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Brush up on a bit of the past in our historic town! We’ve put together a few of our favorite historic places and landmarks for you to add to your itinerary. Learn about whats makes each of these spots so special!
Built in 1879, The Avery House was the family home of Franklin and Sara Avery and their three children. Franklin Avery surveyed the town in 1873, and we have him to thank for the wide streets throughout the city. He also later founded First National Bank and helped develop water projects enabling agriculture to flourish in northern Colorado.
The Avery House is located on the corner of Mountain Avenue and Meldrum Street in Old Town Fort Collins. The stunning structure was built of sandstone from local quarries and includes a carriage house, large yard, gazebo, and fountain. Honoring life at the turn of the 20th Century, the home operates as a museum and tours operate to provide an even deeper look into its history.
The 1883 Water Works was Fort Collins’ first public works project. Located along the foothills west of Fort Collins, the preserve sprawls over 23 acres with 4 buildings, 2 ditches, vintage apple trees, and more. Be sure to check out the original Gothic Revival style pump house, an example of late nineteenth-century industrial architecture.
To access, take the historic and beautiful Overland Trail which runs through the property.
For a truly historic trip down Mountain Avenue, the best ride is on Birney Car 21, also known as “Car 21” or just “Birney.” Part of the Fort Collins Municipal Railway, this iconic streetcar was painstakingly restored, along with the 1.5-mile line from City Park to Howes St., beginning in the late 70s and lasting 7 years. Although the complete restoration has been appraised at over $2.5 million, it was accomplished at no cost to the City, thanks to the non-profit, volunteer-based Fort Collins Municipal Railway Society. All material for restoring track were donated by local railroads and businesses, and the society even helped salvage rail from local railroads.
Next time you’re in Fort Collins on a summer weekend or holiday, keep your eyes and ears open for Birney as he rumbles and rings his way down Mountain Avenue!
The Cache la Poudre River National Heritage Area (CALA) runs a lengthy 45 miles, beginning in Larimer County and ending east of Greeley. This area includes the lands within the 100-year flood plain of the Cache la Poudre River. The river was named after French-Canadian trappers hid their gunpowder during a raging blizzard in the early 1800s, hence the name, “cache la poudre” or “hide the powder”.
The Cache la Poudre River Canyon is a haven of recreational opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts. Locals and visitors alike enjoy whitewater rafting (class I-V rapids), hiking, biking, camping, kayaking, and fishing, to winter sports like snowshoeing, cross country skiing and snowmobiling. Take a leisurely drive along the river to take in the awe-inspiring views and find the perfect picnic spot.
The Farm at Lee Martinez Park has provided hands-on family fun since 1985. This family-friendly farm features farm animals, antique farm equipment, and hands-on activities where you can learn more about the industry that shaped our region. The Farm serves as an educational and interactive experience for Fort Collins residents and visitors.
The Bee Family Centennial Farm Museum offers a one-of-a kind learning experience as you journey through time with the Bee family’s efforts to cultivate the arid prairie of Northern Colorado. Learn about the history of irrigation, the sugar beet industry and lamb feeding, as the young ones enjoy activities and animals.
In 1932, the American Legion George Beach Post #4 donated a cannon that was placed in City Park to honor World War I veterans.
In the early 1950s, playground equipment was installed on one side of the cannon, with another playground expansion in the 80s. Of course, the cannon was probably more fun to play on than the equipment, but the giant piece of artillery almost didn’t stick. After several years of back and forth, the century-old, 2,665-pound military cannon was finally restored and placed back in the park where it remains today.
Our little slice of Fort Collins is truly the place to be! This well-preserved downtown Fort Collins district includes over twenty restored historical buildings that are part of both national and local designated historic districts. Old Town Fort Collins was even the inspiration for Disneyland’s Main Street USA! Events and festivals in Downtown Fort Collins are a staple during nice weather with weekly free concerts, beer and food and music festivals. Browse about and take note of how our alleys have been transformed into European style walkways with potted flowers and Tivoli lights, and keep your eyes out for our infamous pianos about town.