A guest blogger for History Colorado, Brian Cooke has worked as a writer and editor for more than twenty years. His past volunteer work has included leading night tours on Alcatraz and answering questions at Deadman Lookout Tower near Red Feather Lakes, Colorado. Brian currently writes for a market research firm and for the US Forest Service. He also writes blogs for Visit Fort Collins.
the disCOurse is a place for people to share their lived experiences and their perspectives on the past with an eye toward informing our present. Here, as devastating wildfires burn throughout Colorado and across the West, Brian Cooke looks at fire from the vantage of historic fire lookout towers.
One can only imagine their sense of both frustration and hope as they toured Colorado, which in 1893 had become the first state to prohibit discrimination against women voters; nearly a quarter-century later, a woman’s right to vote had yet to be recognized as national law.
While lots of cities had electric-powered streetcars, trolleys, and trams during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, relatively few had Birneys.
Birneys were the Volkswagen Beetles of the streetcar world: They were small, light, mass-produced, and relatively affordable. About six thousand of them were built from 1915 until 1930. Today only a handful of Birneys are left in the world, and perhaps a dozen of them are still being operated as rail lines.
Fort Collins’s Birney Car 21 is one of them, and it turns a century old this year. Its full name is Fort Collins Municipal Railway’s Birney Car 21, but people also call it “Car 21” or just “Birney.”