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Colorado Edition: Historic homes of Fort Collins

1969
Lesley Struc / Fort Collins Museum of Discovery
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The house on 308 Cherry Street in 1969. It was once home to Virgil Thomas, the first known African American to graduate from a Fort Collins high school.

Today, we’re delving deep into Fort Collins history through the stories of two homes.

Virgil Thomas became the first known African American to graduate from a Fort Collins high school in 1940. In September, the Fort Collins City Council voted to approve a landmark designation for Thomas’ historical home at 308 Cherry Street, making it the city’s first historical landmark that recognizes the city’s Black history. To learn more about this historical designation and its larger impact, we spoke with the home owner and lawyer, Kim Baker Medina, and a member of Fort Collins’ BIPOC Alliance Core Team, Rahshida Perez.

In the early 20th century, the sugar beet industry was a major economic empire along the northern Front Range. It drove population growth and the development of homes and neighborhoods that are still around today. One of these adobe homes still standing today was built in 1921 by Jose Dolores-Cordova and his family, who have been a part of Northern Colorado history ever since. Ashley Cordova, the great-granddaughter of Jose Delores-Cordova, tells us about the original adobe work and a century’s worth of Cordova family history.

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