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Fort Collins Most Iconic Signs – Todd’s Top Five

Photo by Todd Harding

There are a number of signs in Fort Collins that could be considered iconic. Which is the most iconic? It could one of the many ghost signs that appear throughout Old Town or the emblem that represents tradition at Colorado State University. We have compiled our list of “Fort Collins Most Iconic Signs”.


 

Ranch-Way Feeds has been operating in Fort Collins since 1968, although there has been a mill on the site since 1868. (415 Linden Street) There are a couple of signs on the building, but the one on the grain elevator has stuck out as an iconic beacon for 5 decades. The Ranch-Way feeds sign is #5 on my list.

 
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Fort Collins has become famous for its ghost signs. These are signs that were painted decades ago, but were forgotten when new buildings or additions were built that covered them up. Old Town has at least half a dozen of these signs. Many have recently been brought back to life. One of the best is the Owl Cigar sign at 125 South College. It is on the rooftop patio of The Mainline (An Ale House) . It's #4 on my list of "Most Iconic Signs in Fort Collins".

 
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When you think of Old Town Fort Collins, you think of the Northern Hotel. (172 North College Avenue) The hotel was built in 1873. It was run as a hotel until the 1990s, when it was shut down for about a decade. In 1999 it was acquired by a group that refurbished the building. The upper 3 floors were converted to apartments for low income seniors. The 1st floor is occupied by businesses such as Starbucks and Spoons. The sign out front has changed over the years, but the iconic building and history behind the Northern Hotel kept their sign at #3.

 
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#2 on my list almost didn't make the list because it isn't really a sign...or is it? It's the CSU "A". There is no question that it is iconic. You will find it on the hill behind Sonny Lubick Field at Hughes Stadium. You can see it all along the Front Range. It's been there since 1923. Before 1957, Colorado State University was referred to as Colorado Agriculture and Mechanical College or "Colorado A&M". The "A" represented the Aggies mascot. Each fall, freshman football players and several campus organizations give the "A" a fresh coat of white paint.

 
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There was no debate about "Fort Collins Most Iconic Sign". It's The Coca-Cola/Angell's Delicatessen Sign in Old Town. It was painted in 1958 by local sign painter Dan Brown, who received $400 for the job. It is painted on the brick at Coopersmith's Pub and Brewing. (#5 Old Town Square) Just recently it was refurbished with money from a grant from the State Historical Fund. When you see that a picture of that sign, you know you are looking at Fort Collins. Iconic!

 
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