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Designated Landmarks

Fox-Downer House
920 3rd Avenue

Landmark Designation: 1986

Construction Date: 1897

Architectural Style: Edwardian Vernacular

Jarvis Marvin and Lida Cole Fox were married in 1864. J.M. Fox operated a flour mill with his brother in Riverside, Illinois. Following the death of their son. J.M. and Lida headed west with their daughter, Mabel Fox, and joined the Second Chicago-Colorado Colony which arrived in Longmont in 1872.

In the year of their arrival, J.M. built the first flour mill in Longmont. In 1873, he signed the Town's incorporation documents and became one of the "founding fathers" of Longmont.

It is reported that the first flour ground at the mill was taken home to Lida who baked the first loaf of bread from locally milled flour. The mill was located on the south corner of 3rd Avenue and Main Street. J.W. Denio came with Fox from Illinois and was employed by Fox as a miller for a year and a half.

Mr. Fox had a series of business partners in the milling business and in the late 1880's or early 1890's, Mr. Fox gave up the milling business and went into the cattle business in Wyoming.

The Fox family was active in both establishing the Episcopal Mission and later in the construction of St. Stephen's Episcopal Church.

The Fox's had two additional daughters upon relocating to Longmont. Julia died at age 4 and Ethel died at age 27. The surviving child, Mabel married Frank M. Downer in 1884.

Frank Downer came to Longmont in 1881. He became associated with the Emerson and Buckingham Bank. He served as the town clerk from 1883-1884, later as town trustee, and finally was elected as Mayor in 1898. He also served as chairman of the Boulder County Republican Party. Frank Downer's contribution to the area's sugar beet industry was even greater than that of Fox to the wheat economy. The area's farmers were desperately seeking to raise sugar beets but had no readily accessible sugar processing factory. The result was a concentrated effort by farmers and businessmen to attract this new industry to Longmont. Downer became an officer of the newly former Longmont Beet Sugar Company, later named the Longmont Sugar Company. The Company existed on paper only because of the lack of a sugar mill. Downer made several trips to New York at his own expense to convince H.O. Havemeyer to build a factory in Longmont. After several false starts, a commitment from the American Beet Sugar Company was obtained. In mid-October 1903, the first sugar beets were delivered to the new factory which was built east of town on the Secor property. In 1905, the factory became an integral part of the Great Western Sugar Company.

Downer sold his commercial interests and was appointed the first superintendent of the Denver Mint in 1907 and served until 1913. He later served as Denver's Manager of Safety from 1910-1912.

Reference
HPC 1986-3