Northern Colorado History, Legends and Lore

Every place has its unique legends and lore that make it special. Sometimes it is only the long term residents who know these stories. However, even well seasoned locals might learn a thing or two from the legends below. It’s time to learn some Northern Colorado history, legends and lore.


First of all did you know that Fort Collins used to have a subway system in the early 1900’s. It was designed for the worlds fair and contained underground restaurants and shopping. Unfortunately, because of the proximity to the Poudre River the tunnels would routinely flood and it had to be shut down. Well now you too can embellish history a bit as this legend is one without any merit. There has never been a subway in Fort Collins. However, this continues to be a popular urban legend about our special community. Maybe someday we will be able to ride the underground rails from one end of town to the other. Until then there is always the Max bus line. You can read more about this myth at Fort Collins History Connection.

While Fort Collins never had a subway it is known for its very real trolley line. This is the Fort Collins Municipal Railway. Trolley 21 and 23 are restored versions of the original trolleys. These used to run back and forth to Old Town. Today they run only on Saturday and Sunday afternoons during the summer. Tickets are relatively cheap at $2 for adults. So this is an adventure everyone who lives in the area should try at least once. You can find out more about riding the trolley yourself at their website.

More Northern Colorado History, Legends and Lore

Our next piece of Northern Colorado history legends and lore is how the Poudre River got its name. According to legend there were French Canadian fur trappers in the area in the 1820’s who were stuck in a snowstorm. They decided to hide their gunpowder along the banks of the river in order to lighten their load. In French Cache a la Poudre, translates to cache the powder. Moreover, while the actual date of this event and who it was who hid their power are not fully known this event led to the naming of the river Cache La Poudre River, or the Poudre for short.

For the final historical fact there used to be a brick factory at the location of what is now the parking lot for Devils Backbone Open Space. Although it has received a healthy dose of graffiti over the years. When you see it take a minute to imagine what is built with those bricks. If you are curious about Northern Colorado we would love to tell you more. Contact us today.

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.