Souvenir Images of Fort Collins: Part 1

In the last part of the 1800s, a new printing technique known as halftone reproduction was invented. It used dots to simulate the continuous tones of black-and-white photographs by varying the size and spacing of the dots. The first commercial use was a crude halftone image of a hotel in the December 2, 1873 issue of the New York Daily Graphic’s newspaper.

By the turn of the 20th century, halftone reproduction had improved in quality and gone down in price. Halftone reproduction made souvenir books of images a common tourist commodity and Fort Collins wasn’t left behind.

Below is the earliest souvenir book of Fort Collins in my collection.

01 Souvenir Fort Collins Killgore Bookstore B680
Souvenir Book of Fort Collins, Col., 1904. 7” x 5 ¼” Published by John Latimer, Proprietor of the Killgore Bookstore.

Traveling agents from a publishing company, in this case the Albertype Co., of Brooklyn, N.Y., visited bookstores, stationers, and other merchants in small towns and cities. They were trying to commission a series of 10 to 15 local views. If the agent was successful, the images would be selected, halftone printed, and bound in a simple booklet. This example has three punched holes and was apparently bound with red ribbon, though very little of the ribbon remains on my copy.

The souvenir books were cheaply printed and sold for around ten cents per copy. This book was published by John Latimer, who owned the Killgore Bookstore, 105 South College Avenue. According to the local newspapers, Latimer bought the book store in July 1903 and sold it in 1905. In mid to late 1904, Latimer was advertising “Dainty souvenir books and postal card views of Fort Collins.” He was probably advertising this book.

My book has 15 images in it, though, because they are unbound, it is hard to know if I have a full set. All images are of Fort Collins or the college. The most interesting image is a tri-fold street scene of College Avenue and Linden Street.

02 Sov of FC Killgore Trifold B680
Fort Collins, Col., with handwritten caption “College Ave. Linden St,” c. 1904.

Unfolded, the image measures just over 12 inches long, too long for the bed of my scanner. It is 3 1/4 inches wide. The photograph appears to have been taken from the top of the First National Bank, shooting towards the northwest, though I could be wrong.

Below is another image from the book.

03 Sov of FC Killgore High School B680
High School, c. 1903.

This image measures approximately 5 ¼ x 4 inches. Looking at the trees, it seems like the image must have been taken shortly after the high school was built in 1903, on Meldrum Street where the present Lincoln Center stands.

The souvenir book was replaced quickly by the post card folder. Post card sized images were attached accordion fashion to each other and folded into a printed cover. The entire folder was designed so that it could be sealed and mailed as one piece. The postage was very reasonable, one cent or 1 ½ cent stamps were very common.

I have three accordion style postcard folders. Below are scans of the covers and one or two of the images from each of them that I especially liked.

04 Souv Folding Post Card Wood B680
Souvenir Folding Post Card, Fort Collins Series No. 58. Published by Jesse R. Wood, Fort Collins, Colo. 5 ¾” x 4”. C. 1910.

Series No. 58? Can it mean that Jesse R. Wood published 58 different postcard folders of Fort Collins? I think, if true, I would have seen more of them over the years. Unfortunately, I was unable to find any information Wood.

Assuming my set is complete, the folder consists of eight Fort Collins postcards printed only on one side. As you’ll see, many publishers printed images on both sides of the paper. Wood didn’t take the photographs. A number of them, including the YMCA image below, still carry the original photographer’s name – Stephen Seckner, a long time Fort Collins photographer.

05 Souv Folding Post Card Wood YMCA B680
Y. M. C. A. Building, Fort Collins, Colo. Seckner Photos. C. 1910.

I chose this image because I just did a post on the YMCA building and because I love the big dial in front of the car on East Oak Street. The YMCA must have been running a fund raiser and were using this dial to track their progress.

The YMCA opened in 1908 and had electricity service a year or two later. I barely can see the electrical wires on the original image.

Seckner started his photography business around 1880 and was out of the business sometime in 1911. 1910 seems like a close guess for the date the original photograph was taken.

06 FC CO So Folder B680
Fort Collins, Colorado Souvenir Folder.  6” x 4 ¼”.  C.1915.

Here is the second accordion style postcard folder. Unfortunately, there isn’t any information on the publisher or printing company. On the other hand, it has 20 great images of Fort Collins, the college, and the Poudre Canyon. They are printed back to back and are a very nice quality. Notice that the whole package only cost one cent to mail.

I’ve chosen two images to share with you.

07 FC CO So Folder Ammons B680
Ammons Hall, The Woman’s Bldg, C. A. C., Fort Collins, Colo. C. 1925

Ammons Hall at the college has to be one of the schools most photogenic buildings. Someday I’ll do a post on it, using some wonderful interior and exterior images I have in my collection. I’m sure I have nicer images of the building than this but none of them show the in-ground sprinklers.

Originally called the Woman’s Building, it was completed in 1921. It was named Ammons Hall in 1925, so this image (and this set) must have been published after 1925.

08 FC CO So Folder Poudre B680
Scene in Poudre Canyon, near fort Collins, Colo. C. 1913.

I decided to show this image of the Poudre Canyon because I have an original photograph of it. My photograph was used in a newspaper article and is dated August 24, 1913. The image shows how narrow the Poudre Canyon Road was in those early days.

The caption used with the photograph is affixed to my copy but it is incomplete. What I can read says, “The Cache La Poudre Canon on the proposed northern link of the transcontinental highway. [Missing words] character of scenery through which the road passes and the kind of work performed by Colorado convicts.” Of course, the transcontinental highway never passed through the Poudre Canyon.

Here my third accordion folder:

09 FC and PC Souv Folder Sanborn B680
Souvenir Folder of Fort Collins and Poudre Canon, Colo. 6” x 4 ¼”.  Sanborn Souvenir Co., Denver, Colo. C. 1935.
10 FC and PC Souv Folder Sanborn PO B400
Post Office and Sugar Factory, Fort Collins, Colo. C. 1930. Photographs by Sanborn.

The Sanborn Souvenir Co. opened sometime in the 1920s, giving Harold Sanborn, a commercial photographer from Denver, another outlet for the images he made of Colorado and Wyoming. My copy of this souvenir folder has only 10 images in it, printed back to back accordion style. I think it is too few postcards to be a complete set. Three of the ten postcards have two images on them as shown below:


These two images are really hard to date. I think they could have been taken around 1930.

Below is a strange postcard from the same set.





11 FC and PC Souv Folder Sanborn Street B680

View of the Business Section, College Avenue, Ft. Collins, Colo. C. 1930. Original photograph by Sanborn.

The image doesn’t look real. The cars almost look like model cars. Then I remembered seeing a printed colored version of this image in my collection. So here it is:

12 sanborn color street scene
View of the Business Section, College Avenue, Ft. Collins, Colo. Published by Sanborn Souvenir Co. Denver, Colo. C. 1930.

The image in the folder was obviously made from this printed color version of the photograph. Photographs were often simplified when they were made into four-color postcards. You’ll see the simplifications when you look at the original real photo postcard that is shown below.

13 College Ave Sanborn n263 B680
College Avenue Business District, N 263. C. 1930. Photograph by Sanborn.

As you can see, flags, a person, and some signs on the buildings have been removed, probably to make the colorizing process easier. Why Sanborn didn’t use this image as the basis for the image in the souvenir folder is unknown.

Next Sunday, I’ll complete the souvenir folder collection with images from four more folders. I think you’ll enjoy the unusual photographs.

Images of Early Windsor, Colorado – Part 2

As explained in Images of Early Windsor, Colorado – Part 1, the opening of the sugar beet plant in 1903 dramatically and quickly changed the town. Between the 1900 and 1910 U. S. Census, the population of Windsor soared from 305 to 1,780 residents. To meet the needs of the growing population, a high school, the Park School, was built on the southwestern corner of Walnut and Third Streets. The original two-story structure was completed in 1905.

By 1909, the Park School was too small and a new wing and a third floor were added to the high school. The enlarged school was ready in early 1910. Below is a photograph of Park School shortly after the work was completed.

Park School, Windsor, Colorado’s High School. Postmarked 1911.

An online document has this architectural description of the school:

“The 1910 Park School . . . is a Colonial revival styled, three-story building of stone construction with an irregular rectangular plan, multiple roof, half-sunk basement, and two identical arched entrances. The stone walls feature rough-cut, irregular coursed stone from a local quarry, the roof is finished with asphalt shakes, and the foundation consists of concrete.”

The Park School was converted to a grade school in 1918 with the construction of a new high school. It was closed in the late 1970s and converted to the Town Hall in the 1980s. Below is a “now” photo of the Park School as the Town Hall.

Windsor Town Hall, February 3, 2017.

Shortly after the conversion of the Park School to a grade school, the school board voted on the construction of a junior high school. While I couldn’t find much on the building, I believe this may be a photograph of the 1921 junior high, circa 1925.

Junior High School, Windsor, Colo. c. 1925.

The rapid growth of the early 1900s also demanded a permanent place to house city offices and records. The Town Hall, located at 116 5th Street, was constructed in 1909 to meet these needs. It was the center of town activity for over 60 years.

City Hall, New Windsor, Colo. C. 1910

This image of the new town building was probably made shortly after construction. Notice the hitching posts in front of the building. Certainly horses and the hitching posts would have been gone before 1920.

The Windsor Town Hall made it onto the National Register of Historic Places in 1998. It is one of two Windsor buildings listed on the Register. The other is the Windsor Milling and Elevator Company, covered in Images of Early Windsor, Colorado – Part 1.

The application for National Register listing included the following information:

“The building was built at an original cost of $7,500. The first floor housed the council chamber, clerk’s office, the records, and the fire fighting equipment and sleeping quarters for the firemen. The first floor also housed the police magistrate and the town jail. The second floor was unfinished until 1921 and then was used as an auditorium and meeting place for various organizations. . . . The community library was housed there from 1948 until 1961. The town vacated the building in 1984.”

City Hall, Windsor, Colo. with Fire Truck. C. 1930

As this image proves, any building looks better with a fire truck. The photograph was probably taken around 1930. The building looks much like it did when it was first built. The hitching posts are gone, the trim is light rather than dark, and the double equipment door has been lowered, eliminating the transom windows.

The Register of Historic Places application includes some information on fire equipment that may help to date this image.

“The Fire Department was located in the Town Hall from 1909 to 1963 when the department built a building of its own. At first a fire wagon was housed there. By 1916 a used motorized fire truck was purchased and stored in the Town Hall. Nine years later [1925] that truck was replaced by a more modern one that was itself replaced in 1941.”

I think this truck is most likely the truck purchased in 1925, though I’m not sure. Here is a close up of the vehicle.

Close-up Fire Truck at City Hall, c. 1930

The building now houses the Windsor Art and Heritage Center and looks very much like it did in 1930.

Finally, below is a great image of a music room.

Music Room. Postmarked 1907 from New Windsor, Colo.

I hope someone can tell me if this is a room in Windsor, CO. It is postmarked New Windsor but the message on the back isn’t helpful. It reads, “Guess you’ll recognize this room.” Do you?

Next week it’s back to Fort Collins to look at images of the Woeber Interurban streetcars.