I’m Mac McNeill and I’ve collected images of Fort Collins and the surrounding area for a dozen years or more, around 1,500 images so far. Someday I’ll donate the entire collection to the Local History Archive at the Fort Collins Museum of Discovery but, for now, I’ll share them with you. (See the “About Me” tab for more information on me and my collection.)
The heart of the collection, around 40 percent, is images of Fort Collins. You’ll see street scenes like this one, looking up Linden Street from College Avenue, which we can date from the sign on the trolley to September 2, 1922, but you’ll also see photographs of people, places, businesses, and events. At times I’ll do a “then and now” pair, and at times I’ll post an image that I don’t understand, hoping that someone out there does.
The college has always been a big part of the Fort Collins community and it is a big part of my collection, around 20 percent of my images. You’ll see that I love the buildings around the oval, but I also like the Quonset huts that were there just after World War II and the things students did, from protesting to seeing how many of them can fit in a car, and this image of sheep on the campus in 1940, with, I think, the Weber Building on the right side of the image. The Weber, or math building, is located on the west side of the oval.
The Poudre Canyon is Fort Collins’ playground and a destination for photographers since the 1880s. These two images of Arrowhead Lodge, taken circa 1950, are by Mark Miller, a longtime Fort Collins’ photographer and the subject of the first book I wrote with Barbara Fleming, Fort Collins: The Miller Photographers. You’ll see I like Miller’s work but you’ll also see I love the images by iconic early photographers like G. T. Wilkins, Stephen Seckner, Edward Bunn, and H. C. Brady. Images of the canyon are about 15 percent of my collection.
I try to match the images I collect with the collecting interests of the Fort Collins archive. The archive is interested in much of Larimer County, but they don’t want to duplicate work going on in Loveland and Estes Park, for example. So I collect images of the smaller towns around Fort Collins, including Livermore, Red Feather Lakes, Timnath and Wellington, and some of the towns that have disappeared, like Log Cabin and Manhattan. You’ll see images like this one of Johnstown, Colorado, with beet wagons in the street, between the blacksmith shop and the saloon, postmarked January 1909. You’ll also see that I like images that tell the stories of the early industries, especially the sugar beet industry and the oil and gas exploration of the 1920s.
Let me end this first post with one more image.
That’s a 36-ton Sherman tank that accidently drove onto a parked sedan, on the south end of the Colorado A & M campus, during a parade on August 28, 1948. The Coloradoan commented, “No contest – something had to give and it definitely wasn’t the tank.”
I showed this image to my son, who lives here in Fort Collins, and he said, “You need to get some of these images online.” Well, here’s the start. I hope you’ll stay with me through the process.
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