How the Streets in the City of Fort Collins Got Their Names

While many often take the streets they drive on for granted the inquisitive among us may wonder how their names came to be. Wonder no more because today we will shed some light on how some of the more well known streets got their names. 

The first street that often comes to mind is College Avenue. This extension of Highway 287 runs North to South in Fort Collins and is essentially our main street. It probably isn’t hard to guess how College Avenue got its name considering it passed directly by Colorado Agricultural College or what is now known as Colorado State University. Similarly it isn’t hard to figure out where the East to West running Mountain Avenue got its name being one of the first major offshoots from College Avenue in Old Town and into the storied West.

Many of the streets in the Old Town Area that run East to West were named after trees. Take for instance Pine, Maple, Oak, Olive and Locust streets. This is in juxtaposition to North to South running streets which were named after historical Fort Collins residents. 

Another street worth mentioning is that of Elizabeth. At first glance this seems like a fairly pedestrian name, and in other cities you might well expect that a developer would choose to name the street after a significant person in their life. Yet this is not the case in Fort Collins. Elizabeth is named after Elizabeth “Auntie” Stone, a historical figure here in town who is best known for building the first permanent dwelling in Fort Collins.

Laporte in French roughly translates to “gateway” and as french trappers were some of the first non indigenous settlers to the area, and named several other things (Cache La Poudre anyone?). The trappers viewed the Fort Collins area as a gateway to the Rocky Mountains hence the street name Laporte which runs from East to West and into the foothills. Some also say this name was a tribute to the former Camp Collins which moved from the Laporte Area to Fort Collins after a flood in 1864.

Finally two fun facts. Did you know the longest street name in Fort Collins is Montezuma Fuller, which happens to be little more than an alleyway. Additionally, Larimer County’s “standardization of road naming criteria” prohibits the use of cardinal directions, North, South, East, West etc as street names.

How Northern Colorado Towns Were Named

Have you ever wondered How Northern Colorado Towns Were Named? Keep
reading to learn about the history of Fort Collins, Loveland, and Windsor.

How Northern Colorado Towns Were Named, Fort Collins

Fort Collins ColoradoFort Collins owes its name to a man by the name of Lieutenant Colonel William O. Collins. Collins was a naive of Ohio who came to Colorado when his cavalry was sent to the Overland Trail area in approximately 1862. He was the commander of the cavalry and set up a fort near the present day LaPorte. The fort became known as Camp Collins. In 1864 after many problems such as starvation and altercations with the Native Americans the camp was moved to where Fort Collins is today. By 1867 the military camp dissipated and Collins went home to Ohio. But many settlers began calling the area Fort Collins. It was established as a town in 1873.

So…how did Loveland get its name?

Loveland Sculpture ParkLoveland was named after another William. William Austin Hamilton Loveland was President of the railroad company Colorado Central. As was common in 1877 William Loveland was responsible for reaching agreements with land owners for the railroad to continue to be built across land. David Barnes gave permission for the railroad to continue through his wheat field. Barnes soon after decided that he would build a town around the railroad. After Barnes and Loveland became friends Barnes decided to name the town Loveland. Loveland did not settle in the town named after him, he went on to live in Golden, later moved to Denver where he lived until his death.

How about how Windsor was named?

American Widgeon Duck Fort Collins

Mr J.L. Hilton built a ranch on the land where the town of Windsor is today. On the ranch Hilton had an Inn for travelers. The travelers like to stay at the Inn because it was midway between Fort Collins and Greeley. That is a distance that is easily traveled today, but not in the 1800’s. Travelers started calling the place the “half way house.” This was certainly not a good name for a town. It was officially named Windsor in 1890. It was named after the Rev. Samuel Asa Windsor, a pastor that would occasionally conduct services in the town.

So that is How Northern Colorado Towns Were Named. If you are interested in the history of the area or just want to know what it is like to live here, contact us. We can provide you with a personalized tour of the region.