The history of Mrs. Brown’s Welch Avenue home

The Mrs. Eler Brown house at 349 Welch Ave. in Berthoud was built by contractor John A. Bell in 1904. Mrs. Brown lived in the three-room house for a few months before renting it to Mr. and Mrs. C.A. Rockwell. Mark French / The Surveyor

The Mrs. Eler Brown house at 349 Welch Ave. in Berthoud was built by contractor John A. Bell in 1904. Mrs. Brown lived in the three-room house for a few months before renting it to Mr. and Mrs. C.A. Rockwell.
Mark French / The Surveyor

Mrs. Eler Brown house was among first built on Berthoud’s Welch Avenue

Tales of the Little Thompson
By Mark French
The Surveyor

The house at 349 Welch Ave. was built by Mrs. Eler Brown in 1904. Located at the southeast corner of the intersection of Fourth Street and Welch Avenue, the quaint frame dwelling was constructed at a time when Berthoud was in the midst of a building boom. The house was one of the first in town to be built by contractor John A. Bell. Bell became the town’s leading builder and built homes, banks, churches and business buildings in the community over the next half-century.

Only a handful of houses lined Berthoud’s Welch Avenue in 1904. The residence Brown contracted Bell to build in April 1904 was among the first to be built, but many more followed in the coming years. The Fenton Hotel at the northwest corner of Fourth Street and Welch Avenue was built in the fall of 1905. Other homes in the Welch Avenue neighborhood constructed that decade included the Frank McAllaster home at 436 Welch (1904), the Lew Hertha home at 416 Welch Ave. (1905), the Charles Glazier home at 622 Welch Ave. (1906) and the Clyde Jefferes home at 156 Welch Ave. (1907).

Brown, formerly Mary Elizabeth Langston, was born in Buchanan, Mich., in 1846. She married Eler Brown in 1864 and the couple lived in Ohio, Tennessee and Kansas before they came to the Berthoud area in 1891. They followed Mary’s father and a brother who had settled west of Loveland in 1871. The children of Eler and Mary Brown either accompanied them or eventually joined them in Colorado.

Once in Berthoud, Eler and Mary took up a life of farming and ranching. In 1899, they purchased a 160-acre farm from real estate developed George W. Kee. The ranch was located northeast of the present-day intersection of Highway 56 and Larimer County. Road 23. In later years the farm was known as the Phil Reisbeck place. The Berthoud Fire Protection District’s rural fire station is located there today.

In April 1903, 63-year-old Eler died at his home three miles west of Berthoud. His services were held at the Presbyterian Church. He was buried in Greenlawn Cemetery. By April 1904, his widow Mary had left their country home and hired John A. Bell to build a home for her at 349 Welch Ave. in Berthoud. Bell constructed the three-room dwelling at a cost of $900. Brown resided there briefly and in January 1905 rented the house to Mr. and Mrs. C.A. Rockwell.

Mary died in Berthoud in 1925 and was buried in the family plot at Greenlawn Cemetery. Where she resided from 1905 until the time of her death is not presently known.

The house at 349 Welch Ave. in Berthoud has the distinction of being one of the first local building projects to be completed by Bell. In 1904, Bell built Brown’s house at 349 Welch Ave., Harry Niven’s house at 847 Sixth St., and the United Brethren church at the northeast corner of Fourth Street and Mountain Avenue. That year Bell also installed a new roof on the old United Brethren church at 348 Turner Ave. and purchased lots on which to build his own home at 617 Sixth St.

Old telephone directories reveal that many different families have lived in the home at 349 Welch Ave. Emerson Stowell resided there in 1947 as did Clyde Crayne in 1952. In 1953 and ’54 Albert J. Schleiger occupied the home. The Kerk Trucking Company operated a business from the premises in 1956, but nothing is known about that enterprise at the present time.