S: Showmen

Arthur H. “Billy” Patterson was an early Fort Collins resident who donated land for the Agricultural College (now CSU—ever wonder why the ditch is called Arthur’s Ditch?) and was actively involved in city and county government. As a child in Leavenworth, Kansas, he became friends with William F. Cody, later known as Buffalo Bill. The two remained close even through the height of Cody’s popularity in the 1880s, when he was off in London rubbing elbows with Queen Victoria and giving the Prince of Wales rides in his stagecoach.

Cody came to Fort Collins in 1915 to visit Patterson. After Cody toured the historical sites, he admonished local leaders for not recognizing the efforts of founding fathers such as Patterson. In 1916, a stone commemorating the men who donated land for the college was erected on the campus.

Frank C. Miller was born in Fort Collins in 1886 and grew up emulating Cody’s flamboyant wild west style. With lots of practice at the shootin’ gallery below his daddy’s saloon, Miller grew up to be an accomplished marksman. He could throw a can into the air and hit it twelve times before it landed, and shoot chalk and cigarettes out of his wife’s mouth. (I always wonder how one goes about practicing a trick like that.)

Miller owned the Trail’s End dude ranch along the north fork of the Poudre River, but his business skills weren’t as sharp as his shooting. He lost the ranch, his wife divorced him, and, in 1946, his son was killed in a fire in Berlin. Miller then donated his stagecoach, formerly owned by Cody, to the city as a memorial to his son. Miller was also an artist who had taken classes at the Chicago Art Institute. In his later years, he exchanged his paintings for room and board at the Linden Hotel, where he died in 1953.

(Much of this information comes from Fort Collins Yesterdays by Evadene Burris Swanson. Pictures from the Fort Collins History Connection.)

Mystery Photo:
Last week's photo was of the big fish in Old Town Square.

Where in Fort Collins was this week's picture taken?


Excellent story about Showmen! You also included fantastic photos! My feet are always cold too! Thanks for visiting me and I look forward to seeing more of you! Julie
Unknown said…
I have never even heard of those men before what what a life they led. Thanks for the information.
Jenny said…
Thanks for stopping by!
Mickey Burdick said…
I love coming here because I always learn something new about the area. I've been in Colorado for YEARS, and I'm always sadly disappointed in myself for just how little I know about the history of the area.
Thanks for sharing!

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