replacing a smaller brick church building. An addition on the east side was added in 1912. There also used to be a steeple which was probably removed in the 1940s.

Italianate

137 Mathews was built in 1879 for Josiah McIntyre, a blind Civil War veteran who later became the first person to get a law degree in Larimer County. The building was recently subdivided into two residential units.

137 Mathews was built in 1879 for Josiah McIntyre, a blind Civil War veteran who later became the first person to get a law degree in Larimer County. The building was recently subdivided into two residential units.

The house that Abner Loomis (for whom the Loomis Addition and Loomis Avenue are named) built in 1885 was also in the Italianate style, but that house was razed to make room for a large Safeway building. A future post will talk about some of the beautiful buildings that Fort Collins has lost to the wrecking ball. But if you can’t wait, Wayne Sundberg has a video that’s available through the Poudre River Public Library District entitled The Wrecking Ball of Progress. I highly recommend it.

Jacobean/Elizabethan

1413 S. College was built in 1926 by professor Emil Sandsten.

1413 S. College was built in 1926 by professor Emil Sandsten.

The steep gable over the doorway, heavy stone around the door, and other decorative features make this apartment building really stand out along Mathews street. I'm a little confused, however, by this photo in the Larimer County Water Ways collection which appears to show this same building with an Art Deco construction.

The steep gable over the doorway, heavy stone around the door, and other decorative features make this apartment building really stand out along Mathews street. I’m a little confused, however, by this photo in the Larimer County Water Ways collection which appears to show this same building with an Art Deco construction.

Mediterranean Revival

Though I haven't eaten at a Taco Bell in decades, I've got to admit that I send a little love out to the Taco Bell corporation every time I drive by 1530 S. College. Their reuse of this old Mediterranean Revival house warms the cockles of my heart. The house was built in 1929 by R. Irl Mawson.

Though I haven’t eaten at a Taco Bell in decades, I’ve got to admit that I send a little love out to the Taco Bell corporation every time I drive by 1530 S. College. Their reuse of this old Mediterranean Revival house warms the cockles of my heart. The house was built in 1929 by R. Irl Mawson.

Mission

Fuller Flats was built by Montezuma Fuller, one of Fort Collins' early architects. The property at 228 W. Magnolia is still used as apartments today.

Fuller Flats was built by Montezuma Fuller, one of Fort Collins’ early architects. The property at 228 W. Magnolia is still used as apartments today.

Neo-Classical Revival

Originally owned by H. L. Daily in 1906, the house at 318 E. Oak St. was sold to Charles Blunck, a sheep rancher, and remained in the Blunck family until 1953.

Originally owned by H. L. Daily in 1906, the house at 318 E. Oak St. was sold to Charles Blunck, a sheep rancher, and remained in the Blunck family until 1953.

Queen Anne

The Montezuma Fuller house, at 226 W. Magnolia, is located right next to the Fuller Flats. Montezuma Fuller was an early architect in Fort Collins designing houses, churches, school buildings and businesses in Fort Collins, Greeley, Denver and other Colorado locations.

The Montezuma Fuller house, at 226 W. Magnolia, is located right next to the Fuller Flats. Montezuma Fuller was an early architect in Fort Collins designing houses, churches, school buildings and businesses in Fort Collins, Greeley, Denver and other Colorado locations.

This Queen Anne residence at 117 S. Whitcomb is one of a set of four brick houses along the west side of the street. Similar Queen Anne style wood frame houses were built directly across the street making a matched set of 8 houses. Of these, 7 remain and, along with other historic houses on the street, form the Whitcomb Street Historic District which was formed in 2012.

This Queen Anne residence at 117 S. Whitcomb is one of a set of four brick houses along the west side of the street. Similar Queen Anne style wood frame houses were built directly across the street making a matched set of 8 houses. Of these, 7 remain and, along with other historic houses on the street, form the Whitcomb Street Historic District which was formed in 2012.

This highly ornate Queen Anne sits just north of the Main library at 324 E. Oak.

This highly ornate East Lake Queen Anne sits just north of the Main library at 324 E. Oak.

The Queen Anne style is what people often mean when they use the term “Victorian” to describe architecture. (“Victorian” is an umbrella term that covers several styles of architecture.) As you can tell from the description of the house above, even within in the subgroups of “Victorian” are further subgroups.

Renaissance Revival

The old Post Office building at 201 S. College is the only building that the city of Fort Collins has ever granted individual landmark designation to without first having received a petition from the owner of the building.

The old Post Office at 201 S. College is the only building that the city of Fort Collins has ever granted individual landmark designation to without first having received a petition from the owner of the building. It may also be the only example of Renaissance Revival architecture in the city.

Romanesque

The Avery Block is made up of three joined buildings. The first to be built was located at the corner of Mountain and Linden Streets and housed the First National Bank. It features Romanesque columns.

The Avery Block is made up of three joined buildings. The first to be built was located at the corner of Mountain and Linden Streets and housed the First National Bank. It features Romanesque columns.

Second Empire or Mansard Style

W. C. Dilts built this Mansard style house in 1889 at 514 Remington Street.

W. C. Dilts built this Mansard style house in 1889 at 514 Remington Street.

Shingle

This Victorian house, built in 1895 by Jay Bouton, features Shingle architecture. 113 N. Sherwood.

This Victorian house, built in 1895 by Jay Bouton, features Shingle architecture. (113 N. Sherwood)

Spanish Colonial Revival

Saint Joseph's School was built in 1925.

Saint Joseph’s School was built in 1925.

James McCormick built this house at 1520 S. College in 1925. Synergetics, Inc. is now located in the building.

James McCormick built this house at 1520 S. College in 1925. Synergetics, Inc. is now located in the building.

Tudor Revival

1504 Remington is a classic example of Tudor Revival architecture.

1504 Remington is a classic example of Tudor Revival architecture.

This post only skims the surface of Fort Collins’ architectural heritage. Some forms of architecture are no longer available to view in our town because the only buildings that bore those styles have been torn down and replaced with new construction or parking lots. There are also several newer, and yet still historic, styles, that I wasn’t able to cover in this post. (The Key Bank building and the Wells Fargo Building at College and Magnolia come to mind.)

Fort Collins grew out of humble beginnings. Though several building forms have been represented here, most are simplified versions of the style. As the city grows both in size and wealth, some of these architectural styles are seeing renewed favor, yet you may notice that the new buildings are often more complex than the older versions. In this way, even when similar styles are made new again, the older buildings still embody a previous time and circumstance for our city. These buildings are tangible artifacts of our city’s origins and growth. Preserving them enables us to literally walk among the history of our city.

 

Next week we’ll be looking forward to the grand opening of the MAX transit system and the Bike Library at the Downtown Transit Center. But here at Forgotten Fort Collins we’ll also be looking back to what Mason street used to look like in days gone by.

 

Sources for this article:

I used History Colorado’s list of Colorado architecture as the framework for this post. If you’d like to learn more about specific styles of local architecture, this would be a good place to start.

I used several resources for information about building dates, styles, and original owners. I pulled most heavily from the architectural histories that are posted on the Fort Collins History Connection website. I specifically used the articles covering 1877-1900, 1900 – 1919, and 1919 – 1941. I occasionally referred to the Larimer County Assessor website. And I perused the nomination forms for the Old Town History District ( National Register of Historic Places nomination form for Old Town Fort Collins – pdf) and the Whitcomb District (document on file with Fort Collins Planning, Development & Transportation Services).

Information on Zoric Nu-Life Laundry (210 E. Oak) from the Larimer County Waterways website.

In the Hallowed Halls of Learning (pdf), a history of the schools in the Poudre School District, gave added information regarding the old Fort Collins High School.

Getting to Know Fort Collins (pdf), is a neat little document detailing the architecture of several of Fort Collins prominent landmarks. I used it to get information on the old First Baptist church at the corner of Remington and Magnolia.

I was able to view a part of Thomas J. Noel’s book, Guide to Colorado Historic Places: Sites Funded by the State Historical Fund, thanks to Google Books. I used this to get a little more back ground info. on the Fort Collins Power building.

Colorado Info. has a handy flyer that lists several historic downtown buildings.

 

Additional Resources Worth Checking Out:

Cat’s Lost Fort Collins post about the WPA Fountain at the old Fort Collins Power Plant. Also a post by Cat, here’s one on the Poudre Valley Creamery Building. I sure miss Cat’s posts on Lost Fort Collins.

Maggie previously wrote about her visit to the Avery House: Tour the home of Franklin and Sarah Avery. She also has a great post on the history of the German churches: Germans from Russia’s Churches, and their Congregations Today

History Colorado has a biography of Montezuma Fuller that includes a list of all the buildings he was involved in building.

And this History Colorado document lists several historically landmarked buildings within Larimer county.

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