The Fort Collins Courier announced a new restaurant in an article dated July 15, 1880. The building was owned and operated by A. B. Ogden and built by Perry Harrington for $1,700.

The Cornucopia Restaurant, c. 1881.

“The [Cornucopia Restaurant] is the name given to the elegant ice cream parlor, opened last Friday, by our energetic townsmen, Mr. A. B. Ogden. It is situated on College Avenue, opposite the Commercial [Hotel], in the tasty brick block just finished by the proprietor. . . . the bill of fare embraces ice cream, with all the different flavors, and frozen fruits of different kinds. A soda fountain has been put in place, and a fine stock of confectionaries and fancy groceries will be carried. . . . No young gent can feel exactly right until he has invited his Duleinea [Don Quixote’s love] to partake of it. If he fails to, he should be immediately ‘bounced.'”

The Commercial Hotel was the predecessor to the Northern Hotel. The Cornucopia Restaurant’s address, after a very early street numbering change, was 169 North College Avenue.

A. B. Ogden was born in Illinois in 1845 and arrived in Fort Collins in 1878, with his wife, Harriet Giddings Ogden. He quickly got into the ice cream business. An article, from the June 24, 1880 Courier, mentioned him when describing a festival held at St. Luke’s Church. “The ice cream was made by Mr. Ogden and many were the praises bestowed on him.” When he died in 1917, his interest included “livestock, farming, real estate, contracting and diversified affairs.” He also served for a few years as city marshal.

I believe this photograph only shows a half of the new building. The building extends to the left, though I’ve had trouble determining exactly how far. As you’ll see in some later images, it is hard to tell if the building had five or six second floor windows. Here’s a close-up showing the front of the building, from the above photograph.

Cornucopia Restaurant Close-up, c. 1881

The back of the image carries the date 1879 but the lamp post that is front and center was mentioned in an October 14, 1880 article in the Courier. “Ogden, of the Cornucopia Restaurant, has set up a magnificent street lamp before his door.” The new lamp post might have been the occasion for this photograph, but, for sure, the image dates after this addition and after 1879.

Man Standing Near Door, Cornucopia Restaurant, c. 1881

Who the man is in the photograph? It would make sense if it were A. B. Ogden. Ogden would have been around 36 when this photograph was taken, which seems right for the man in the photograph.

On the other hand, on the back of this image is this penciled caption, “Grandpa Haggerty buried at Fort Wayne, Ind.” It seems that this caption must be for the man in the photograph. An Otis E. Haggerty, who was born in Indiana, was living in Fort Collins in 1880, according to the 1880 US Census. His occupation was listed as “Teamster.” Unfortunately, he would have been 18 or 19 when this photograph was taken and, while the close-up of the man isn’t great, he doesn’t appear that to me to be that young.

While called a restaurant, the Cornucopia was originally an ice cream shop, but that quickly changed. A Courier article, dated October 20, 1881, told about the change and included a detailed description of the interior.

“The Cornucopia Restaurant, for neatness and attractiveness, would be a credit to any city. The dining room has been considerably enlarged, and the walls hung with paper of pleasing hues and appropriate designs. A large number of marble-top private dining tables have been added to the furniture of the room, which is richly carpet, making it one of the coziest and most delightful places to sit down for a quiet meal imaginable. . . . The bakery in connection . . . is new and in charge of experienced first-class workmen.”

A week later, a reporter summed up the restaurant by saying, “The Cornucopia Restaurant is a daisy!”

My guess is that this image was taken after the expansion to a full restaurant. Though hard to see, the left window says “Cornucopia” and the right widow says “Restaurant.” I think it may also says “Cornucopia Restaurant” on the top section of the lamp post. It doesn’t seem that an ice cream shop would have been called a restaurant. Also, the fence advertises the bakery, which according to the newspaper article, was new in the 1881 expansion. So, all things considered, I think this photograph was taken after October 20, 1881.

Between 1881 and 1904, the restaurant changed proprietors at least a dozen times, but always keeping the Cornucopia Restaurant name. Two other restaurants would take its place for extended periods of time. The first was the Wano Cafe.

Wano Cafe, 1924. Courtesy of the University Historic Photograph Collection, Colorado State University, Neg. 4277.

The Wano Cafe was open by 1909, since they were running ads for waitresses in the local newspapers, and was open under this name until sometime around 1930. This image of the Wano, courtesy of CSU, was taken on July 24, 1924.

The Wano Cafe sign is on the section of the building shown in the 1881 image. You can see, in the Wano image, how the building extends to the south. By the way, the building shown to the north of the Wano Cafe is now Old Town Art and Framery. It was built in 1881 by the Perry Harrington, the same man who built the Cornucopia, and, in the earliest article I found, was called the Owen’s Block. You can see that Harrington’s two buildings look similar, causing a lot of confusion for me as I researched my image.

The rest of the story comes from a Historic Building Inventory, completed by James Marmor in October 1996.

The Nu Pheasant Cafe took the place of the Wano Cafe in 1931. It was replaced by the Clark’s Cafe in the early to mid 1930s. Here’s a photograph of Clark’s Cafe.

Clark’s Cafe, 1947.

Thanks to the Spencer Tracy movie at the American, this photograph can be precisely dated to 1947.

The Clark Cafe had a long run, serving Fort Collins until the early 1950s, when Sears Roebuck and Company occupied the space lower space and the upper story, the Clark’s Hotel, came under new ownership as the Briggs Apartment.

In 1966 a major remodeling was completed and, it’s believed, that’s when a new facade was applied over the Cornucopia and the building to the south of it. The building to the south of the Cornucopia got its start as Theodore Vogle’s barber shop in July, 1881. The result of the remodeling was the Briggs Building, shown below in a photograph I took in 2007.

Briggs Building, 2007. Image by M. E. McNeill

Unfortunately, all that may remain of the wonderful Cornucopia Restaurant is this 1881 photograph.

For another article on this block, view this post in Forgotten Fort Collins by Meg Dunn.

Then & Now: The intersection of Laporte Ave, Walnut St, and College Ave.

Next Sunday, I’ll share an iconic image of Fort Collins and CSU from the late 1880s.



5 thoughts on “The Cornucopia Restaurant and the Wano and Clark’s Cafes

  1. Wow! When I saw the original photo I just assumed it was of the Old Town Art and Framery. I never would have guessed this was Hodi’s! I’ve always wondered what Hodi’s used to look like. I knew it was an old building. (It’s on the 1886 Sanborn map.)

    There’s still brick on the inside, so it’s possible that there’s still some remaining historic fabric. I wonder how much remains under the (dare I say, hideous?!) facade.


  2. When I decided to post this image, one of the first things I did was to go to Old Town Art and Framery to take a “now” photograph. I was sure it was the Cornucopia. I even gave Marcy, the owner of Old Town Art and Framery, a high resolution scan of the early picture of her building. Pretty embarrassing.


  3. Julian…Thank you! I try to mix up my posts, doing one on Fort Collins and then one on another town or the Poudre Canyon or on CSU, etc. Most of my 19th century images are of Fort Collins. Fort Collins was the population center in the area and the only place an early photographer had a chance of making a living. I’ll try to do another old building in the next few weeks.


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