More Than Just a Boulevard in Town: Who Was Longmont’s Ken Pratt?
Did you know that Ken Pratt Boulevard was known as Florida Avenue prior to 1996? Millions of travelers have been on the thoroughfare since then; who was Ken Pratt?
There really aren't that many streets/highways that are named after local persons of interest in the Northern Colorado area. Ken Pratt Boulevard definitely stands out in that way; and it's not just some side street, it's Highway 119.
One of the major intersections in Longmont is on the south side of town at Main Street (Highway 287) and Ken Pratt Boulevard (Highway 119.) People pass through the intersection on their way south to Denver, on their way north into the Fort Collins area, east out to the interstate, and west to the Diagonal Highway into Boulder.
When a major street is named after someone, you become intrigued as to just who that person was. He wasn't a President (like Loveland's streets) or a mayor (like Denver's Speer Boulevard) or a type of tree (like in Fort Collins,) but he was a person who helped Longmont become the city it is today.
Kenneth Pratt was the grandson of M.E. Pratt. Though there isn't a huge amount of information about M.E., he began his residential real estate development firm, The Pratt Agency, back in 1912. The real estate firm also ran coal and fuel properties in the area.
M.E.'s son Harold took over the company from M.E. and helped to grow it into the biggest independent real estate agency in the Northern Colorado area. After Harold Pratt passed the agency/company down to Ken, Ken went big.
According to VisitLongmont.org, Ken Pratt oversaw the development of 2,000 homes in Longmont, and the agency developed or built over 2 million square-feet of business properties in Longmont. Ken Pratt was also a key figure in bringing Japanese business to Longmont in the mid-'90s.
Ken passed away in March of 1995 at the age of 53. just over a year later, in April of 1996, is when the city named the portion of Highway 119 (from Highway 287 to Hover Road) Ken Pratt Boulevard.