About an hour's drive from both Denver and Boulder, Fort Collins, Colorado, rests on the edge of the Cache La Poudre River, in the eastern foothills of the Rocky Mountains. Fort Collins is known as an outdoor sports haven and boasts a flourishing beer industry, fueled by such local manufacturers as Anheuser-Busch and New Belgium Brewery, and the ubiquitous thirst of the students of Colorado State University.
Originally founded as a U.S. military and trading outpost in the mid-1800s, Fort Collins underwent a large-scale building boom in the 1880s due to the arrival of several railways and an active agricultural economy. With a population of around 130,000, Fort Collins is consistently recognized as one of the most progressive and livable cities in America, dedicated to the preservation of both its rich cultural and historical heritage and its abundant natural treasures.
ECONOMY AND INDUSTRIES
The economy of the city is well balanced and is a mix of manufacturing and service-related businesses. The city is home to firms such as, Hewlett Packard, Woodward Governor and Anheuser-Busch. A large number of high-tech companies have resettled to Fort Collins because of the resources of Colorado State University and its research facilities. Intel, AMD, Avago, National Semi-Conductor, LSI, and Pelco are also headquartered in Fort Collins. Other strong industries include clean energy, bioscience and agri-tech businesses.
The major sectors preferred by the residents of Fort Collins are educational services, health care, construction, professional, scientific and technical services, accommodation and food services, and computer and electronic products. Major employers in and around Fort Collins include Colorado State University, Poudre Valley School District, Hewlett Packard, Poudre Valley Health System, Eastman Kodak, Larimer County, Agilent Technologies, the City of Fort Collins, Celestica Colorado, LSI Logic, Advanced Energy Industries, Anheuser-Busch, Woodward Governor and Waterpik.
NEIGHBORHOODS AND DISTRICTS
The city of Fort Collins comprises some distinctive neighborhoods:
- Downtown/Old Town Fort Collins is centered on the intersection of College Avenue and Mountain Avenue just blocks north of the Colorado State University campus, many of the ornate art deco and brick structures erected by the early residents of Fort Collins remain in use today, including the Avery House, a beautiful sandstone home built by one of the town's founders, Frank Avery, in 1873. A popular meeting place for students and other residents, Old Town features a variety of coffee shops, antique stores, museums and historic landmarks lining restored brick roads. Many of the area's buildings were the model for Disneyland's Main Street feature.
- Northwest Fort Collins is essentially an extension of Old Town's antique feel. It served as the city's primary residential area at the turn of the twentieth century. Today most of the large brick homes and bungalows in the area have been placed on the National Register of Historic Places, and real estate is far more expensive here than in any other area of the city. Northwest Fort Collins also features a number of lakes and parks, including City Park and City Park Lake, as well as a municipal golf course.
- Northeast Fort Collins has seen the heaviest residential development in recent years. Many upscale ranch-style homes and condominiums line the edges of Lindenmeir Lake, Eagle Lake, and Terry Lake with views of the Rocky Mountains and the Downtown skyline. Equestrian and running trails wind through the Lindenwood neighborhood, while the Nedrah Acres and Country Club Estates areas offer the most distinctive landscaping. Northeast Fort Collins also features the Fort Collins Country Club and golf course.
- East Fort Collins, is the most eclectic district of Fort Collins, where university life intertwines with some of some of the area's more docile residents. The University Acres and South College Heights neighborhoods feature some of the oldest brick homes in the area, while the Nelson Farm neighborhood contains one of the city's most popular contemporary developments. Most of Fort Collins' major shopping centers, such as the Foothills Fashion Mall and the Scotch Pines Shopping Center, are located in east Fort Collins.
- Most diverse architectural styles can be found in southeast Fort Collins, from patio homes on the northern shore of Warren Lake to larger custom-built family homes in Oakridge and stucco bungalows in Indian Head. Many larger new homes can be found in the Platte River Valley on the outskirts of the Southeast District.
- Southwest Fort Collins is very similar to the southeastern section in that it contains a wide variety of residential neighborhoods and architectural styles, catering to students and long-term residents alike. The student population is slightly more concentrated in the southwest district because of the neighborhood's close proximity to campus. Certain areas, such as the Ridge, have recently been developed with larger, more upscale homes and a rural feel.
- West Fort Collins is situated on the western edge of the Colorado State campus. West Fort Collins includes an assortment of subdivisions, townhomes and apartment complexes, alongside more traditional family neighborhoods. Silverplume features some of the area's only Victorian architecture, while Quail Hollow embodies Fort Collins' innovative city planning and diverse building styles. The Drake Crossing, Raintree Village and Cedarwood shopping areas are all located in west Fort Collins.
DID YOU KNOW?
Fort Collins has received countless awards and accolades in recent years for everything ranging from its business-friendly practices to its bicycle- and dog-friendly facilities. The following are some of the city's prominent awards:
- Recognized by the Sierra Club as one of four Sustainable Cities for Best Practices for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (2005)
- Chosen as one of Outside magazine's "Dream Towns" (2005)
- Named by Money Magazine as Best Place to Live (2006)
- Cited as One of the Best Places for Business and Careers by Forbes magazine (2007)
- Deemed a Dog-Friendly Town by Dog Fancy (2007)
- Considered one of Off-Beat Travel's Top 5 Off-Beat Towns (2008)
- Recognized by Where to Retire magazine as one of the Top 8 Enriching Towns for Art and Music Lovers (April 2008)
- Cited as a Gold-Level Bicycle-Friendly Community by the League of American Bicyclists (September 2008)
ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT
Fort Collins features a number of annual festivals highlighting the area's many agricultural and artistic specialties.
- The most publicized event, the New West Fest, is held every August in Old Town and hosts seven stages of live entertainment, a local brewer's beer garden, and many arts, crafts, and vendors lining the street.
- Earlier in the summer, the Fort Collins Brewer's Festival celebrates the many craft breweries in the area.
- A Fort Collins Jazz Experience provides residents and tourists with a weekend of local and regional jazz artists.
- The annual St. Patrick's Day Parade and Oktoberfest celebrations spotlight some of the city's cultural heritage.
- The Cycling Festival, the Annual Car Show, and the Hot-Air Balloon Festival give locals a chance to showcase their preferred modes of transportation.
Colorado State University, originally the Agricultural College of Colorado, once served the local agricultural community and has evolved into one of the nation's top land grant research universities. With nearly 25,000 undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral students, CSU offers two-year and four-year degrees.
There are also a number of community colleges in the area, including Front Range Community College and the Cheeks International Academy.
- Newspapers: There are two major publications in Fort Collins, the daily Fort Collins Coloradoan and the weekly Fort Collins Now. Colorado State University also publishes a weekday newspaper, the Rocky Mountain Collegian.
- Radio: Colorado State University produces a student-run radio station, KCSU 90.5 FM, which features local and independent music. There is also a public radio station, KRFC 88.9 FM, run on an all-volunteer basis.