Abner Loomis, an early leader in the development of Fort Collins, platted the Loomis Addition in 1887 along with Malinda Maxwell, whom he later married.
Loomis had first come to the area in 1860, and like many early settlers he was engaged in a number of enterprises including freighting, farming and cattle ranching. The Fort Collins Express described him as an “energetic factor in building up the country and [one who] has always been identified with the growth and progress of Fort Collins.” In addition to the Loomis Addition property, Loomis owned at least one building downtown and large parcels west of Washington Street.
The Loomis Addition consisted of fifteen blocks which encompassed the two main east-west avenues, Laporte and Mountain, which Franklin Avery had laid out to be 150’ and 140’ wide, respectively. The importance of these two avenues is apparent in the original plat map, which shows lots facing Laporte and Mountain, but not Oak, Olive, Magnolia or Mulberry.
To sell his lots, Loomis hired George Darrow, a Denver real estate broker who opened an office in
Fort Collins. Before its official June 1st opening, Darrow was advertising lots for sale in the Loomis
Addition, “the Capitol Hill of Fort Collins.” “Lots will be offered cheap, and very easy payments.
Interest 10 per cent, or 5 per cent off where a cash purchase is made.” In this case, “cheap” meant
$75 and up. On the day of the opening, Darrow had festooned the subdivision with red flags, as
noted in this newspaper clip: “’Tell me why Mr. Darrow keeps red flags floating from the block
corners of his new addition to Fort Collins,’ said one citizen to another. ‘To excite the real estate
bulls, of course. Ask me something harder.’”
Darrow came up with various schemes, including one in which he advertised an amazing attraction to
get people to see the lots.
At an enormous expense he has had that ancient and only original sea serpent brought from the salt waters of the Atlantic Ocean and deposited in a small fresh water pond in the Loomis Addition and has secured special excursion rates on all the railroads in the country to bring visitors to see the far-famed reptile. Of course when the crowd arrives there will be no difficulty in selling his lots.
According to a July, 1887 Fort Collins Courier article, eighty lots in the Loomis Addition were sold in the first month that it opened, possibly due to Darrow’s scheme of raffling off a house in order to sell lots. Abner Loomis hired contractor H.W. Schroeder to build a six-room, brick Eastlake-style
house at 121 North Grant as a speculative house, and offered it in a raffle to anyone who purchased a lot in the addition. The raffle was to be held when 200 lots had been sold, which was accomplished within a year. In a drawing held at the opera house on May 11, 1888, Mr. J. M. Fillebrown of Geneva, Nebraska,
was the lucky winner of the $3,000 house. Fillebrown sold the house a few months later to Arthur “Billy” and Alice Patterson for $1,200.
Mary Humstone, Rheba Massey, and Carly-Ann Anderson, Loomis Addition Historic Context, p. 18. Reprinted with permission from the City of Fort Collins. Funding for the Loomis Addition Historic Context was provided in part by a Certified Local Government grant through History Colorado.