Fort Collins Agricultural Colony

Fort Collins Agricultural Colony

Fort Collins Agricultural Colony

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The Fort Collins Agricultural Colony was a 19th century enterprise in Larimer County, Colorado to promote new agricultural and commercial settlement in and around the town of Fort Collins. Founded in the autumn of 1872 as an outgrowth of the Union Colony in nearby Greeley, the colony was instrumental in the early growth of Fort Collins, as well as in making it an agricultural center in the Colorado Territory at a time when the region was still known primarily for its mineral resources.


The town of Fort Collins had been founded in the previous decade on the site of the decommissioned Camp Collins of the United States Army. Moreover, the territorial legislature had designated the site of the Colorado Agricultural College to be in Fort Collins in 1870, although no money had been allocated for structures. A recurring source of anxiety among local leaders was the lack of railroad, which would not arrive until 1877.

The 1872 colony came two years after the establishment of the Greeley Colony downstream on the Poudre and was led by General Robert A. Cameron, an officer in the Greeley Colony. The success of the Greeley Colony, which was intended by its founder Nathan Meeker as a religiously-oriented utopian community, prompted its officers to expand the enterprise, although without quite the degree of religious idealism of the first effort. Rather the Fort Collins was as much of a local effort at boosting the population as it was a means of establishing a...
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