Walking tour of Longmont's Historic Eastside Neighborhood is back by popular demand

·3 min read

Sep. 18—When Rick Jacobi strolls his east side neighborhood in Longmont, he sees more than homes and trees that have stood the test of time. For Jacobi, each building brings to mind the stories of those who helped to give the city its start.

To keep those stories alive, Jacobi will be teaching the neighborhood's history during two free walking tours next month. The Longmont Historic Eastside Neighborhood first put the opportunity together this summer in honor of the city's 150th birthday. More than 150 people showed up for the series.

Jacobi said he knew more people wanted to learn the history, so the Historic Eastside Neighborhood Association decided to revive the tours. The tours are free and open to the public and will take place at 9 a.m. Oct. 2 and Oct. 9. Those interested in joining are asked to meet at the west side entrance of the library, off Kimbark Street between Third and Fourth avenues.

Last winter, Jacobi began researching the neighborhood he calls home. The Historic Eastside Neighborhood stretches from Fourth to Ninth avenues between Emery and Martin streets. It is the city's oldest intact neighborhood.

"The history of the east side is the history of early Longmont," Jacobi said. "I learned we have inventors in this area. We have Olympians who came from the east side. We have a host of Civil War veterans, some of whom marched to Atlanta with (Union Gen. William) Sherman. You learn about all the people who are here."

Sharon O'Leary, co-chair of the Longmont's Historic Eastside Neighborhood Association, said she was excited to see the tour return, after such a positive response in July.

"I think the east side is often overlooked historically," O'Leary said. "I think everyone looks to the west side. We have some great founding fathers and mothers ... who are part of that historical and structural foundation of Longmont (and lived on the east side)."

Among the stops, people can learn about the James Wiggins house in the 500 block of Emery Street. Wiggins built the Callahan House, 312 Terry St., which today is a historic property and events venue with a lush garden. They can also learn about author Asa Maxton, who wrote a book on sugar beets, as well as Fay Garner, a cutting-edge tractor inventor; and see the barracks where German prisoners of war lived in the 1940s.

Jacobi on Friday took a walk from Collyer Park to the old Longmont Presbyterian College, which was built in 1886 and today is an apartment building. Just west of the red brick building, he pointed out a gray house at 537 Atwood St.

"You drive by and think what a nice house, but not a big deal," Jacobi said.

The home, Jacobi said, was built in 1907 by architect Peter Jacobsen, a Danish immigrant. Jacobsen built that home and many others for Longmont Sugar Factory employees. Jacobsen also helped to build Longmont's original city hall in 1883 at Fourth Avenue and Kimbark Street. That building, Jacobi said, was replaced in 1921.

"We talk little bit about the architecture, but it's really the people that make the community," Jacobsen said.

The walking tour is about 3 1/2 miles long and will take approximately three hours. People are welcome to divide the walking tour length in half and participate on both days, with a mid-way meeting point at Collyer Park, 619 Collyer St. A new feature to the fall tour is an online option. People can take the tour virtually at HENA80501.org.

"Really the whole idea is to share how special the neighborhood is with the community," Jacobi said. "A lot of people drive by and don't even know what's here. They see a bunch of old homes and don't really think about it, but there are incredible stories."

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