Poudre Canyon: The Glen Echo Resort

A few weeks ago, I did a post entitled “Poudre Canyon: The Rustic House and Resort.” The Rustic was one of the earliest hotels and resorts in the upper Poudre Canyon, opening in 1880. A neighbor, the Glen Echo Resort, moved in just to its west in 1921.

Glen Echo, on land which once belonged to pioneer settler Norman Fry, was for a time the headquarters for the Racine Mining, Milling and Power Company. The property, after the Racine headquarters building had burned down, was purchased by John and Carrie Cook and H.L and Edith Harris. By 1921, it housed a small store.

The first mention I could find of Glen Echo was a two paragraph article in the December 11, 1921, Fort Collins Courier:

“Glen Echo is just the beginning of a summer resort owned by Mr. and Mrs. H. L. Harris and Mr. and Mrs. John F. Cook. They are all making their homes at Glen Echo which joins the property of the Rustic. . . . In fact, people often think Glen Echo belongs to the Rustic, as it is so near the hotel.

“Messrs. Cook and Harris are building a barn, ice house and garage for four cars. They will serve meals and rent cottages in the coming summer and run a general store at Glen Echo. It will be a pleasant place to spend a few weeks during the warm months.”

Like the Rustic, the original store was located on the north side of the road and, like the Rustic; it was moved across the road to the south side. According to Stanley Case, the original store building was hauled across the road by two teams of horses, probably in 1924 or 1925. Once in position on the east side of the canyon road, the store was joined by four rental accommodations, initially wooden platforms with tents.

The Cooks and Harris lost the property during the depression and by early 1931 Glen Echo was sold to Herman Welter, who would own it for a number of years. Welter quickly added an addition on the back of the store as his living area and painted and generally fixed up the place. He also added five rental cabins. Below is an image of Glen Echo, from this period, along with a close-up of the store and cabins.

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Glen Echo, c. 1933. Photograph by Mark Miller.
02 Glen Echo c1929 Closeup B680
Glen Echo Close-Up, c. 1933, Photograph by Mark Miller.

Mark Miller was a long-time Fort Collins photographer who enjoyed working in the canyon. Many of the Poudre images we have were taken by Miller.

Below is a later Miller photograph of the resort.

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Glen Echo, 1937. Photograph by Mark Miller.

As you can see, Welter has refinished the building a darker color, added a front awning, and a much bigger Glen Echo sign. Also, in much smaller letters, it says “Herman Walter’s Place” over the Glen echo sign. He now also has a gasoline pump in front of the store.

The two cars on the south side of the road are believed to be 1936 Fords, while the nearer auto is probably a 1935 Pontiac. The image is so sharp that the license plate on the Pontiac is readable. It is a 1937 Colorado plate, giving us a solid date for the photograph.

Case tells a story in his book, The Poudre: A Photo History, that Welter guaranteed that every guest would catch their limit of fish, even if he had to occasionally help. Welter was an excellent fisherman and was nicknamed “the blue heron.”

Herman Welter sold the property to Earl and Elizabeth (Dolly) Stonemets in 1946. They built a new store that completely enveloped the old store. They also put on an extension to the east. Here’s what the Stonemets’ version of the Glen Echo store looked like circa 1950.

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Glen Echo, 1950. Photograph by Mark Miller.

The beautiful automobile parked at the store is a 1949 Buick Super. Below are two images of the interior, from this same period.

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Glen Echo Resort Store Interior, c. 1950. Photograph by Mark Miller.

Unfortunately, the people in the photograph aren’t identified. Forced to guess, I would pick Earl Stonemets as the man in the tie and Dolly as the lady behind the ice cream counter. If any of you know for sure, please contact me.

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Glen Echo Resort Dining Room, c. 1950. Photograph by Mark Miller.

The cabins, of course, were important to the success of the resort. Miller made a number of photographs of the cabins. I’ve picked two of them to share.

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Glen Echo Cabins, Postmarked 1946. Photograph by Mark Miller.
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Glen Echo Cabin #1, c. 1950. Photograph by Mark Miller.

When Miller took this photograph, circa 1950, it was the most important and historic cabin at the resort. Notice the outhouse to the right and rear of the cabin. Called Cabin # 1, it was the Cooks’ home when they started the resort back in 1921. Around 1931, when Herman Welter added a living quarters to the back of the store, the building became a rental cabin for large parties. It served guests until 1984 when it was taken down to make room for a laundry and a recreation center.

In April 2003 the main building burned down; it was replaced a few years later and still offers a restaurant, store, cabins and campsites.  Here’s a recent photograph I took of the Glen Echo store.

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Glen Echo Store, June 5, 2017. Photograph by M. E. McNeill.

Centrally located on Highway 14, at almost 100 years old, Glen Echo is still serving guests visiting the Poudre Canyon. I hope the current owners, Dean & Tami Mazzuca and Dan & Denice Anderson, are planning a big celebration for 2021.

Vietnam Protesters and the Burning of Old Main

The spring of 1970 was a time of student unrest at Colorado State University and across the country. Student demonstrations, building sit-ins, and firebrand speakers were common. One of those speakers was Abbie Hoffman.

01 Abbie Hoffman April 1970 CO-6_206_05 B600
 Abbie Hoffman Speaking at CSU, April 7, 1970. Courtesy Fort Collins Archive.

Hoffman, one of the Chicago Seven who disrupted the 1968 Democrat National Convention, was a well-known activist speaker. A crowd of 2,000 awaited him as he entered the Student Center, stood on his head on the stage, blew his nose on an American flag handkerchief, and said that he believed “in the violation of every law including the law of gravity.” In a speech filled with obscenities, he predicted “a long hot summer and a burning fall and winter.” For CSU the “burning” would come sooner than predicted.

Within one month of Hoffman’s speech, two national events would incite strikes and violence across the country’s schools. The first event occurred on April 30, 1970, when President Richard Nixon announced that U. S. ground forces were going to enter Cambodia. The expansion of the hated war led to campus protests including a multiday protest at Kent State University, in Kent, OH. Demonstrations were held, the Kent State Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC), a frequent target of war demonstrators, was burned down, and threats were made against town businesses. The Ohio National Guard was called in and on Tuesday, May 4, they fired into a crowd of 2,000 student protesters, killing four students and wounding nine more. Campuses around the country erupted, including CSU.

CSU students and some of the faculty immediately began a moratorium, boycotting classes and holding antiwar rallies. A highlight of the event was a speech by Ralph Abernathy, the President of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, who gave an antiwar/antiracism address to 1,400 CSU students on Wednesday afternoon, May 6. He supported the students in their call for a class boycott and criticized the CSU administration for their involvement in Vietnam and in racism.

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Students at Demonstration Event, CSU. May 1970. Courtesy of the University Historic Photograph Collection, Colorado State University.

Rallies, like the one shown above, were held on the Student Center Plaza and a group of more than 2,000 persons marched to the Fort Collins City Hall to elicit anti-war support from local officials. Of course, not all the students supported the war protests and the disruption of classes and many Fort Collins residents thought the protesters had gone too far. Some counter-protests were held like this parade by the American Legion.

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American Legion Counter-Protest, May 1970. Courtesy of the University Historic Photograph Collection, Colorado State University.

This photograph was taken in front of the Campus Shop, which was located on the northwest corner of Laurel Street and College Avenue. Barbara Fleming wrote about the Campus Shop in the Coloradoan just a week or two ago. Below is a link to her article:


On the evening of May 8 the College Avenue Field House was the location of a debate and vote  on a possible student strike and the Gymnasium was given over to a special moratorium concert. These activities remained singularly free of violence until late Friday evening, when, with the concert in progress, one or more arsonists set fire to Old Main and unsuccessfully attempted to burn down the R.O.T.C. Firing Range Building as well.

Here is a series of five photographs of Old Main, from before the fire to the deconstruction of the burned building. Where available, I’ve included the captions that ran with the photographs.

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Old Main, June 24, 1966.

This beautiful portrait of Old Main ran in the June 28, 1966 Denver Post with this caption: “This is Old Main, built in 1878 and put into use in 1879, on the Colorado State campus. The building, the oldest structure there, opened with 19 students and just three teachers. The school was originally an agricultural and mechanical college.”

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Old Main “Devoured by Flames,” May 9, 1970.

This was an Associated Press Wirephoto. It carried this caption: “Devoured by Flames – Flames leap into the sky as they break through the roof of the ‘Old Main’ building on the Colorado State University campus just after midnight today. The general alarm fire went out of control moments after two explosions scattered fireman. The building, built in the late 1800s, was a total loss. Several other fires broke out on campus and it had not been determined if they were related to student antiwar protests.”

06 Old Main on Fire May 9 70 B680
 Fire Damages Historic Building, May 9, 1970.

Another AP Wirephoto: “Fire damages historic building at Colorado University. Officials in Fort Collins, Colo. are investigating causes of the blaze. Students rushed to the scene to help man fire hoses.”

07 Old Main fire Invest May 10 70 B680
Fire Investigator and Fire Chief, May 9, 1970.

Denver Post: “Fire investigator, Lt. Jerry Harrison (left) talked with the Fire Chief of Fort Collins, Ed Yonker, at the [Old Main] fire scene.”

08 Old Main Fire CraneMay 10 70 B680
 Knocking Down the Walls of Old Main, May 9, 1970.

Denver Post: “A crane knocks down walls of Old Main following the Friday night fire on the campus of Colorado State University. The fire was being investigated Saturday by the fire department of Fort Collins.”

The fire was almost certainly caused by one or more arsonists, whether by students or non-student activists was debated by the school and community. Some classes, mostly art classes, were still held in Old Main but mostly it was the symbolic heart of the campus, which probably made it the target of the arsonists. No one was hurt and no one was ever charged with the crime.

Talk of a strike, which had been approved on Friday night, quickly faded in the face of the fire. Students went back to class, took their final exams, and, when the returned after the summer break, the violent inclinations of early 1970 were gone. There were still protests but they were more focused and non-violent. Calm returned to the Colorado State campus but it came at a high price.

Here are links to two earlier posts on student demonstrators:

Protesters of the Vietnam War Period

Student Protesters and the Gasoline Engine

P. S. Thanks to the Fort Collins Archive and CSU for the use of some of their images to complete this story.

Protesters of the Vietnam War Period

The late 1960s and the early 1970s were a time of protest, especially in college towns and especially against the Vietnam War. The first Vietnam War protests started in 1965, with teach-ins led by the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS). The North Vietnam Tet Offensive, launched on January 30, 1968, showed the country that the hated war was far from over and the number and size of the anti-war demonstrations grew. War protests erupted on many college campuses, including Colorado State University.

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Norman Lee Bernstein, CSU Student Center, November 22, 1968.

Norman Bernstein, 25 years old at the time of this photograph, was considered a leader of the CSU activists, even though he wasn’t enrolled at the school. This photograph was taken as he spoke to a group of 2,000 students in the Student Center. They were there to develop a way to unify the various CSU and Fort Collins war demonstrators and to plan future events. Bernstein and company had just completed an event, the takeover of the CSU Agriculture Building.

Fifteen demonstrators, including Bernstein, took over the Ag Building on November 18, 1968. They were protesting the presence of Dow Chemical Company on campus. Dow Chemical, the maker of Napalm, was an early student target. The University of California protested their presence on their campus as early as October 1966. Over time, the Dow protests morphed from a protest against a single company’s specific product to a protest against the entire “military industrial complex.”

The demonstrators, ten students and five non-student activists, entered the Ag Building around 4:00 a.m. They moved furniture to block the doors and drove nails into the door locks. Student sympathizers passed out leaflets protesting Dow Chemical interviewing on campus and declaring that the activists “will indefinitely hold the Ag Building . . . until the University agrees to stop acting as an agent for war mongers.”

I’m not sure “indefinitely” was the right word. The campus police arrived around 8:30 a.m. and demanded that they leave the building. The protestors wouldn’t leave on their own but told the police which door they had left open. The police entered and escorted the 15 activists from the building and into police cars. The 15 demonstrators were arrested and charged with second-degree burglary and conspiracy to commit burglary. Bernstein made the national news in a UPI photograph that ran on November 25, 1968.

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Norman Bernstein Being Arrested, CSU, November18, 1968.

The caption on the photograph read, “Campus policeman Dan Bell (left), Sgt. William Graves (right), subdue Bernstein when he refused to enter a police car. He was also charged with resisting arrest.”

Bernstein in a later interview said, “People in society react to littering a building, and do not react to the mass-murdering in Vietnam and elsewhere.” When asked why they decided to break into a building rather than petitioning the school against the presence of Dow Chemical, he said, “It is ridiculous to ask the University not to allow representatives of the U. S. war machine on campus when in fact the University is part of that machine.”

In 1969, David Hawk and Sam Brown, who had worked on the unsuccessful presidential campaign of Eugene McCarthy, proposed a war moratorium and declared October 15, 1969 as Vietnam Moratorium Day. Large demonstrations were planned across the country and throughout the world. It was a huge success. Boston was the site of the largest turnout, where 100,000 people turned out to hear an anti-war speech by Senator George McGovern. It was the biggest demonstration ever in the United States, with an estimated two million people taking part across the country.

For CSU, the day started with a peace vigil and nine people playing guitars and singing folk songs. Many classes were cancelled and teach-ins, seminars, and discussions about the war were substituted. The 1968 film, Face of War, was shown. Roger Ebert called the movie “a heart-wrenching masterpiece.” CSU students also fanned out across the community collecting signatures on letters to local congressmen expressing their desire for peace. One of the day’s larger events adopted a tactic first used by the Quakers.

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Reading the Names of Colorado War Dead, CSU Moratorium Day. October 15, 1969.

In 1968, the Quakers were looking for a peaceful but impactful way to protest against the Vietnam War. They came up with the idea of personalizing the war’s impact by reading the names of the people killed in Vietnam each week on the Capital steps. The names were published in the Congressional Record. Their weekly protest received a lot of media attention, particularly after some Congressmen joined them. The idea spread across the country and was used by CSU as part of their Moratorium Day observance.

This photograph ran in the Denver Post with this slightly edited caption. “Names of the Colorado war dead in Vietnam are read during the observance in Fort Collins, Colo. The Vietnam moratorium observance on the Colorado State University campus was addressed by a University of California professor of philosophy.” The list was approximately 500 names long.

In 1967, a new group of anti-war protestors arrived on the scene. Some returning Vietnam veterans formed the Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW). They demonstrated all over the country and millions of TV viewers watched as the veterans threw their medals and combat ribbons away.

The veterans didn’t think that Middle America really understood the brutality of the war and the ugly tactics used by our military against Vietnamese citizens. In 1970, they decided to dramatize the army’s tactics through a practice called guerilla theater, a play or skit used for political purposes and usually performed on the street. They hired actors and planted activists in anti-war demonstrations and then performed mock “search and destroy” missions in the crowd. They hoped that the performances would bring to light military practices that had been largely hidden from the public. Members of VVAW performed mock “search and destroy” missions on the CSU campus in February 1972. This photograph also ran in the Denver Post.

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Vietnam Veterans Against the War Stage Search & Destroy Missions at CSU. February 10, 1972.

Protests during this period weren’t limited to Vietnam or to CSU. Groups were protesting everything from civil rights and diversity to the environment to food prices, as you can see in the last two photographs.

06 Protest Air Pollution Feb 12 1970 B600
Air Pollution Demonstration, Fort Collins, CO. February 12, 1970.

By 1970, colleges across the country were becoming concerned with the environment and were beginning to display their concerns by marching and demonstrating. Air pollution was the concern of these demonstrators. Here is the caption that was distributed with the photograph:

“Smoking, as we know, may be hazardous to your health, but the question is whether breathing itself may be a hazard. This young demonstrator in Fort Collins seems to think so, as he carries a sign warning against poison: the air. Cartoonists have suggested we all quit breathing, but in lieu of that groups around the country are coming to the defense of their environment.”

The first Earth Day celebration was celebrated on April 22, 1970, just two months after this protest.

The last photograph shows a very different set of protestors – housewives protesting against soaring beef prices.

07 Protest Food Prices Sep 16 1969 B600
Beef Price Protesters, Fort Collins, CO. September 15, 1969.

In the mid- to late-1960s, food prices shot up. The farmers blamed the food processors who blamed the distributors and retailers. This protest seems to be aimed specifically at beef prices, with two of the front signs shooting “Boycott Beef” and the third sign (which is very hard to read) displaying a two line poem, “Down with meat, so we can eat.”

The Coloradoan reported on the protest this way: “Reporters and photographers nearly outnumbered marchers this morning when housewives staged a ‘beef boycott’ parade down College Avenue from Laporte Avenue to Mulberry Street.”

By the way, I did an earlier post on another 1970s protest, entitled “Student Protestors and the Gasoline Engine.” You can see that post by clicking here.

Next week, I’m going to go back to the Vietnam War protests and the protest that resulted in the burning of Old Main, one of the most iconic buildings on the CSU campus.

Colorado State Marker at Virginia Dale

This is my newest image, arriving earlier this week, and I love it.

Colorado Line

It is a real photo postcard, or a RPPC, and the signature “Sanborn,” in the lower right corner, marks it as the work of photographer, William P. Sanborn. Sanborn probably made more Colorado RPPCs than any other photographer.

The postcard is captioned “Colorado markers at Wyo – Colo State Line on US-287. Virginia Dale, Colo” and has an image of a gas station in the background. The station sells gas, beer, and sandwiches. Interestingly, the small sign over the door to the right says “Free Museum.” I’d love to know what was displayed in the museum.

There are two vehicles parked at the station, which car enthusiast friends tell me are most likely a mid-1950s Ford truck and a 1950 or 1951 Studebaker. The station and the vehicles date this photograph to the mid-1950s and give a clue to why Sanborn took this photograph. According to some online articles, the “Colorful Colorado” state line signs were installed in the 1950s. Sanborn may have been photographing some of the new signage.

As an aside, in 2005, Governor Bill Owens tried to replace the rustic, and now bullet-riddled, signs with more modern and cost effective ones. Nostalgic residents changed his mind.

I love photographs from the 1950s. It’s when I was a kid. I remember car trips with my parents and brother, stopping at service stations much like this one, except on the east coast and minus the free museum.

The Shipler photograph of Fort Collins in 1877, shown in the previous post, is certainly the more historically valuable image but it is an intellectual image. The card shown above generates an emotional response. Shipler can’t compete with memories.

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