History of Fort Collins

History of Fort Collins

Fort Collins, originally named Camp Collins, was formed in 1862 by a group of soldiers from the 9th Kansas Volunteer Cavalry as a means of protecting the settlers and travelers as they journeyed the Colorado branch of the Overland Trail. The name of Camp Collins was given to the fort in honor of Lieutenant Colonel William O. Collins. Collins was the well-loved and respected commander of the Ohio Cavalry troops who were headquartered at Fort Laramie.

In the summer of 1864 a devastating flood forever changed the history of Fort Collins. Huge cascades of water flooded the camp forcing soldiers to seek shelter on higher ground. Torrents of water sheathed the one large camp, only sparing the rooftops of several cabins. The soldiers escaped, forming a new encampment near what is known today as Old Town.

The soldiers soon found a new location for the camp. The land on the Cache la Poudre River was the perfect place for the new encampment. The land for the post of Fort Collins was set aside on August 20, 1864. Today, it is this day in August which is honored as the official birthday of the city.

The area remained a military post until September of 1866 when the last of the soldiers emptied from the fort. There were a few farms and ranches surrounding the fort which remained populated despite the abandonment by the military forces. Eventually settlers made their homes within the abandoned military post and some also settled in the area known as Old Town.

Only ten years later, the former military installation had acquired a bustling collection of shops and civic buildings. By 1872 the emerging town was home to a post office, a hotel, a general store, a school and a brick yard. In 1877 the railroad arrived and soon Fort Collins grew with rapid speed as a thriving center for agriculture.

Today Fort Collins is a vibrant city with a population of more than 70,000 people. From its early beginnings to present day, the city owes much of its success and growth to its great location and mild climate. For more information about the thriving Colorado community, its residents, businesses and great events, please visit www.fortcollins.com.