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11/15/2011 - NEWS RELEASE: Hidden Treasures, Forgotten Mystery and the Art of Restoring Avery Block Building






Fort Collins, Colo. – Nov. 15, 2011 – From unsolved murder mysteries to forgotten prismatic glass, the restoration of the iconic Avery Block Building in the heart of Old Town has uncovered a century’s worth of forgotten treasures, all of which are now shared at www.averyrestoration.com. The history of Franklin Avery and his building are also presented in a series of museum-style sidewalk posters at the construction site.

Created by Heath Construction, prime contractor for the Avery restoration project, the colorful online gallery features historical information, a blog and photos. Heath will regularly update the website with the latest finds as workers continue to unlock more than 100 years of secrets while they return the building to its rightful place as the “Grande Dame of Fort Collins.”

Visitors to the building can stroll among large sidewalk displays filled with old photos and engaging narrative about Avery and the famous building, life on the corner of “Main and Main” over the years, details about famous Fort Collins historical restorations and informative facts about the art and science of the Avery Building restoration.

“The website and sidewalk displays are ideal for community members interested in learning about the history of our town’s focal point and following along as we restore this beautiful building,” said Randy DeMario, Heath president. “We’d like to raise awareness of all the wonderful restoration projects that have contributed to the beauty of our community.”

Website visitors will learn that as Heath workers and subcontractors plunged into the labor of love in September, a variety of exciting discoveries began to unfold. Workers were thrilled to find that most of the building’s original prismatic glass transom windows had survived. Concealed for decades behind layers of paint and metal sheathing, these relics of turn-of-the-century style were designed to increase natural light levels indoors. With the growing dominance of electricity in the 1930’s, prismatic glass fell out of favor and these lovely transom windows were covered in subsequent makeovers of the building.

The website also presents the mystery surrounding the untimely demise of the Avery’s brother, William Avery, who was a wealthy and influential businessman in the community who died of a stomach disorder in the summer of 1890. Public grief turned to shock when it was discovered William’s widow secretly married his former business partner just 12 days later. What followed was a dramatic trial, arrests, an exhumation that determined William had been poisoned with arsenic, and a near-lynching in what presiding Judge Ballard described as “the most celebrated criminal case ever tried in the courts of Colorado.” Details of the dramatic trial are featured on the website, including lengthy quotes from original newspaper articles.

Website visitors also will discover that the 115-year-old building, called the “height of Fort Collins’ Victorian architecture,” originally housed stores and offices in addition to Avery's First National Bank. Over the years, however, the combination of Father Time and numerous renovations took their toll on the local landmark. With an important piece of Fort Collins history beginning to fade, a team including the current owners, state and Fort Collins officials and award-winning architects called on the healing hands of Heath Construction to breathe life back into the stately structure.

“Historic preservation is a never-ending process of discovery,” DeMario said. “Because we’re committed to building our sense of community, we want to help residents learn more about the fascinating history of the Avery Block Building, as well as the present-day story of how an Old Town building of this magnitude is being restored to its original grand state.”

For more information, contact Heath Construction at 970-221-4195 or visit www.averyrestoration.com.

About Heath Construction
Heath Construction, founded in 1977, is one of Northern Colorado's premier construction companies. Over the years, Heath has significantly contributed to the economic vitality of Fort Collins and the region, with its experienced staff completing virtually any project imaginable – from local restaurants and retail tenant improvements, to U.S. military facilities, primary schools and university facilities, parks and streetscapes, assisted-living facilities and churches. Learn more about the company at www.heathconstruction.com or call 970-221-4195.