Northern Colorado History: Why the Choice City is Called Fort Collins
Fort Collins. Greeley. Loveland. Windsor. Wellington. It's no secret that Northern Colorado towns have a diverse set of names, but how did they get them?
If you've ever asked yourself that question, look no further. I'm launching a series to find out how the cities of Northern Colorado got their names. And first up, we're exploring the home of Cam the Ram himself: Fort Collins.
Turns out, FoCo residents owe their name to a man named Lieutenant Colonel William O. Collins (try saying that five times fast). Collins was a native of Ohio but made his way to Colorado after his cavalry was sent to the Overland Trail area around 1862, according to the Fort Collins History Connection.
As he was commander of the cavalry, the military fort set up near present-day Laporte soon became known as Camp Collins. However, it was not always smooth sailing for good ol' William...after facing problems such as starvation and altercations with Native Americans, Collins and his pal General Craig moved the camp to the area we call home today around 1864.
Collins moved back to Ohio after the military camp dissipated in 1867 (bye, Felicia), but many settlers remained in the area and began referring to it as Fort Collins.
It was established as a town in 1873, and went on to become an agricultural powerhouse by the 1920s. Colorado State University, then known as the State Agricultural College, opened a few years earlier in 1870.
Overall, Colonel Collins was a pretty cool dude. According to the late Barbara Fleming of The Coloradoan, he was known for having respectful relationships with Native Americans and his unwavering loyalty to his troops.
Not a bad guy to name a town after.