Pioneer Potluck: About trolleys and little trains

City Park, Fort Collins, Colorado


About 1944-1953


Last week’s article about the Fourth of July picnics at City Park in Fort Collins brought many memories and comments from old friends and my sister, Ginger. I love to hear from all who read this column and welcome all your memories.

I was reminded that I forgot about the trolley that was such a delight for us farmer kids and adults alike. It started at the trolley barn at City Park and went downtown. My mind’s eye is a little sketchy but I do believe when the trolley conductor got to the end of the line he just walked to the back of the trolley, flip a switch and the back of the trolley became the front. Off we would go back to our destination at the City Park. (I am not sure of this)

I can remember how excited and thrilled I was thinking I was big enough finally to go on the trolley with my friends and none of my relatives! We would sit me jabbering and giggle, kicking our feet back and forth on the tall seats, all the way to town and back. We felt so independent and grown-up! I think I was all of 12 years old!

Later, if my teen farm girl friends were bored we would go to the City Park, watch the swimmers (none of us had swimming suits) and take a ride on the trolley. If the little train was running we would climb on board for a ride around the park. Then we would go back to the dock to watch the swimmers and look for good looking boys. Never found any! We would make comments like to skinny ... too old ... too young ... not good looking enough. If was fun!

I also was reminded of the little train that ran through the park, stopping close to the picnic table so little kids and mamas and daddies would pile in. With a little “toot-toot” off we go down the track around the park — once in a while the engineer would give out a little “toot-toot” to the delight of all the passengers. When it came to its destination we would all get off unless there was no one around to get on — then we would get to go around again! The “toot-toot” always and still does bring a smile

The park was divided by a little creek that had a rock bridge. When you walked over the bridge you were in the city cemetery. That is where the adults would go after the picnic to pay the respects to the relatives and friends and place little flowers or flags on the graves. My sisters and nieces go there on Memorial Day every year to decorate the graves of our relatives and friends. This is where our Dad and Mom now lay at rest in the beautiful tree lined cemetery.

The park also had a place for high school kids to go on Friday and Saturday night called Club Tico. I understand it is still there. I do not remember too much about this big gray building other than my mother did not allow me to go see what was inside, unless I was with my uncles Les and Marvin. I am sure I was a big aggravation because I wanted to see everything. I am not sure, but I think there was a roller skating rink inside. That is where I first saw my first vending machine — things in it cost all of a nickel and dime!

The big beautiful city lake had tons of ducks and geese on it. If you had a sack in your hand, full of popcorn or bread crumbs, they would come running up to you as they were well trained in begging for food. What a delight that was to watch all the friendly ducks and geese. In the spring ducks and goose eggs would be laying everywhere along the lake and in the grass. You had to be very careful not to step on the eggs. We would make a trip to town just to see the like baby ducks and geese once they hatched.

Two big duck eggs made it all the way back to Sidney, Nebraska where the little five-year-old girl had them in her bedroom for a long time until one day the smell in her room was out of this world! Come to find out the duck eggs had started to stink and had to be disposed of! I was warned by my forever “what-if” mother, not to touch eggs or the ducks or geese “because they may have germs on them!” My mother caused a lot of worry and caution about everything especially germs, through the years! Now I smile about it!

We hope you had a great Fourth of July — I gained a new deck onto the front of the house and peaceful days with Susan digging and planting a new beautiful flower and rose garden for us. Porter helped Bob with the deck and we all were very pleased at the result.


Helpful relatives and friends is what Alaska is all about!


Cut four medium zucchini in half and scoop out as much of the pulp that you can, being careful not to tear or cut the skin. Diced pulp and set aside. Put zucchini shells in oiled baking dish.

Sauté in 2 tablespoons of olive oil

2 tablespoons diced mild onion

The diced zucchini

1/2 teaspoon garlic salt

1/2 teaspoon minced garlic

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1/2 teaspoon oregano

1/2 cup bread fine crumbs

One package imitation crab chopped fine

Stir to blend everything but the bread crumbs. Stuff zucchini shells, piling high. Brush with melted butter and sprinkle with fine bread crumbs. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, a dash of cayenne pepper or paprika.  Bake it up 400° oven for 15 to 20 min. until the top is well browned.  Makes 8 servings. 


This is from the Recipe Box of Susan’s and can be found on page 124 of my cookbook “Grannie Annie’s Cookin’ Fish from Cold Alaskan Waters.”

1 pound lump crab or imitation works well too

3 tablespoons mayonnaise

Mix with:

1 egg

A dash of Worchestershire sauce

Old Bay Seasoning. About 1 teaspoon or to taste. 

1 teaspoon honey mustard

Add crabmeat and mayonnaise and mix well.

Cut crust from three slices of white bread. (This recipe says Wonder Bread!) Cut in 3/4 inch cubes. Mix with the above ingredients and form balls or patties... Fry in peanut oil or lard, (guess how old this recipe is?) Susan added a small amount of finely chopped onion.

Where to get Old Bay seasoning? I have found it in certain places now, in the past two or three years, but a good substitute is small amounts of basil, garlic salt, lemon pepper and parsley.  Enjoy this wonderful treat.



3 cups rhubarb diced

2 beaten eggs

1 cup sugar 

2 tablespoons flour

Mix and put into a well oiled 9 x 13” baking dish.

Mix the following topping and sprinkle over the top

3/4 cups brown sugar

1 cup flour

1/2 cup butter at room temperature

Bake 45 min. at 350°

Serve with ice cream or whipped cream

I make two pans of this and freeze one.



Sauté in 1 teaspoon butter in large saucepan

1 cup finely chopped onion

∏ cup celery

Add two cans of cream of potato, cream of celery, cream of chicken or cream of mushroom soup-undiluted. Or a two-can combination.

1 1/2 cups canned milk

3 small cans minced or diced clams with liquid

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon thyme-optional

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Heat slowly stirring constantly. Do not boil! Bring to simmer and ladle into deep bowls, dot with butter, sprinkle with parsley and pass the oyster crackers.  Dice crumbled bacon or shredded cheddar cheese can be added.  For dessert serve the following rhubarb bread pudding recipe.


This tasty dessert is just as good warm as it is served cold.

Eight slices day old bread toasted, remove crust if you wish, cut into cubes and placed in a buttered 1 1/2 quart casserole baking dish.

In a saucepan heat slowly

1/2 cups canned milk just until it bubbles around the side. Stir in 1/4 cup butter.

Pour over cubed bread, cover and let stand for 20 min.

In a mixing bowl stir:

5 eggs

3 cups chopped fresh rhubarb

1 1/2 cups white or brown sugar – I prefer the brown sugar.

1/2 teaspoons cinnamon

Stir to blend and pour over bread mixture

Top with 1/2 cup brown sugar blended with 1 teaspoon flour, ∏ cup crushed walnuts and ∏ teaspoon cinnamon. Bake at 350° for 45 to 50 min. This old recipe serves 6 to 8 people generously. 


1 cup self rising flour

1/4 cup mayonnaise

1/2 cup milk

1/2 teaspoon sugar

Mix all together and spoon into greased muffin tins. Bake 10 or 12 min. at 425°. Add shredded cheese or green chilies if you’d like.


I have no idea why this is called Russian!

3/4 pound flank steak (moose or beef) cut into thin slices-partially freeze first

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1 teaspoon olive oil

2 cups thinly sliced onions

8 ounces sliced mushrooms

1/4 cup beef broth

1/2 teaspoon garlic salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1/4 cup sour cream (fat free works)

2 tablespoons fresh parsley chopped

2 cups hot cooked rice of hot noodles

Combine thinly slices of steak and cornstarch in a small bowl, toss well. Heat oil in skillet over medium-high heat. Add steak and sauté 5 min. stirring and tossing. Add onions and sauté 1 min. Add mushrooms-cover and cook 2 min. Add broth, salt and pepper. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered 5 min. Remove from heat. Stir in sour cream and parsley. Serve with rice or noodles. Four servings.



1-30 ounce can each, pinto beans, pork and beans. Drain pinto beans, but save some liquid incase you need it.

1-16 ounce can lima beans-drained

1/4 pound bacon cut and browned

1 pound ground beef, add to cooked bacon

1 medium onion chopped. Add to beef and bacon and cook until done, drain thoroughly.

Place beans, bacon, beef and onions in crock pot.


1/2 cup Brown sugar

1/2 cup catsup

1/2 teaspoon garlic salt

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

Combine ingredients and bake in crock pot three hours. You may have to add some of the bean liquid.



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