Loveland Memories



Skateland a Go-Go!  Who could forget?  But it couldn’t hold a candle to the Rialto.  The balcony at the Rialto was the best.  When we were young, the Rialto was known as the “Big Show” and cost 15 cents.  The “Little Show”, at 10 cents, was on the corner of 4th and Jefferson.  On Saturdays, for 25 cents, you could spend all morning at the “Little Show” watching a serial, like The Range Rider with Jock Mahoney, and a full feature consuming popcorn, candy and pop.  Did you ever go to the Rialto on Halloween?  They showed thriller movies until midnight and served apple cider.


Remember the City Dairy and Magruder’s Grocery right across the street?  There used to be little grocery stores on many corners back in those days, including Wooley’s on 6th Street across from Truscott.


In the summer, the swimming pool was bliss, replete with sno-cone stand and a 12-foot diving board.


In those days J.C. Penney didn’t have cash registers.  When you purchased something, the sales clerk would put the money and receipt in a tube, pull a cord, and the tube would be sent up a wire to the cashier on the mezzanine (where the ladies’ apparel was).  The cashier would make change and send the tube back down.


Macy’s, Draper Drug  and Woolworth’s were also on 4th, as were McCauley’s Jewelry, Hancock’s Photography, Brown’s Shoe Fit, The Hub, and the Home State and First National Banks.  On Highway 34 there was the Dude Corral and the A&W (which is still open).  Fort Namaqua was farther west.  Did you know about the old Indian graveyard on West 1st and Fort Namaqua Road?  All along Highway 34 were cherry stands, where you could buy pies and cherry cider.


Taft Road was a dirt roller coaster all the way to Fort Collins.  When you came to Factory (now Madison) you were at the east end of town and when you hit Taft you were close to the west end.  Derby Hill Market was practically in the country south of town.


As a kid, you could be gone all afternoon in the summer, playing or exploring, and your parents never worried about you as long as you got home in time to clean up for supper.   Most of us had a healthy respect for the Loveland Police Department.  They always seemed to know what we were up to, but acted as watchful protectors, like when we’d run around town in the middle of the night during a slumber party, or perform a Chinese fire drill at a red stop light.


Were you ever in the Pet and Doll Parade? What public grade school did you attend?  There was Lincoln Stinkin’, Washington Washtub, Garfield Garbage Can and Big Thompson (Bit T), which never merited a pejorative nickname.  Remember the track meets?  Lincoln’s colors were black and orange.  Washington’s colors were green and white, Garfield’s red and white, and Big T’s blue and white.  The colors were flown on the flagpole in front of the Community Building after the track meet, with the winner’s colors on top.  Big Thompson never won!


And in high school, Rag Day was a huge event, with elaborate costumes and fierce competition for the best skit.  Choir and band concerts, musicals, plays – we were given lots of opportunities to perform.


There were some big events during our school days.  In October 1962, we were waiting for the bomb to fall during the Cuban Missile Crisis.  Where were you when you heard that President Kennedy had been shot?  The Cold War made the international scene uncertain and frightening, and the government put out instructions on how to build and provision bomb shelters.  We tried not to think about it all too much, and our lives went on.


Of note is the fact that we were the first generation to recognize pizza as the perfect junk food.  Now it is the most popular item sold in restaurants, even more than hamburgers.  Such importance should not be overlooked.  Pizza Roma was on 7th and also in Fort Collins.

We had Santeramo’s on 6th Street, about ˝ block east of Safeway.  They had pineapple topping and cut their pizza in square slices.  Mr. and Mrs. Bernard and their son Mike made Santeramo’s the absolute best.  Although Santeramo’s is gone, Mike is still making pizzas at his Justine’s Pizza on West Eisenhower.  Today you have to ask for the square cut.


We used to cruise Lincoln and Cleveland, when they were both boulevards with beautiful medians, and we could see who was out and about.  Workman’s Drive-in was a place to see and be seen.  There was tennis, basketball and kiss-and-tell-hide-and-seek at Lakeside Park.


Where did you go with your sweetheart to make out?  The Pines or Sunset Drive-ins, Horsetooth Reservoir, the lights of Loveland (a.k.a. Namaqua Hills), or maybe you went to Chasteen’s Grove or west to the picnic grounds at the Light Plant.


Klitzke’s Bicycle Shop was across the street from the Community Building and the Gingham Inn was next door.  The Dinner Bell had THE best pecan pie in town.  Remember the Loveland Creamery across the alley from the Community Building – great malts! There was a little hamburger place behind Draper Drug, a counter and stools, where you could get full for $1.00, and sick for $1.50.  Johnson’s Corner and the Lincoln Café were the only places in town to eat after 7:00 PM.


There was the Great Western Sugar Factory east of town – remember the 5:00 whistle?  The pickle vats were along the railroad tracks between 6th and 7th.  On the west side of town was the Nehi Pop Bottling Company, and the plaster mill was north of Highway 34 by Devil’s Backbone.


What beautiful country to grow up in!  Cherry orchards were everywhere.  Trees lined the winding Big Thompson River, and what a spectacular drive to Estes Park.  We had picnics by a lake among summer pines, enjoyed golden aspens in the fall, and viewed elk in herds.  The mountains were always our companions to the west.