Chamber of Commerce ‘boosted’ Berthoud in 1907

Tales of the Little Thompson
By Mark French
The Surveyor

In 1907, the Berthoud Chamber of Commerce "boosted" Berthoud by providing envelopes to local businesses that had a message promoting Berthoud. Dr. S.B. McFarland who had an office in the Kee & Lyon building on Massachusetts Avenue mailed this letter to friends in Fairplay, Colo., on Oct. 31, 1907.

In 1907, the Berthoud Chamber of Commerce “boosted” Berthoud by providing envelopes to local businesses that had a message promoting Berthoud. Dr. S.B. McFarland who had an office in the Kee & Lyon building on Massachusetts Avenue mailed this letter to friends in Fairplay, Colo., on Oct. 31, 1907. Mark French / The Surveyor

In September 1907, local residents organized a chamber of commerce to “boost” the Berthoud community. One of the first efforts of the organization was to craft a sales pitch that was printed on the back of envelopes used by local businesses. The photo of the envelope that accompanies this article was mailed by Dr. S.B. McFarland. In 1907 McFarland operated a medical practice in the Kee & Lyon Building at 333 Massachusetts Ave.

In 1907 there was an air of optimism in Berthoud. That year Berthoud contractor George Kee completed a two-story brick business “block” at the southwest corner of Third Street and Mountain Avenue that was leased by the Berthoud Chamber of Commerce for its headquarters. In 1905 and ‘06 the First National Bank of Berthoud, the Kee & Lyon building and the Masonic building had been constructed in the 300 block of Massachusetts Avenue. Equipped with the substantial brick buildings, Berthoud believed it was ready to blossom as the business capitol of southern Larimer County.

The Berthoud farming and business community was also savoring the sweet success of the Great Western Sugar Company in 1907. That year it was evident that sugar beets would not only provide local farmers with an important cash crop but also enrich the businesses of the town that were associated with agriculture. All of Northern Colorado shared in Great Western’s success, so Berthoud touted its central location “In the heart of Sugar Beet country.”

The chamber’s sales pitch also promoted Berthoud’s “Best Moral Conditions,” and “Thrifty, enterprising people.” In 1907 the town laid claim to United Brethren, Presbyterian, Methodist, Christian and Baptist churches that served 600 to 700 citizens as well as residents living in the outlying farm districts.

The community also had an active Anti-Saloon League chapter in 1907 that was led by blacksmith and Prohibition Party member Alfred G. Bimson. The organization had reason to celebrate in February 1907 when “Big Bill” Debolt, was pulled off a southbound train and arrested in Berthoud. Debolt, a back-alley whiskey dealer, was scorned by the Berthoud Bulletin as an “agent for Denver whiskey houses.”

The fledgling chamber of commerce also pointed out that a 60-mile segment of the Rocky Mountains could be viewed from Berthoud and that it was only a 40-minute drive to the foothills. “Rich Soil—Best Water—Good Roads,” and an invitation to “Write us—Come and see us,” concluded the chamber’s message.

In 1909 the Berthoud Chamber of Commerce’s publicity campaign discarded “in the heart of Sugar Beet country” and coined “The Garden Spot of Colorado” moniker that is still in use today. The “Garden Spot” name is still the envy of other towns in the region that continue to search for a fitting phrase that describes their community.