Five Fascinating Things People Living in Fort Collins Have Learned About the City
If you live in Fort Collins or anywhere nearby in Northern Colorado, you've probably heard some fun tidbits about the city that you can share with family and friends when they visit. For example, who around here hasn't bragged that Disneyland's Main Street U.S.A. is partially inspired by Old Town Fort Collins?
I've lived in all of the "Big 4" of Northern Colorado in my 20+ years here -- Fort Collins, Loveland, Greeley and Windsor, that is -- at separate times, obviously. And I like to think that I know quite a bit about the history of the area. But it turns out there's a few things I didn't know and bet there's a few on this list you didn't know, either.
Fort Collins was a "dry" town for three quarters of a century, prohibiting the sale of alcohol in the city and only allowing 3.2% alcohol beer to be sold for a while.
Shocking, but true. The people of Fort Collins managed to pass full prohibition of alcohol in the city in 1896, which stayed on the books for a whopping 73 years. They began to allow what we know now as "3.2 Beer" right around 1935, when a little place called "The Town Pump" was granted a license to serve the tasty malt beverage.
Prohibition was fully repealed in 1969 and at 5 PM on August 8, Campus West Liquors opened its doors and sold the first legal spirits in the city in 73 years.
Did you know there's the remnants of an actual small town underneath Horsetooth Reservoir?
It's true! The town was called Stout, Colorado, and it was established roughly in the 1860's as a town for quarry workers in the area. The Union Pacific Railroad built a track up there, allowing the quarries to receive supplies and to send stone down into Fort Collins, Denver and the State of Nebraska, where many sidewalks are made from the stone mined there.
Legend has it that Stout ended up a bit of a party spot, where the people who lived in Fort Collins would eventually start to visit to get their fill of alcoholic beverages during the city's "Prohibition Years."
Eventually, drunk driving became an issue, so the town was abandoned in 1949 to make way for what is now, of course, Horsetooth Reservoir. There are still some visible foundations under the water, allegedly, at the south end of the reservoir in the "South Bay" area.
There's a walking ghost tour in town that's allegedly pretty awesome.
They promise that you'll visit Old Town's most haunted sights in and under the city. That's right. UNDER the city. You didn't know there was an "under" the city, did you? It's a guided tour and rates very well on the usual travel and review sites.
Civilization on Harmony Road basically didn't start until Lemay Ave. until not all that long ago.
Going back even just 20 years ago, you could exit I-25 at Harmony and cruise west into Fort Collins without seeing so much as some livestock until you hit Lemay. Right about the time Cinemark in Fort Collins opened at Harmony and Timberline in October of 2000, other stores opened and began to develop that area. Year by year, much like a video game, civilization crawled its way out toward I-25 to where we know it today.
Jake Lloyd, the kid who played Anakin Skywalker in Star Wars: Episode 1 - The Phantom Menace is from Fort Collins.
So is John Heder. You might know him better as Napoleon Dynamite. Also Sargent Taggart from the Beverly Hills Cop movies, a.k.a. John Ashton. Not to be confused with John Astin, who played Gomez Addams on The Addams Family, but I bet it happens a lot.
Fort Collins Businesses of the Past
Longest-Standing Downtown Fort Collins Businesses