Are you the type of person who likes history and architecture? How about art and French culture? Or, perhaps, you’re the type of person who likes to go to open houses even though you are definitely not in the market, nor will you be in the foreseeable future, but there’s usually food and creeping through other people’s houses is fun? No? Just me? Well, even if you only check two of these three boxes, there’s an event coming up in late September that somehow covers all them, and it’ll be right here in Fort Collins.


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From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on September 14, the Poudre Landmarks Foundation will be hosting their Plein Air Artists Paint Out and Pop-Up Gallery and 35th Annual Historic Homes Tour. And if that’s not enough of a mouthful to intrigue you, then I have nothing else for you. But in all seriousness, this tour allows for you to explore six private homes, a historic inn, and two historic city buildings around Fort Collins, all at your own pace. Each building has been carefully maintained to stick to the standards of their era and original architecture, most of which date between 1879 and 1961. Also, all of the structures exhibit design styles indicative of the period, which all somehow have names that could just as easily be applied to cakes as to houses: Victorian, Italianate, Cottage, American Foursquare, Masonry Ranch, and Minimal Traditional. But besides getting to see houses you can imagine your great great grandmama living in, you’ll also get to see The Edwards House Inn, the 1879 Avery House, and the 1883 Water Works. Each location will have people to guide you through your house-history journey, and will explain the various architectural features, historical highlights, and preservation details for each building. Plus, ticket holders will get to ride the ever-elusive Fort Collins trolley for free between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m.  




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But didn’t I mention something about French and art? Yeah, I did—way to pay attention. For the first time, the Historic Homes Tour will include local artists out ‘en plein air’ (which is translated as ‘in full air’ if you speak high school French, and just as ‘outdoors’ if you speak fluent French) at each of these historic buildings. You’ll watch artists work on original compositions in the idyllic gardens of these lovely homes, pieces which will then be included at a pop-up art gallery at the Avery Carriage House (108 N. Meldrum St, Fort Collins). The gallery will be open for business from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m., but you don’t need to have a ticket to attend—which is good, because everyone should be allowed to wear fancy scarves, sip wine, and get in touch with their inner art critics.

The artists who will be featured at the gallery include Kevin Aldrich, Kay Borrett, Marilynn Brandenburger, Jenifer Cline, Andrea Gabel, Neilia Harper, Victoria Lisi, Tirsh Murtha, Scott Ruthven, Susan Taylor, and Sue Yuma.

Tickets to the Historic Homes Tour are $25 now and $30 (plus a hint of your dignity) if you buy them the day of. If you want to get them in advance, you can go to this website or get them at the following stores around FoCo:

  • Ace Hardware of Fort Collins, 1001 E. Harmony Rd
  • Downtown Ace Hardware, 215 S. College Ave.
  • Fort Collins Nursery, 2121 E. Mulberry St.
  • Josephs’ Hardware & Home Center, 2160 W. Drake Rd.
  • Perennial Gardener/Sense of Place, 154 N. College Ave.

You also get to feel good about yourself once you buy tickets, because proceeds from the event support the Poudre Landmarks Foundation, a nonprofit that works to preserve, restore, and protect Fort Collins’ historical buildings and culture.

So, everyone, go forth and creep. For educational purposes only, of course.

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