Trivia of Ft Collins: Brewery success and CSU strikes

Ft Collins Brewery Odell

Craft beers make Ft Collins brewery visits extra delightful. Odell Brewing was founded in 1989. It is one of many breweries in Ft Collins. Photo: Melissa Gugelman

DealChicken loves rooting out the best daily deals in and around Ft Collins—brewery deals are at the top of the list—and along the way, he’s managed to unearth some things that might surprise you. Go ahead and test your knowledge against everyone’s favorite yellow-bellied bird to see how your local-history know-how stacks up.

We like beer! And thankfully, there is more than one Ft Collins brewery to get our beer. Ranging from a large-scale Anheuser Busch facility to mom-and-pop Big Beaver Brewing, the beer industry is big around here. And, along with its general tastiness, beer is good for our economy. As of 2010, local breweries support a total of 2,488 jobs, and add $141.9 million to the local payroll.

Poudre Valley. Poudre River. Poudre Car Wash. In this part of the world, the word “poudre” proliferates. But where did it come from? In the early 1800s, French-Canadian fur traders were caught in one of the occasional blinding snowstorms. They were traveling on foot, and needed to lighten their loads to keep moving. So, they buried large amounts of their gunpowder—“poudre” in French—in a hiding place.

The original Fort Collins wasn’t as tough as it sounds. It was actually a camp. Built as a military post, Camp Collins was abandoned after an 1864 flood. They rebuilt a few miles downriver, near present-day Old Town, and officially named the site Fort Collins. But the “fort” never had a single wall. It was actually a 300-square-foot parade ground, encompassing a hotel, corrals, a hospital, a school and more.

In the early 1900s, Fort Collins’ burgeoning sugar industry was in constant need of workers. Which means they were sweet on imported labor. Initially, they recruited workers from other states, primarily Kansas and Nebraska. But eventually, they had to head overseas. All the way to Russia. They went so far as to move entire villages of people to the United States. Talk about agricultural tourism!

From the non-threatening team mascot department: Before they were the CSU Rams, they were the Colorado A&M Aggies (short for Agricultural). The transition began in 1946, when the Aggies adopted a real live Rocky Mountain bighorn ram as their official mascot. They named their ram "CAM," for Colorado A&M. (The catchy rhyme didn’t hurt.) One of his descendants remains the mascot today. They officially became the Rams when the school became CSU in 1957.
Attention dogs, cats, horses and other livestock: Fort Collins has your back. Because it’s home to one of the most recognized Veterinary Medicine programs in the U.S. CSU’s program is ranked second in the nation by U.S. News and World Report, and is first in the country in obtaining federal research dollars. Feel better?

Women’s rights came slowly to CSU. Until 1967, women had to be in their dorm or approved off-campus residence by 11 p.m., while men had no restrictions. In a campuswide demonstration, 2,500 people broke the curfew. Two weeks later, CSU announced that women could stay out until midnight on weekdays and 2 a.m. on weekends, and junior and senior coeds could live off campus. You’ve come a long way, baby!

CSU isn’t all conservative ag students. In fact, during the 1970s, it was a (relative) hotbed of anti-war activity. At one point, students held a strike to protest the invasion of Cambodia and the Kent State deaths. During the strike, the group held a concert in the College Avenue Gymnasium. But during the event, arsonists set Old Main—an original campus building—ablaze and completely destroyed the 92-year-old cornerstone.

Greeley was founded by journalist Nathan C. Meeker, and named for his editor and mentor, Horace Greeley, who coined the famous phrase, "Go West, young man, go West." Greeley was one of the first planned communities in the United States, and was actually a “dry city” until 1969.

You’ll love this: known as The Sweetheart City, Loveland has the postmark to prove it. Each year, over 160,000 people from all 50 states and more than 110 countries send their Valentine’s Day cards through the Loveland Post Office. The cards arrive at their intended destination stamped with a unique love-themed postmark. 2012 will be the 66th year of the program, which was created by the Loveland Stamp Club.

Raise a paw to CSU’s School of Veterinary Medicine, and its proud history of firsts. In 1982, philosopher Bernie Rollin became the first to teach an ethics course at a U.S. veterinary school. And, veterinarian Wayne McIlwraith was the first to adapt revolutionary arthroscopic surgery to horses. In fact, Spend-A-Buck won the 1985 Kentucky Derby after McIlwraith performed an arthroscopic procedure on him.

Mastered the trivia of Ft. Collins—brewery and beyond? Explore Denver’s past in our round up.