15 Fort Collins Old Homes and Buildings
Fort Collins is a city rich in history. All it takes is a walk through the downtown and old town areas to find beautiful historic buildings, each with its own architecture and story. These buildings can provide great inspiration for remodeling a historic home.
Many historic buildings in Fort Collins were built in the late 1800s and have stood the test of time. Over the years, these buildings have changed hands and received updates and renovations, but they still showcase the beauty and unique atmosphere of Fort Collins. If these walls could talk, they would surely have amazing stories to tell. Today, the buildings have been transformed into some of the city’s favorite stores and restaurants, offices, and even private homes and condos.
As you prepare for remodeling a historic home, gather inspiration from these 15 historic homes and buildings in Fort Collins.
Built in 1881, Spruce Hall is the oldest building on the Colorado State University campus. The building is considered a prime example of Italianate Style with its low-pitched roof, overhanging eaves, and tall narrow windows with arched tops. Spruce Hall was originally opened as the first co-ed dormitory on campus but overwent numerous changes, updates, and additions over the years. Today, the building houses some of CSU’s international programs and celebrates historic Fort Collins.
The Toliver Mansion
Located at 1102 Laporte Avenue, the Toliver Mansion stands out not just because of its massive size, but also because of its unique architecture. The glass brick windows, smooth curved walls, and chrome stairway may look relatively modern now, but they were considered out there when the home was built in 1938. The interior light fixtures include rings to resemble Saturn. Francis Toliver originally purchased the 8-acre piece of land in 1921 and used the space to raise and sell chickens and hogs before building his mansion.
Old Post Office
Located at 201 South College Avenue, the Fort Collins Post Office and Federal Building was built in 1911 and quickly became one of the most famous and recognizable buildings in Colorado. With its white limestone exterior and marble and concrete interior, the building pulls together numerous architectural styles. It also served an important role as the anchor for the newly developed downtown Fort Collins area. After a new federal building was built in Fort Collins, the building was sold in 1975. It now houses the Museum of Art, including galleries on the upper floors and artist studios in the basement.
The Ansel Watrous House
The house at 400 S. Meldrum Street once belonged to Ansel Watrous, founder of the Fort Collins Courier. The home was built in 1902 as a Neo-Classical Revival and quickly became known in the neighborhood for its yellow paint and large covered front porch. Watrous lived in the home from 1906 to 1916. In 1985, the home was converted into a restaurant called Lucile’s, a Fort Collins breakfast establishment.
One of the most famous buildings in Fort Collins history, Linden Hotel inspired Walt Disney and served as a model for many buildings in Disneyland. The building, located at 250 Walnut, was built in 1882 and first housed the Poudre Valley Bank. In 1910, it was transformed into the Linden Hotel. The building was condemned in 1984 before being restored to its original glory. Today, the building houses numerous apartment units.
The Arthur Sheely House
Located at 1608 Sheely Drive, this house was the home of prominent Fort Collins businessman and car dealership owner Arthur Sheely and his wife Margaret. Compared to many other historical homes in Fort Collins, the Sheely is house is relatively young. Built in 1955, the house shows how design and architecture changed in the post-WWII industry boom with a sprawling ranch concept.
The Armstrong Hotel is one of the oldest hotels in Old Town Fort Collins and the only one still hosting overnight guests. The hotel was built in 1923 in hopes of attracting auto tourists, a growing industry at the time. Over the following decades, the hotel housed WWI soldiers and changed owners numerous times. It was closed in 2000 after business slowed and it was damaged by a fire. In 2003, the Armstrong Hotel was renovated to bring it back to the Fort Collins community with some modern twists.
The Avery House
Located at 328 W. Mountain Avenue, the Avery House offers guided tours to show historic life and old houses in Fort Collins. The home was originally built in 1879 for the Franklin and Sara Avery family, who were prominent early citizens of Fort Collins. The Avery family lived in the home until it was sold in 1962 and then sold to the Poudre Landmarks Foundation and the City of Fort Collins in 1974. The Avery home is a beautiful showcase of late-1800s architecture with a sweeping roofline. The two-story house is made of sandstone and has a unique Queen Mary tower.
The Edwards House
Built in 1904 on the corner of West Mountain Avenue and Meldrum Street at 402 W. Mountain Avenue, the stunning Edwards house is a Fort Collins Landmark. The stately and bright two-story home with a large porch was built for Alfred Augustus Edwards, an early Colorado pioneer. In the 1990s, the home was remodeled and became a bed and breakfast.
Located at 314 East Mountain, Fort Collins’ Armory is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The building was constructed by the Colorado National Guard in 1906 and included a lobby with officer quarters on either side and a large drill room in the back to hold community events. Today, the Armory and its brick exterior are used to host special events.
The first schoolhouse in Fort Collins is located at 115 Riverside and held its first classes in 1871. The small building only has one room and overlooks the Poudre River. The building had students for just eight years. By 1879, there were enough children in town to warrant a larger schoolhouse, and a four-room building was built in another part of town. The first schoolhouse has served as a private home for decades.
Located at 137 Mathews Street, the McIntyre house was built in 1881 for early Fort Collins pioneer and Civil War captain Josiah McIntyre and his family. McIntyre was shot in the face in battle. He later lost his eyesight and became the first blind person in the U.S. to earn a law degree. The house features a brick façade and two large windows. It was remodeled in 2011 and turned into two condo units with a historical exterior.
The Forney Mansion
What would eventually become known as the Forney Mansion at 309 S. Grant Avenue was originally built in 1919 by stockman Thomas Reinholtz. When Reinholtz lost the home during the Great Depression, the bank took over, and the Alpha Gamma Rho fraternity occupied the home for a few years in the late 1930s and early 1940s. It was then that millionaire J.D. Forney, founder of Forney Industries, purchased the home. The large Forney Mansion is designed to resemble a Spanish colonial home with a red-tiled roof and pillared porch entryway. The interior of the house is more than 5,300 square feet with rubbed oak floors and moldings.
The Hattie McDaniel House
The two-bedroom home at 317 Cherry Street may not be the grandest historical home architecturally, but it holds strong significance to the entire community, especially the African American community in the early 20th century. Hattie McDaniel spent her early years in Fort Collins and rented the home with her family for a short time. She went on to become a movie star and acting in more than 300 movies, including her biggest role as Mammy in Gone With the Wind. For that role, she became the first African American to win an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress.
The Patterson House
The Patterson House at 121 N. Grant Avenue was originally built in 1888 as a beautiful Victorian show home to entice people to the new Loomis Addition neighborhood. The house was awarded in a raffle to a man who sold the home to Arthur and Alice Patterson, which were the first to live there. Arthur Patterson operated a livery business in Fort Collins and was a close friend to Buffalo Bill. With its pitched roof, large windows, and arched entryway, the Patterson House brought a touch of Victorian England to Colorado.
These 15 old Fort Collins homes and buildings go back to the roots of the community and the people who made Fort Collins what it is today. Studying these buildings and paying attention to not only the architecture but the people behind the buildings can give you a better appreciation for the city and provide great inspiration for your own renovation.