Driving down highway 287 North of Fort Collins is a giant boulder frequently wearing festive colors. You may have wondered about this boulder, its purpose, or maybe even its name. This week we would like to introduce you to Haystack Rock. In Fort Collins we have quite a bit of strange history. This rock is just a small sample of some of our flavorful local flair. But what is Haystack Rock?
Legend has it that a farmer once stacked hay up around the giant boulder to make the pile look larger than it was. Another individual inquired if the hay was for sale. They ended up striking a deal. Later the buyer returned to retrieve his hay and learned of his error when his pitchfork struck rock. That is how the 40 ton boulder came to be known as haystack rock.
What is Haystack Rock in Modern Times
However, it is perhaps the modern history of our local natural billboard that is the most interesting. In the 1980s the land underneath the boulder was purchased by the Northern Water Conservation District. Yet for 80 years prior it served as a free speech billboard most frequently utilized to advertise the rivalry between Colorado State University and the University of Wyoming. Their annual Border War football game has been played since 1899. Most of the frequent murals reference this rivalry. However, political statements and personal tributes to loved ones also make it onto Haystack Rock. It would seem that the longest Haystack Rock has gone without a repaint was shortly after the attacks on September 11, 2001. An unknown individual painted the rock with a giant American flag. This artwork stood without change for several years.
The Future of Haystack Rock is a little uncertain. Currently, it is in the projected area of a new reservoir should the Northern Integrated Supply Project or NISP move forward. The entire valley with haystack rock and highway 287 could very well be underwater. Northern Water Conservation District is considering moving Haystack Rock. However, its 40 ton size does pose a pretty extreme difficulty. Today the future is uncertain. However, you can still drive by and take in the view. At least for a little while.
As always we are happy to share our local history with you. If you have any questions about Fort Collins, we are your local experts. Contact us with your questions, or for a personal tour today.