Berthoud Weekly Surveyor | Covering all the angles in the Garden Spot

McClung's Store

May 15, 2020 | Then and Now
Photo Courtesy of Berthoud Historical Society
Lee Orville McClung (far right) was one of the originators of Berthoud’s Flapjack Day in 1948. McClung, the operator of the town’s dry goods store, was active in several community organizations.

By Mark French

The Surveyor

From 1947 to 1958 McClung’s Store was located at 521 Third Street in Berthoud. That address was located south of Berthoud’s present-day Ace Hardware Store. Lee Orville McClung, owner and operator of the store, purchased the enterprise from Vern Cady who had been a local businessman since 1935. McClung’s Store was the place in Berthoud to buy dry goods including lines of clothing as well as sewing supplies and household items. McClung farmed the old Preffer place south of town for 22 years before he became a merchant in Berthoud at the age of 45. He later said that his farming years were the most enjoyable of his life.  

Lee Orville McClung was born in Berthoud in 1902. His father worked in a meat market located in a two-floor, frame building near the corner of 3rd Street and Massachusetts Avenue. The market building sat in the vacant lot immediately south of the present-day Castle Rug Company building. The structure (no longer standing) had been a store in the original Berthoud settlement on the Little Thompson river bottom before it was moved to the new town site in 1883.  Lee Orville was born in a drafty upstairs room that his parents had outfitted for living quarters.

Later the McClung family lived in a house at the southeast corner of Fourth Street and Massachusetts Avenue that was torn down in 1905 to make way for the Masonic Building. After that they resided in a dwelling at 618 5th Street and the old Preffer place south of Berthoud (present-day Paul Hicks farm).

Lee Orville McClung graduated in a class of 12 students from Berthoud High School in 1922. He then attended the state agricultural college in Fort Collins before marrying Miss Myrtle Carlson in Loveland in 1926. She remained his wife until her passing in 1969. She had lived eleven years after McClung had been told by doctors to sell his store and move to a different locality for the benefit of her health.

McClung was at the hub of local community affairs while operating McClung’s Store from 1947 to 1958. In 1947 he served as president of Berthoud’s volunteer fire department, an organization with which he was affiliated for 20 years. He was a member of the Chamber of Commerce committee that originated the annual Berthoud Flapjack Day in 1949. He served a one-year term as Chamber president in 1950 when the construction of Carter Lake was getting underway and changing the face of the Berthoud community.

McClung also belonged to the local Presbyterian Church, Odd Fellows lodge, and Little Thompson Grange No. 454.

McClung’s Store regularly advertised in the Berthoud Bulletin. In March 1950, for instance, McClung ran an advertisement in the local newspaper aimed at the “Easter Parade” and Berthoudites who might be shopping for infant’s bonnets, brightly colored scarfs, or men’s dress oxford shoes at the price of $6.95.  

After he sold his store in October 1958, McClung worked as an office manager at Valley Block and drove school bus for the Thompson Valley School District.

In June 1985 Lee Orville McClung, Berthoud’s oldest living native, was named Grand Marshal in the Berthoud Day parade. When asked how to be a success in life, McClung replied, “Have good will toward all people; give to your community and your family—you have to give in order to receive; and keep a cheerful mind and heart.”

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