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A brief history of areas of Fort Collins, Larimer County, Weld County

Many new residents and new businesses move into this region every year. We provide this page so that our new friends and neighbors can read about their new home and some of its history.

Earliest peoples

There is not complete agreement, but generally it is accepted that about 10,000 B.C. to about 5,500 B.C., ocean levels receded significantly during the last Ice Age. This may have allowed the land mass between Siberia and Alaska to be traversed on foot, and a major theory is that people walked from the Asian landmass to what is now North America. These people groups are usually known as the “Paleo-Indians”. Following them were the “Clovis people” during about 9,000 B.C. In order after them were: Folsom people, about 8,000 B.C.; Plano peoples from 8,000 B.C. to 5,500 B.C.; Larimer County has sites with graves, artifacts, and other evidences of the presence of these people groups. After this the Archaic and Plains Archaic from 5,500 B.C. to about 150 A.D., when the Ceramic period appeared.

After that time, the oral histories of the Arapaho, Cheyenne, Kiowa, and Commanche report their peoples having connections with this area. Arapaho oral traditions speak of Colorado as their heartland with the four major bands of Arapaho each favoring their own wintering locations.


The earliest contacts between Europeans and the Algonquian-speaking groups occurred possibly before 1750. Around that time the Cheyenne acquired horses, which were brought in by French, Spanish, and English explorers.

European Settlements

The trapper Antoine Janis led a group of trappers from Fort Laramie, Wyoming to establish a permanent settlement in 1858 about where Laporte is now located. Camp Collins was established in 1864 by the U.S. Army near present day Fort Collins. A small band of Northern Arapaho led by Warshinun Chief Friday was still in the area as they had no interest in the lands to the south where other Arapaho bands moved. This group of Northern Arapaho was friendly to the European emigrants and settlers and worked for local ranchers. By 1878 all the remaining tribes were moved to their respective reservations in several states.

As Camp Collins grew into the more significant Fort Collins, it in turn was incorporated as a town in 1873. It was named for Lt. Col. William O. Collins, who was a popular cavalry commander from Ohio whose troops were headquartered at Fort Laramie.

With the favorable location and climate, Fort Collins, Larimer County, and Weld County have all steadily grown in population as people from all over America sought to live in the Front Ranges of Colorado. Fort Collins is home to Colorado State University, it is about elevation 5,000 feet above sea level, and city limits cover about 57 square miles with a population of about 175,000.

Culture,  Recreation, and Neighborhoods

Parks abound in Fort Collins, with more than 966 acres, natural areas of more than 37,000 acres, hike/bike trails stretch more than 45 miles. Golfers can enjoy three public golf courses. Families can visit four public swimming pools, an ice rink and several community rec centers.

Public libraries are outstanding and count the Harmony Library, the Old Town Library, and the Council Tree Library. The Fort Collins Senior Center features a pool, billiards, track, crafts, gymnasium, spa, and a media center and library.

The city’s cultural arts center is named The Lincoln Center, which supports professional theater, music, children’s programs, dance, and visual arts. A botanic garden of 12 acres, The Gardens on Spring Creek hosts dozens of events and education programming. The history of Fort Collins and Larimer County is told at the Fort Collins Museum of Discovery.

Some Neighborhoods of North Fort Collins

Country Club Estates – even more spacious with many lots half an acre! Contains mostly roomy single-story ranches built during the 1970s back to 1960s, plus nine out of ten are owner occupied. And as the name suggests, the Fort Collins Country Club with its beautiful golf course are nearby.

Maple Hill – located near Richard’s Lake, Lindenmeier Lake, and Long Pond Reservoir, this neighborhood of newer homes is enjoys much recreation at hand (such as paddleboarding) not to mention the Fort Collins Country Club, and its own neighborhood pool and park, trails and open space.

Terry Shores and Terry Point - The waterfront location of both these these neighborhoods is tranquil and relaxing. Both single-family homes with large lots and mature landscaping, and townhomes that are a relatively lower maintenance option.

Some Neighborhoods of West Fort Collins

Brown Farm – first-time homebuyers love this affordable community and its quick access to downtown Fort Collins and to Colorado State University. Blevins Park offers a playground, picnic shelter, two sports fields and restroom facilities. No HOA.

The Ponds at Overland Trail – with 73 acres of open space up against the foothills. The natural walking paths are bordered by native grass to blend in with the Foothills Trail and Maxwell Natural Area. These single-family homes often back to open space with views from the back porch including nearby Horsetooth Reservoir, Lory State Park, and after enjoying the sunset, take the family to the Holiday Twin Drive-In Movie Theatre!

Poudre Overlook – Bike all the way to Old Town along the Poudre River Trail for live music. Take in some fresh mountain air in Lions Park. Only 12 minutes from the Poudre Canyon and Roosevelt National Forest. So for those who want to maximize their outdoors time in the mountains, consider this neighborhood located where the Poudre River crosses under the Overland Trail.

Some Neighborhoods of South Fort Collins

Huntington Hills – a family-oriented area with many attractions. Tennis courts, pool, Portner Reservoir, the foothills great outdoors also beckons. Baseball and a picnic at Fossil Creek Park may be calling your name.

Warren Shores – as the name reveals, this neighborhood next to scenic Warren Lake. These homes enjoy established landscaping. Easy access to the university, downtown shops, highways. A bonus are the parks: Golden Meadow Park, Landings Park, Warren Park.

Oakridge Village – this neighborhood contains a mix of mostly two-story homes with large lots, and several patio homes, to give a potential buyer many options. It is adjacent to an abundance of trails, has a large neighborhood park, and nearby Southridge Golf Course.

Southridge Greens – this unique neighborhood is in the top two percent of remote workers in America. Even though it is a high-income area it has a wide variety of property types of a range of prices for the benefit of different lifestyles. Its residents consider this quiet and peaceful area as quite safe.

Some Neighborhoods of East Fort Collins

Waterglen – green belts, open space, Rabbit Bush Park, easy access to I-25, mountain vistas to the west, much to like about this newer development including less yard maintenance. More time to stroll and get in your steps each day!

Bucking Horse – all the neighborhoods in East Fort Collins have in common the healthy living of outdoor spaces. Bucking Horse also has the feel of a country retreat with the artisan village Jessup Farm, and the planned working farm of Johnson Farm. After a workout in the Olympic-sized swimming pool, walk about and enjoy the farm to table restaurant, bike trails, open space, brewery, coffee shop, and the Prospect Ponds Natural Area.

Rigden Farm – this development has assortment of townhomes, condos, and traditional ranch and two-story homes, constructed from 2000 to 2011. Grocery stores and restaurants are an easy bike ride away. Enjoy Rigden Farm Park, bike paths, the neighborhood pool, Power Trail, Rendezvous Trail to explore the open space.

Some Neighborhoods of Central Fort Collins

Old Prospect – a central location that allows many residents to bike to work – residents in this neighborhood are in the top 1.0% of such neighborhood! And many here walk to grocery stores and the children to walk to schools.

Old Town – wide streets, large mature trees, beautiful homes and buildings dating from around 1900, Old Town Fort Collins is a delight to the eye. It is close to local shops and restaurants, Library Park, Old Town Square, and Colorado State University. Enjoy live music or a visit to a charming eatery with a patio looking over the Poudre River.

University Park – many lots are a quarter-acre. This spacious neighborhood is well established and shows off a nice variety of home styles that date back to 1889.