The Northern Hotel
172 N. College Avenue
The Northern Hotel as it looked on May 25, 2015. Photo by Meg Dunn.
The Northern Hotel began as the Agricultural Hotel on the Southeast corner of W. Mountain Avenue and Mason Street. For more on the history of the hotel when it was in that location, see The McCormick Express Building.
The Commercial Hotel, owned by David M. Harris, was moved to the corner of College and Walnut in April 1879. Two notes in the newspaper were been written while the building was in progress between locations. The first clipping read, “Large bodies move slowly–the Commercial hotel for instance” (Fort Collins Courier, April 8, 1879). And the following week, an update stated, “The Commercial hotel is moving right along towards its destination” (Fort Collins Courier, April 17, 1879).
Mr. Harris had been working on adding an addition to his hotel while it was located on W. Mountain Ave. when a windstorm knocked the entire addition down. After moving the main building to College and Walnut, a large addition was added to the building in the new location (Fort Collins Courier, May 22, 1879).
Geo. S. Brown became proprietor later that same year (Fort Collins Courier, November 27, 1879). But it must have been a short term arrangement, because in August of 1880, he signed a 3-year lease to operate the Tedmon Hotel (Fort Collins Courier, August 12, 1880) and D. M. Harris was again listed as the proprietor of the Commercial (Fort Collins Courier, October 7, 1880). The last mention of D. M. Harris as proprietor is in the February 2, 1882 Fort Collins Courier. On June 1, 1882, George K. Bowlin is listed as proprietor and A. J. McCarter was clerk.
“D. M. Harris is having a good flagstone walk continued around the Commercial hotel property.” (Fort Collins Courier, May 10, 1883)
Fort Collins Courier, June 28, 1883: D. M. Harris once again listed as proprietor.
“D. M. Harris is laying a wide and handsome stone sidewalk on the north side of the Commercial hotel” (Fort Collins Courier, May 28, 1885).
“The Commercial hotel is being connected, by water service, with the city system” (Fort Collins Courier, July 23, 1885).
“Good stone crossings are being put down across College avenue and Walnut street, from the Commercial hotel corner” (Fort Collins Courier, October 15, 1885).
“I stopped at the old Commercial hotel that then stood where the Northern hotel is now located. A little of the building was brick, the most of it was frame, and painted white. The entrance, which was on College avenue, stood a little back from the wooden sidewalk, and the vacant space contained grass, and there were chairs scattered about for the guests to occupy. Cottonwood trees were growing outside the sidewalk. There was a low place in the wide street in front of the hotel that was full of water from a recent rain, making a lake big enough for boats. People driving along the street drove upon the sidewalk to avoid the mud and water. Later, S. H. Clammer bought the property of D. M. Harris, the owner, who moved enough of the frame building away to make two houses for occupancy in the town. Mr. Clammer built four stories of the attractive Northern hotel at the tie, the fifth story being added during the oil boom which brought so many visitors and investors that there was no place for them to sleep without the added enlargement to the building.” (reminiscences of F. C. Grable as found in the Fort Collins Express-Courier, March 18, 1936. His memory is clearly a little confused about the number of floors on the building.)
The 1886 Sanborn Map shows that the Commercial Hotel is entirely a wooden structure (indicated by the yellow color) with a brick building in back (possibly the stable? given that manure is listed to be piled up against it). The hotel is 2-stories tall and includes a dining room, kitchen, and laundry.
The Commercial Hotel. (Image from the Archive at the Fort Collins Museum of Discovery, #H09708.)
A 2 1/2 story wood structure that appears to have an east and a west wing. The building has large gable ends with the words Commercial Hotel written on a side wall. Each wing appears to have one chimney.
The Commercial Hotel, owned by D. M. Harris. (Image from the Archive at the Fort Collins Museum of Discovery, #H09709.)
The drawing appears to depict a brick 2 1/2-story building with a central gable flanked by intersecting projecting gable ends. But the look of brick appears to have been a little creative license on the part of the artist. Each projecting gable end has one chimney. A porch about 1/3rd the width of the front facade sits over the entrance doorway. A long addition extends in the back with additional chimneys.
The Old Commercial Hotel. (Image from the Archive at the Fort Collins Museum of Discovery, #H09728.)
A 2-story brick building with a flat roof, ornamented with a triangular pediment centered on the second-story cornice with the entrance to the building likewise centered on the first floor. The first floor windows have arched tops while the second story one-over-one windows are vertically rectangular. A porch runs the full length of the second-story. It’s not clear when this was bricked over. But the addition to the south hasn’t been built yet. So this is before September 1889.
The Commercial Hotel, owned by D. M. Harris. (Image from the Archive at the Fort Collins Museum of Discovery, #H00763.) The 3-story main portion of the building with the 4-bay 2-story addition to the south was constructed in September 1889.
The 1891 Sanborn Map shows that the main part of the hotel has either been replaced or bricked over. (Subsequent maps suggest that the original framing was bricked over.) A third story was also added to the primary structure. A sizable 2-story addition was made to the south end of the building, including 4 bays. A small, 1-story brick addition was also made on the east side of teh building, between the wood frame portion and the brick outbuilding (stable?).
“A burglar went through the Commercial hotel Sunday evening, but before he had secured anything of value the house do frightened him away” (Fort Collins Courier, April 19, 1888).
First mention of a brick addition: “D. M. Harris, proprietor, broke ground on Wednesday for a large addition to the Commercial hotel. The new building will have a frontage on College avenue of 75 feet with a depth of 32 feet. It will be two stories high built of brick. The first floor will contain four large sample and store rooms and there will be sixteen sleeping rooms on the second floor.” (Fort Collins Courier, September 19, 1889)
“The third story which D. M. Harris is adding to the main part of the Commercial hotel is well under way and will soon be under roof.” (Fort Collins Courier, December 5, 1889) Based on these newspaper reports and what’s visible in the 1891 Sanborn map, the 2-story brick addition was added to the south of the main wood frame building (that had been covered in brick). The third story was added on top of the 2-story brick building.
“The addition of a third story to the Commercial hotel improves the appearance as well as increases the conveniences of that popular hostelry.” (Fort Collins Courier, December 12, 1889)
Listing under “Building and Other Statistics” — “D. M. Harrris, brick extension to Commercial hotel and alterations and improvements, College avenue; $5,000.” (Fort Collins Courier, January 9, 1890)
The 1895 Sanborn Map shows another brick addition, this time to the north of the main portion of the hotel, filling in the triangular on the corner. The yellow in the midst of the main building with red around the edges shows a wood frame building with a brick facade. This is further explained with the “Ven’d” in the center of that main part of the building which means “veneered.”
The 1901 Sanborn Map shows that little changed with the hotel between 1895 and 1901. But the word “veneered” is fully written out, which makes it all the more evident that the original wood structure remained beneath the brick facade.
“Mine Host Harris of the Commercial hotel is personally giving the front of the Commercial block a fresh coat of paint, and true to the prevailing wave of patriotism is giving it the national tricolors.” (Fort Collins Courier, June 30, 1898) Given that the front of the Commercial hotel was entirely brick at this point, this newspaper clipping must have been referring to the trim, or perhaps the wooden porch across the second floor.
The hotel appears to have gone into receivership. There were two separate articles on it in the paper: “Judge Boughton has appointed Thos. J. Montgomery, receiver for the Commercial hotel to serve pending the conclusion of litigation now in court. Mr. Montgomery has engaged Will A. Howard of Greeley, to take charge of the hotel. It was a quiet Christmas in Fort Collins.” “Mr. and Mrs. Will A. Howard arrived from Greeley on Christmas day and at once assumed the management of the Commercial hotel, under Receiver Montgomery. Mr. Howard is an experienced and very popular hotel man, who by reason of his long residence in Fort Collins, previous to going to Greeley, has a very wide circle of acquaintances in the city and surrounding country who are pleased to welcome his return.” (The Weekly Courier, December 27, 1900). This was during a typhoid epidemic in Fort Collins. Could there be a connection?
“D. M. Harris, the owner and builder of the Commercial hotel and its manager for more than a score of years, is again in charge of that popular hostelry after a few years vacation spent in regaining health.” (The Weekly Courier, November 4, 1903)
“Mr. and Mrs. D. M. Harris will sell their Commercial hotel property.” (The Weekly Courier, June 15, 1904) But also on that same day was printed, “David Marshall Harris was buried from the Episcopal church Sunday afternoon, June 12, at 1:45. Rev. J. T. Crowe conducting the services. From thence the remains were taken to Grandview cemetery. Marsh Harris, as we all called him, spent almost his whole life in Fort Collins. He was christened in the Episcopal church and educated in our public schools, and has been the proprietor of the Commercial hotel much of his time. Always of a genial disposition, he had a host of friends and not an enemy, and was kind and patient to the very last. His family and his friends are deeply grieved at his sudden taking away.” (The Weekly Courier, June 15, 1904)
This is a little confusing… “Robert Tait, a former well-known citizen of Fort Collins, and a member of the board of county commissioners of Laramie county, Wyo., died at Cheyenne last Saturday. Mr. Tait was a mechanic by occupation. He built the Commercial hotel, this city, in 1875, going from here later to Cheyenne, where he had since lived.” (The Weekly Courier, June 22, 1904) It’s possible Tait was a contractor that helped to build the Commercial Hotel during one of its iterations.
“It is the intention of Mr. Clammer, the new owner of the Commercial hotel, to remove all the old furniture, carpets and fixtures from the house and replace them throughout with new and up-to-date furnishings. The old frame buildings in the rear of the hotel will be moved away or torn down and the house considerably enlarged, and remodeled into a first class hostelry.” (The Weekly Courier, September 7, 1904)
“COMMERCIAL HOTEL CHANGES HANDS Deeds conveying title to the Commercial hotel from David M Harris and wife to Samuel H. Clammer of this city were filed for record in the county clerk’s office this morning. The consideration named is $20,000, and the sale was made by the Harris & Akin agency. This is one of the largest and most important real estate transactions that has taken place in this city for some time, and Mr. Clammer is to be congratulated in being able to get hold of so valuable a piece of property at the figure paid for it. It is his purpose to expend from $15,000 to $20,000 in remodeling, repair ing, refurnishing and refitting the house so that it shall become the leading hotel in Northern Colorado outside of Denver, and when Sam makes up his mind to do a thing it is pretty sure to be accomplished.” (The Weekly Courier, August 31, 1904)
“It is the intention of Mr. Clammer, the new owner of the Commercial hotel, to remove all the old furniture, carpets and fixtures from the house and replace them throughout with new and up-to-date furnishings. The old frame buildings in the rear of the hotel will be moved away or torn down and the house considerably enlarged, and remodeled into a first class hostelry.” (The Weekly Courier, September 7, 1904)
“S. H. Clammer has men at work tearing out portions of the old Commercial hotel, and the work of reconstruction will soon begin.” (The Weekly Courier, September 28, 1904)
“NEW COMMERCIAL WILL BE MODERN HOTEL Outline of Plans That Will Give Fort Collins Splendid Hostelry. The new owners and Architect Albert Bryan, who has in charge the reconstruction of the Commercial hotel promise that, when the work is completed, Fort Collins will have one of the finest hotels for its size in the state. The interior of the old building is being entirely torn out. The partitions of the first floor will also all be torn away and steel girders and plate glass front put in for store rooms, fronting both on College avenue and on Walnut street. The building will be much enlarged and when completed will occupy the entire triangular piece of land on that corner and will be three stories in height. The main entrance will be on College avenue, about where it is now, and here au ornamental metal porch will extend across the sidewalk. The main entrance hall will be 19 feet in width and will open directly into the office, which will be a large one, extending up through two floors and be surmounted by a large art glass door. The main stairway , which will be of marble with bronze ballisters, will go up from the office directly opposite the main entrance. At the left of the entrance will be the ladie’s waiting room, which the architect promises will be tastefully decorated and made beautiful and cosey. On this side will also be the telephone room, to which access will be had from both the ladies’ waiting room and office. Between the ladies’ waiting room and the stairway will be an entrance hall leading from Walnut street. To the right of the entrance and in the center of the south side of the office will be the hotel office desk, etc, and back of this the private office and check room. Upon one side of the desk will be an arched opening into the reading room, and on the opposite side the entrance to the dining room. This will be about 60 feet in length and 30 feet wide and will be lighted from above by two elaborate art glass domes. Back of this will be the kitchen and the usual accommodations in the nature of service hall, refrigerator, etc. The kitchen arrangements will be made by an expert and will be as up to date as it is possible to make them.
“It will be the effort of the architect to make the entrance, office and dining room as attractive and as beautifully decorated rooms as there are in the state for their size. They will have tiled floors, schagliola wainscoting, ornamental mouldings and tasty fresco work. The passenger elevator will be conveniently located to both entrances and office. For the front on the ground floor will be 15 stores with modern store fronts of metal and plate glass. There will also be two well lighted and conveniently arranged sample rooms. The main stair way and passenger elevator will load in to what is known as the ladies’ parlor on the second floor. This will be a large room, one whole side of which will open into the upper part of the office, by means of arches, the bronze grills in which will match the stair case. Music, in the office or dining room, can thus be enjoyed by the ladies from the parlor. From the parlor a wide passage way will lead to the roof of the entrance porch, which will be fitted up as a balcony and from which a steel stairway will lead to the floor above for use in case of fire. The second floor will have several suites of rooms with private baths, so arranged that there can be from one to four rooms in a suite, two combination sleeping and sample rooms, besides quarters for servants. On this floor are also two bath rooms for general use of guests, and three toilet rooms. On the top floor will be three suites with private baths, 36 single rooms and quarters for male help. This floor will have two general baths and three toilet rooms. There will, of course, be large linen rooms on both upper floors. The hotel will have hot water heat, electric lights, and a telephone exchange is being planned for, so that each room may have a telephone. The furnishings throughout will be the best. No money or pains is being spared by the management in making the new Commercial hotel one of the most modern and attractive hostleries in the west. More than $30,000 will be expended in fitting up the building.” (The Weekly Courier, October 5, 1904)
“The Commercial hotel looks now as if it had been through an earthquake, so ragged and dilapidated are its walls. The work of rebuilding the torn out walls will soon begin and then the building will present an altogether different appearance.” (The Weekly Courier, October 19, 1904)
“The excavation for the basement of the new Commercial hotel is nearly completed and stone masons will soon be at work on the walls.” (The Weekly Courier, November 23, 1904)
“The basement walls of the new Commercial hotel are well advanced toward completion, and the big heavy steel beams and girders for the building have arrived from Omaha.” (The Weekly Courier, December 7, 1904)
“Joists for the ground floor of the new Commercial hotel have been delivered and as soon as they can be placed in position the brick masons will begin work on the superstructure. The contracts for the completion of the building have been let and from now on, weather permitting, the work will be rushed forward with all possible speed. John G. Lunn will do the brick work and place the steel work in position; C. A. Button the carpenter and joiner work, and Ogden & Shay the cut stone work.” (The Weekly Courier, December 28, 1904)
“The brick work on the new Commercial hotel is progressing nicely this fine weather . Many of the heavy iron girder supports for the second floor are already in position.” (The Weekly Courier, January 25, 1905)
“The third story walls of the new Commercial hotel are nearly completed.” (The Weekly Courier, March 22, 1905)
The mention I found of the Northern name came on August 16th, 1905. It was around the time that the Great Northern hotel in Chicago was both visited and mentioned several times in the paper. Perhaps the visit inspired the name?
“GLORIES OF FORT COLLINS TOLD BY BANK PRESIDENT A recent number of the Daily Arti-zan-Record of Chicago, contained the following interview with F. C. Avery president of the First National bank of this city. It says: J. V. Barker, of the J. V. Barker Mercantile company, Fort Collins Colorado, accompanied by F. C. Avery, president of the First National bank of the same place, visited the exposition buildings Saturday. Both gentlemen are east for the purpose of purchasing the complete furnishings of the Northern hotel in their town and expect to invest about $15,000 This hotel, which has recently been finished, is a three story brick structure, strictly modern in every respect containing 75 rooms and costing $100,000. President Avery, in speaking of the business outlook for Fort Collins described it in a most enthusiastic way. Fort Collins, said he, is situated in the heart of the beet sugar country, and there is no section in the world which will yield more to the acre than the territory within a radius of 25 miles of our town….” (The Weekly Courier, August 16, 1905)
“A cement sidewalk , fifteen feet in width, is being laid on the College avenue side of the Northern hotel. The walk on the Walnut street side of the hotel is completed.” (The Weekly Courier, October 4, 1905)
“The new Northern Hotel at Fort Collins is now completed, at a cost of about $lOO,OOO and has been leased by Howard L. Dailey of Denver for the next ten years. He is a prominent hotel manager and well known in Denver. The house has eighty rooms and will be able to take care of all the traveling public that may visit Fort Collins until the new hotel is erected in Loveland, and then they will probably dispose of one of the hotels in that city, as the Loveland Hotel is expected to be one of the best in this part of the State.” (Loveland Reporter, Volume 26, Number 32, October 5, 1905)
“The iron frame work for a porch and balcony for the Northern hotel is being erected today. The heavy iron columns are already in position.” (The Weekly Courier, October 18, 1905)
“Senator Thos. M. Patterson and Hon. Aaron Gove of Denver, were guests of honor at a splendidly appointed banquet given Tuesday evening by the chamber of commerce at the Northern hotel. Over one hundred guests, embracing business and professional men of the city, had seats at the tables and richly enjoyed the feast of good things so abundantly provided by Mine Host Dailey. After coffee and cigars had been served Mr. F. J. Annis introduced President B. O. Aylesworth of the agricultural college, who briefly addressed the gathering on the virtues of durum wheat as a semi-arid region crop, calling attention to the fact that all the food provided for the banquet, into which flour entered, was made of durum wheat flour, the bread, the crackers and the pastry.” (The Weekly Courier, November 29, 1905)
“The Northern hotel, with its 80 guest chambers, completed, furnished and opened in September, at a cost of over $100,000.” … “Commercial Improvement company, N. College avenue, Northern hotel block; Albert Bryan, architect; C. A. Button, builder: $100,000.” (The Weekly Courier, December 27, 1905)
The 1906 Sanborn Map shows the new and greatly improved Northern Hotel, made entirely of brick and completely filling the lots on which it sits. It is unclear how much of the original building remains within this. The newspaper descriptions do not depict an entire razing of the old buildings, just the wooden structures. But the entire structure had steel girders inserted to support large windowed shop fronts and a full three stories of brickwork.
The Pioneer Association was founded at a meeting held at the Northern Hotel. “Notice to Pioneers. A meeting will be held at 8 o’clock on Friday evening, January 12, in the parlors of the Northern hotel for the purpose of organizing the Fort Collins Pioneer association. All persons who have lived in Colorado for 25 years and are now residents of Fort Collins are eligible to membership in the association and are cordially invited to attend the meeting . JOHN G . COY , Temporary Chairman . J. A. C. KISSOCK Temporary Secretary” (The Weekly Courier, January 10, 1906)
A contingent from Boulder and Denver visited the Northern. Boulder was in need of a new hotel and they wanted to see what Fort Collins newest hotel was like. (The Weekly Courier, January 17, 1906)
“The portico of the Northern hotel is being finished with a hard wood ceiling, paint and varnish. When completed, this will add remarkably to the hostelry.” (The Weekly Courier, July 4, 1906)
“Yesterday was the first anniversary of the Northern hotel and many people partook of the two splendidly appointed dinners, arranged for the occasion by Manager Dailey. In the evening Mr. Dailey entertained the stockholders with an elegant dinner. At the table, placed in the center of the larger dining room and prettily decorated with cut flowers were seated Justice and Mrs. George W. Bailey of Denver, Mr. and Mrs. F. C. Avery, Mayor and Mrs. S. H. Clammer, Mr. and Mrs. C. R. Welch, Dr. and Mrs. P. J. McHugh, Cashier W. C. LeMaster of the First National bank, Miss Ethel Avery, Manager and Mrs. Dailey. During the meals, Prof. Longs orchestra dispensed delightful music.” (The Weekly Courier, October 17, 1906)
“NORTHERN HOTEL LOBBY HANDSOMEST IN STATE Proprietor Dailey of the Northern hotel now lays claims to having the handsomest hotel lobby in the state. The decorators have just finished their work, having gone over the entire lobby. The relief and plaster work is finished in old ivory and the walls in Nile green and cream. The color scheme is artistic and the blending is such as to be restful to the eye, at the same time giving the effect of more light than was apparent under the old coloring.” (The Weekly Courier, July 22, 1908)
“The third anniversary of the Northern hotel was celebrated on the fourteenth. Manager Dailey said this morning that the history of the hotel was a history of progress from the very start, in spite of the prophecies of the croakers, who saw failure in store for the man who dared run a metropolitan hotel in Fort Collins. The last year has far exceeded the two previous years in amount of business, in spite of the general depression. The Northern now holds the record of handling more commercial men than any other hotel outside of Denver in Colorado.” (The Weekly Courier, October 21, 1908)
“Judge Bailey was one of the original promoters of the Northern hotel and he not only became one of the stockholders when the company was organized, but was instrumental in bringing the hotel under its present good management. He and Howard L. Dailey had been warm personal friends for years.” (The Weekly Courier, April 21, 1909)
“The dining room of the Northern hotel is being redecorated. The contract has been let to Charette & Kuhre, who began work today. They will put on three coats of oil and finish in robin blue, with gold leaf trimmings. Manager Dailey is anxious to make his dining room, like the lobby, the prettiest in the state.” (The Weekly Courier, May 26, 1909)
“REMODELING FRONTAGE OF NORTHERN HOTEL BLOCK
In order to provide better lighting for the offices of the Northern Colorado Securities company, in the Northern hotel block, the frontage on College avenue and Walnut streets is being remodeled. On the College avenue side, where the plate glass windows come almost to the sidewalk, a forty-inch brick wall is being put in, cutting down the windows to that extent. On the Walnut street side, where the windows are high and narrow, they will be extended by tearing out the wall in a width of 40 inches. This will secure an even distribution of the light and make the west exposure of the offices decidedly cooler in summer.” (The Weekly Courier, September 1, 1909)
“F. O. Stanley and wife of Estes park, were guests Sunday of Howard L. Dailey, proprietor of the Northern hotel. Mr. Stanley is the millionaire automobile builder, as well as the owner of the new Stanley hotel and he is very much interested in the proposed road from Fort Collins to Estes park. It is generally believed that as soon as this road is completed, he will inaugurate auto service between this city and the park.” (The Weekly Courier, September 29, 1909)
“DAILEY TO LEAVE NORTHERN HOTEL Owners of Hotel Tell Why They Served Notice of Termination of Lease, Which Will Occur October 14th. (From Tuesday’s Daily) Relative to the announcement that Howard L. Dailey, lessee of the Northern hotel, had decided to give up the hotel October 145h, the officers of the Commercial Improvement company, owners of the hotel, in an interview this morning said: On account of provisions in the lease we decided to give Mr. Dailey notice of cancellation. This action was taken at our meeting on June 13th, as the minutes will show. Our contract required that ninety days notice be given, but we gave Mr. Dailey four months–until October 14th, on which date the hotel will go into the hands of another lessee. ‘Mr. Dailey admitted to an officer of this company that he made $30,000 out of the hotel and that he has no reason to complain of the patronage given him. He made a proposition to buy the furniture for $10,000, but we turned it down. We believe the severance of relations between the present lessee and the company will be for the benefit of the hotel and the city at Fort Collins. As owners we want the traveling public to be satisfied and their interests cared for, as well as the interests of the lessee. Under the present management the financial benefit of the lessee has been uppermost, hence the complaints of service that have reached us.’ The officers of the company are Y. C. Avery, president; C. R. Welch, vice president, and Samuel H. Clammer, manager.” (The Weekly Courier, July 21, 1910)
“DAILEY TO LEAVE NORTHERN HOTEL ON SEPTEMBER 1 C. A. Thayer of Sterling Buys the Furniture From the Hotel Company and Will Assume Charge in a Short Time. DAILEY IS CONSIDERING A BIG PROPOSITION (From Monday’s Daily) Howard L. Dailey will relinquish possession of the Northern hotel September 1st, on which date the new lessee, C. A. Thayer of Sterling, is to take charge. The latter has purchased the furniture from the hotel company. The consideration is said to have been $12,000. Mr. Dailey made a private settlement with the company, and as Thayer is anxious to take charge, at once, he will retire on the first of the month. Thayer has been conducting the Union Pacific hotel and eating house at Sterling. He was attracted to Fort Collins by the excellent prospects for the future and the good record of the Northern hotel as a paying proposition.” (The Weekly Courier, August 25, 1910)
The Thayers misrepresented their ability to pay the loan of $10,000 for the furniture and defaulted. (The Weekly Courier, January 20, 1911)
S. H. CLAMMER OWNS NORTHERN HOTEL S. H. Clammer is now the sole owner of the Northern hotel property. About two months ago he purchased the quarter interest held by P. J. McHugh and the first of the week he closed a deal for the remaining stock held by F. C. Avery. The hotel property is one of the best investments in the city. Mr. Clammer is now in position to handle it as he sees fit. He does not contemplate letting go of the property at present.” (The Weekly Courier, February 23, 1912)
“The largest deal of those reported is the sale of the Northern hotel building, which was practically made on June 16. It had been mutually agreed to keep this deal private until the final papers changed hands this afternoon. The sale of the Northern building involves $140,000made by Miller and Woodward, who made a number of other deals which were closed up today. The deal Involving the exchange ot the Northern was made between S. H. Clammer who owned the stock of the Commercial Improvement association, and E. C. Withrow, owner of extensive properties in Morgan county.” (The Weekly Courier, August 1, 1913)
“Commercial Improvement Co. to Northern Hotel & Inv. Co, $1; lot “A” and 18 to 22, block 18, Fort Collins” (The Weekly Courier, October 17, 1913)
“E. C. Wlthrow of Sterling, is in the city today on business. He formerly owned the Northern hotel building.” (The Weekly Courier, November 21, 1913) Formerly? Didn’t he just buy it 3 months before this?!
“NORTHERN HOTEL SOLD IN COUNTY TAX SALE FAILURE TO PAY $1,321.29 TAXES IS CAUSE; CITY WILL HAVE TO BID IN SEWER TAXED PROPERTY. Fort Collins, December 7. Failure of the Commercial Investment company to pay $1,321.28 for taxes on the Northern hotel caused the sale of the property this morning by County Treasurer Geo. E. Toomey. The annual tax sale was held today and about 20 men took part in bidding for the property.” (Loveland Daily Herald, Number 103, December 7, 1914)
Charles Birdwhistle moves to Fort Collins from Estes Park and becomes head waiter at the Northern Hotel. (Fort Collins Express-Courier, February 17, 1936)
“The long discussed addition to the Northern hotel is at last to become a reality. Work is to be started at once on a fourth story and when the work is completed, by the first of June at the latest, the city’s hotel accommodations will have been increased by a third. The sum of $50,000 is to be expended upon this improvement. Architect L. L. Jones is drawing up the plans now and after a thoro examination, finds that the Northern building is admirably adapted for an additional floor, and that every precaution will be taken to make the building secure. The foundation walls now standing will be materially reinforced as will the first floor supports. The building as it now stands is well supported by a nine inch brick wall and by 21-inch steel supports at frequent intervals. Before the new work is undertaken, the original structure will be thoroly searched for faults.” (Fort Collins Courier, January 13, 1920) Work was NOT started on the fourth story in 1920. So though there was talk about it, it didn’t actually happen until the winter/spring of 1924.
“MANAGER TURLEY HEADS ROCKY MOUNTAIN HOTELS The board of directors of the Rocky Mountain Hotel Company met in Love land Saturday evening and elected L. L . Turley . manager of the Northern hotel in Fort Collins, as president and general manager. Other officers of the company to be elected were A. L. Rohling of Fort C Collins, vice president; A. C. Abbott of Fort Collins, secretary-treasurer. Board of directors; H. F. Bonnell of Loveland, J. H. Cunningham of Loveland, C. A. Westerdoll of Loveland and C. S. Ickes of Fort Collins. The Rocky Mountain Company owns the Northern hotel in Fort Collins and the Lincoln hotel in Loveland. The directors at Saturday’s meeting discussed the future plans of the company and dwelt at some length on the proposed addition to the Northern hotel. No publication has been made as yet as to the time this work will be started but it is understood that the contract has been let.” (Fort Collins Courier, February 24, 1920)
“WORK STARTS ON NORTHERN’S NEW CAFE Work has been started on-the new cafe for the Northern hotel. The store formerly occupied, by the Hoffman Jewelry company is being equipped by the Standard Store Fixture company with a lunch counter and tables, the tops of which are of vitrolite with German silver finishings. This improvement is an added advantage to the hotel, inasmuch as it gives an entrance to the-famous Northern restaurant directly from the street. The object of the new cafe is principally to secure to the business men of the city, the same excellent meals as served in the restaurant, with a quickness and despatch that only plate service can secure. Manager Turley expects the cafe to be open for business by the last of the week.” (Fort Collins Courier, March 3, 1920)
“NORTHERN HOTEL BOUGHT BY HOTEL FIRM IN DENVER Hotel To Be Built Up By Big Firm Owning, Five Hotels In Denver and One In Pueblo
The Northern hotel, equipment and furnishings, have been bought from the Rocky Mountain Hotel company of Denver and the building has been leased. The William Penn Hotel company, which owns five hotels in Denver and one in Pueblo took over the management of the local hotel Monday, having completed the deal Saturday night. L. L. Turley, former manager of the Northern, is now in Estes park for a few days, and has not announced his plans for the future. J. P. Karsh, treasurer of the William Penn Hotel company, will be until the arrival of the permanent manager, Mr. Dean, of Denver, the manager of the hotel here in active charge. Other members of the firm associated with Mr. Karsh in the Denver company, are Joseph Buchhalter, president; M. H. Block, secretary, and A. Bronstein. The hotels owned by this company are the Adams, the William Penn, the Windsor, the Markham, and the Dover hotels of Denver, and the Congress hotel at Pueblo. The new owners will invest $5,000 immediately in improvements in the Northern hotel. They plan to make it one of the best of the state in any city of the size of Fort Collins, and maintain its standing. They also plan a campaign of advertising the hotel and with it, the city. Mr. Karsh, who is here in charge of the hotel, says that they hope to get the hearty cooperation of the public in the efforts they shall make to work for the good of the community and that they expect to make the hotel even more of a fitting hostelry for a town of this size. Mr. Turley will not be connected with the local management, it is stated. Owing to the able management of Mr. Turley, the new owners state, the hotel is in good condition and will not need extensive overhauling. They plan to keep up the high standard of service and improve on it where possible. Mr. Block, who also is in the city, stated that the hotel will make a speciality of catering to local organizations, and the hotel will be at their service. Banquets will be served as a regular thing, and free use of the hotel for meetings will accompany this service. It will be the plan of the management, said Mrs. Block to make the hotel as much of a community center as possible and to make it of as great service as possible.” (Fort Collins Courier, August 17, 1920)
“FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT OPENS HIS SPEAKING TOUR IN COLORADO, TO BE IN FORT COLLINS THURSDAY AT NOON Will Speak from Court House Steps at 1:30 O’clock After Luncheon At Northern Hotel Franklin D. Roosevelt, Democratic nominee for the vice presidency, will speak in Fort Collins from the steps of the court house at 1:30 o’clock Thursday afternoon. He will arrive at Greeley at 10:20 o’clock in the morning, and after his speech there will be brought to Fort Collins by automobile escorted by a delegation from this city. Two automobiles driven by L. C. Moore and Ed Schlichter will make the trip. It is expected Mr. Roosevelt will reach this city by 12:15 and will be the guest of the Lions club at luncheon at the Northern hotel. Then will come his address at the court house, to which everyone is invited. After this he will go to Loveland by automobile and will give an address there at 3 o’clock Thursday afteroon. From Loveland he will take the train to Boulder for his next address. Judge Neil F. Graham will introduce Mr. Roosevelt when he makes his Fort Collins address.” (Fort Collins Courier, October 6, 1920)
“Mr. Roosevelt was given a luncheon at the Northern hotel as the guest of the Lions club, and after his speech went on to Loveland and Berthoud for other addresses.” (Fort Collins Courier, October 7, 1920)
“Senator Lawrence G. Phipps and Judge Granby Miller of Denver arrived in Fort Collins Friday morning and had luncheon at the Northern hotel with a number of local Republicans. They drove on to Loveland in the afternoon.” (Fort Collins Courier, October 27, 1922)
“The Northern hotel will add another story to the building to take care of the increasing trade….” (The Fort Collins Express-Courier, December 7, 1923)
“In order to help take care of the public, Mr. Withrow, owner of the Northern hotel, has announced that a fourth story will be built on the Northern, giving that popular hotel 130 guest rooms.” (The Fort Collins Express-Courier, December 7, 2023)
The Wellington Oil Company decides to locate their offices in the first floor of the Northern Hotel. (The Sunday Express-Courier, December 30, 1923)
“ENLARGEMENT OF NORTHERN HOTEL BEGUN One of the first noticeable results of the oil and gas development of the Fort Collins section to be observed is the inauguration of the improvements and enlargements at the Northern Hotel which work was formally started Wednesday, at which time initial steps were taken for the construction of another story to the building, the alteration and enlarging of the lobby, and the installation of two elevators, one for passengers and the other for baggage and freight. The additional story will have walls of hollow red tile, to be faced with smooth brick of the kind of which the present building is constructed. The first work being done is getting the steel materials in shape, this being done in the basement of the hotel. The plans call for the elimination of the room now used as a barber shop and fronting on College avenue, this space to be added to the lobby. The several sample room son the first floor and facing Walnut street are to be converted into office rooms. The sample rooms will be placed in the basement and upper stories and the barber shop will occupy the room fronting College avenue and at present occupied by the Flowers, Hayner and Jones real estate offices. E. E. Gilbert is superintending the construction work which is being done by a Denver firm. The work is to be completed on or before May 1st, Manager J. Z. Melnick of the Northern Hotel said. This will require active operations and the aim is to get the construction underway as soon as weather conditions will permit the outside building work.” (The Fort Collins Express-Courier, January 16, 1924)
“Building permits to an amount in excess of $68,000 have been issued by R. R. McGregor, city building inspector, within the last few days, the principal one being for the proposed improvements and enlargements at the Northern Hotel building. This permit was in the sum of $60,000 and gives E. C. Withrow as the owner. The materials are given as brick and steel. The plans were originally drawn by Lester Jones and later revised by Lloyd Redding. It is planned to place a fourth story upon the present structure.” (The Sunday Express-Courier, January 20, 1924)
“Rumor False As To Fifth Story for the Northern Hotel Since the Announcement that the work of adding a fourth story to the Northern Hotel building had been started, a report has been going around that it is now planned to make the structure a five-story building. Inquiry Wednesday at the hotel brought the information that it is to be a four story building as originally planned. The idea of the addition of two stories was likely brought about, it is suggested, from the fact that the improvements call for the establishing of some 16 rooms in the basement, mostly for sample rooms. The fourth floor will provide about 40 additional rooms. Burgy & Gilbert are the general contractors and Wm. Redding & Son, Denver, the architects on the work at the hotel.” (The Fort Collins Express-Courier January 30, 1924)
Brick-laying had started on the Northern Hotel by February 6, 1924 (Fort Collins Express-Courier)
W. P. Jennings was hired to rewire the Northern Hotel as well as to put in the wiring for the new 4th floor. (Fort Collins Express-Courier, February 8, 1924)
“Steel Furniture Will Be Featured In Northern Hotel It was announced Friday that the Northern Hotel had just warded to the Ideal Furniture Company of Fort Collins the contract for supplying the furniture for the fifty new rooms to be added to the hotel thru the construction of a fourth floor to the building. The furniture is to be the Simmons steel furniture and includes beds, dressers, chairs, grip stands, etc. The finish will be brown mahogany while the leather seats for the chairs will be blue leather. Special electric lights will be provided for the mirrors which are of the opal type. Delivery is to be made by May 1st. The contract was secured by the local firm in competitive bidding with some eight out of town firms, these being from denver, Greeley, St. Paul and Chicago. It is stated that this will be the first steel furniture to be used in Colorado. (The Fort Collins Express-Courier, February 22, 1924)
Bonds were sold to finance the work on the hotel. (Fort Collins Express-Courier, February 28, 1924)
“Work on the new fourth floor of the Northern Hotel is progressing nicely. Practically all the frontage on Walnut street is completed. The window glass is being placed and the interior work moving along.” (Fort Collins Express-Courier, February 29, 1924)
“Northern Hotel Improvements Are Near Completion The work of furnishing the new fourth floor of the Northern Hotel is about completed with the exception of installing the electric light fixtures. New steel furniture has been placed in all the rooms of the fourth floor constructed as well as some of the other rooms. This is finished in mahogany color and is quite attractive. New floor coverings were purchased through the Ideal Furniture Company. The work on the lobby will be completed in about two weeks. This is to be filled with new furniture. The lobby will have frontage on both College avenue and Walnut street. The passenger and freight elevators have been placed in position and are in operation. With the new floor the hotel now has 130 rooms, 80 of which have individual baths. Fifty rooms were added during the work just being rounded out. The upper floor of the hotel affords excellent views in all directions and make a splendid place for observations in the direction of the mountains and the plains. (Fort Collins Express-Courier, May 9, 1924)
The owner of the Northern wanted to add a staircase on the Walnut street side of the building, similar to what the Armstrong had on the Oak Street side and that the First National Bank building and Wilson block also had. But Mr. Goeder (on the City Council?) was against the idea because it gave use of public property (the sidewalk area) to the building owner (who would be putting a staircase on it.) (Fort Collins Express-Courier, May 18, 1924)
“The new telephone switchboard for the Northern Hotel is being installed. It will have a capacity of 300 phones.” (Fort Collins Express-Courier, May 29, 1924)
“The work on the third story of the Northern hotel is now completed. There still remains some work to be done on the remodeling of the lobby.” (Fort Collins Express-Courier, June 9, 1924) – Did they mean the fourth story?
“Northern Hotel’s Improvements Soon To Be Completed The new furniture for the lobby of the Northern hotel was placed in commission Thursday and is attracting attention. The woodwork is mahogany finish and the upholstering is of black horsehide. The new furniture will seat some 80 persons. The former furniture has been placed on the second floor. The improvements at the hotel are soon to be completed, this work including a fourth floor to the building with strictly up-to-date furnishings. Two elevators also have been installed. (Fort Collins Express-Courier, June 12, 1924)
The 1909 Sanborn Map shows that little has changed between 1906 and 1909.
The Northern Hotel. (Image from the Archive at the Fort Collins Museum of Discovery, #H11644.) The 4th floor addition was added in 1924. The lobby was also redone, and several rooms were built out in the basement where traveling salesmen could display their wares.
The Chamber of Commerce continued to hold their monthly meetings at the Northern Hotel.
“Birdwhistle Born In Curtis House
Charles Birdwhistle, who came to Fort Collins in 1919 to become head waiter at the Northern hotel, was born in the house in Topeka, Kans., in which the late ex-vice-presiden, Charles Curtis [vice-president under Herbert Hoover] was reared. Mr. Birdwhistle, now janitor in the Central hall building, was born in that house, 216 West Railroad street, North Topeka, in 1880, shortly after his parents had come to Kansas from Harrisburg, Ky. His parents rented the house from ‘Cap’ Curtis, Charles Curtis’ father, Mr. Birdwhistle says. ‘And later I did chores for Charles Curtis when he lived on West Laurent street in Topeka,’ he adds. After finishing two years in high school in Topeka, Mr. Birdwhistle quit school to enlist for the service in the Spanish-American war with a noted Negro regiment, and later served as orderly to Gen. Leonard Wood in Santiago, Cuba, I’m 1898 and ’99. He continued in the army, serving under three other generals, after the war and first saw Fort Collins when he marched thru to Fort Russell, now Fort Warren, in 1905. Subsequently, Mr. Birdwhistle became head waiter at the Stanley hotel in Estes Park and came from there to Fort Collins. ‘Mr. Curtis was a mighty fine man,’ Mr. Birdwhistle says.” (Fort Collins Express-Courier, February 17, 1936)
“Cahill Buys Hotel Building
Purchase of the Northern hotel building by J. Berry Cahill from the Northern Hotel and Investment company was announced Tuesday morning, comprising one of the largest real estate transfers in Fort Collins for several years. The sale affected only the building itself, and the present hotel management will continue to operate. Mr. hill is completing plans for extensive improvements which will transform the entire outside of the building along modern architectural lines. He also plans to improve the building inside, including some changes, yet to be worked out, in the lobby of the hotel. The building was deeded to Mr. Cahill by E. C. Withrow, Hanna, Wyo., stockman, who held controlling interest in the Northern Hotel and Investment company. Mr. Withrow is a brother of W. P. Withrow, secretary and manager of the company. Holdings of the company consisted of 140,000 shares of stock, all of which was involved in the sale. Exact stipulation was not announced. The Northern hotel has been known as the Commercial hotel and the Agricultural hotel. The Agricultural hotel which was built on the corner of Mason street and Mountain avenue, was moved to the present site of the Northern. It acquired the new name, Commercial hotel, after it was moved. Later, the present building was constructed.” (Fort Collins Express-Courier, March 9, 1936)
The Northern Hotel. (Image from the Historic Preservation Department with the City of Fort Collins.)