At the end of the Shipler post, I wished for the ability to read the sign that was vaguely visible over the horses. Lesley Struc, the Fort Collins Archivist, left a comment saying that she thought the sign might say “meat market.” That led to some more work in Photoshop in an effort to get more of the sign visible. Below is the result.
Though certainly not 100 percent conclusive, it looks like Lesley is right.
A search of the online newspapers for the 1877 period found two meat markets, the Schang Meat Market on Linden Street, and J. B. Fletcher’s Stone Meat Market on College Avenue. The building in the photograph looks like it is made of stone, so we are probably looking at the back of the Stone Meat Market.
Lesley was able to find a newspaper article, “Fort Collins as it Appeared To a Stranger 40 Years Ago” by Ansel Watrous, which ran in the Fort Collins Express, November 28, 1918. This means Watrous was looking back at Fort Collins as it was in 1878, close to the time of this photograph. Watrous places Fletcher’s Stone Meat Market “north of Mountain avenue, on the east side of College avenue.” An 1886 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map shows a meat market still in that location, though by 1886 it was clad in bricks.
Assuming all this is correct, James Shipler was probably on Linden Street, in what is now the pedestrian mall area, when he was photographing his sister-in-law and her two children. He was shooting down Linden Street, towards Mountain Avenue. Now we can add some details, hopefully correct ones, to the caption of this photograph, as shown below: