Fort Collins is the Home Rule Municipality that is the county seat and the most populous municipality of Larimer County, Colorado, United States. Situated on the Cache La Poudre River along the Colorado Front Range, Fort Collins is located 65 miles (105 km) north of the Colorado State Capitol in Denver. With a 2016 estimated population of 161,000, it is the fourth most populous city in Colorado after Denver, Colorado Springs, and Aurora. Fort Collins is a midsize college city, home to Colorado State University.
Facts about Fort Collins
Fort Collins was founded as a military outpost of the United States Army in 1864. It succeeded a previous encampment, known as Camp Collins, on the Cache La Poudre River, near what is known today as Laporte. Camp Collins was erected during the Indian wars of the mid-1860s to protect the Overland mail route that had been recently relocated through the region. Travelers crossing the county on the Overland Trail would camp there, but a flood destroyed the camp in June 1864. Afterward, the commander of the fort wrote to the commandant of Fort Laramie in southeast Wyoming, Colonel William O. Collins, suggesting that a site several miles farther down the river would make a good location for the fort. The post was manned originally by two companies of the 11th Ohio Volunteer Cavalry and never had walls.
During the late 20th century, Fort Collins expanded rapidly to the south, adding new development, including several regional malls. Management of city growth patterns became a political priority during the 1980s, as well as the revitalization of Fort Collins' Old Town with the creation of a Downtown Development Authority. In late July 1997, the city experienced a flash flood after and during a 31-hour period when 10–14 in (250–360 mm) of rain fell. The rainfall was the heaviest on record for an urban area of Colorado. Five people were killed and $5 million in damages were dealt to the city. The waters flooded Colorado State University's library and brought about $140 million in damages to the institution.
Fort Collins is situated at the base of the Rocky Mountain foothills of the northern Front Range approximately 60 miles (97 km) north of Denver, Colorado and 45 miles (72 km) south of Cheyenne, Wyoming. Elevation is 4,982 ft (1,519 m) above sea level. Geographic landmarks include Horsetooth Reservoir and Horsetooth Mountain—so named because of a tooth-shaped granite rock that dominates the city's western skyline. Longs Peak can also clearly be seen on a clear day to the southwest of the city.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 47.1 square miles (122 km²), of which 46.5 square miles (120 km²) is land and 0.6 square miles (1.6 km²), or 1.27%, is water. The Cache La Poudre River and Spring Creek run through Fort Collins.
Fort Collins is the fourth most populous city in Colorado and the 155th most populous city in the United States. The Census Bureau estimates that the city's population was 161,175 in 2015, the population of the Fort Collins-Loveland Metropolitan Statistical Area was 310,487 (151st most populous MSA), and the population of the Front Range Urban Corridor was 4,495,181.
As of the census of 2000, there were 118,652 people, 45,882 households, and 25,785 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,549.3 people per square mile (984.4/km²). There were 47,755 housing units at an average density of 1,026.0 per square mile (396.2/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 82.4% White, 3.01% Black or African American, 0.60% Native American, 2.48% Asian, 0.12% Pacific Islander, 3.61% from other races, and 2.53% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 10.79% of the population.
There were 45,882 households out of which 29.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 44.9% were married couples living together, 7.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 43.8% were non-families. 26.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 5.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.45 and the average family size was 3.01.