- Larimer County, Colorado
Infobox U.S. County
county = Larimer County
state = Colorado
founded year = 1861
founded date = November 1
seat wl = Fort Collins
largest city wl = Fort Collins
area_total_sq_mi = 2634
area_total_km2 = 6822
area_land_sq_mi = 2601
area_land_km2 = 6737
area_water_sq_mi = 33
area_water_km2 = 84
area percentage = 1.24%
census yr = 2000
pop = 251494
density_sq_mi = 97
density_km2 = 37
time zone = Mountain
UTC offset = -7
DST offset = -6
Seventh most populous Colorado county
web = www.co.larimer.co.us
named for =
William Larimer, Jr.
Larimer County is the seventh most populous and the ninth most extensive of the 64 counties of the
State of Coloradoof the United States. The county is located at the northern end of the Front Range, at the edge of the Colorado Eastern Plainsalong the border with Wyoming. Larimer County was named for William Larimer, Jr., the founder of Denver, who is believed to have never have set foot in the county. The United States Census Bureauestimates that the county population was 276,253 in 2006, a 9.84% increase since U.S. Census 2000.cite web | url = http://www.census.gov/popest/counties/files/CO-EST2006-ALLDATA.csv | title = Annual County Population Estimates and Estimated Components of Change: April 1, 2000 to July 1, 2006 (CO-EST2006-alldata) | format = CSV | work = 2006 Population Estimates | publisher = United States Census Bureau, Population Division | date = 2007-03-22| accessdate = 2007-05-09] The county seatand most populous city is Fort Collins. The Fort Collins-Loveland Metropolitan Statistical Areacomprises Larimer County.
Larimer County was created in 1861 as one of seventeen original counties in the
Colorado Territory; however, its western boundary was disputed. Controversy existed as to whether Larimer County ended at the Medicine Bow Rangeor at the Continental Dividethirty miles further west. An 1886 Colorado Supreme Court decision set the boundary at the Continental Divide, although the land between the Medicine Bow Range and the divide was made part of Jackson County in 1909.
Unlike that of much of Colorado, which was founded on the
miningof goldand silver, the settlement of Larimer County was based almost entirely on agriculture, an industry that few thought possible in the region during the initial days of the Colorado Gold Rush. The mining boom almost entirely passed the county by. It would take the introduction of irrigationto the region in the 1860s to bring the first widespread settlement to the area.
At the time of the arrival of Europeans in the early 19th century, the present-day county was occupied by Native Americans, with the Utes occupying the mountainous areas and the
Cheyenneand Arapaholiving on the piedmont areas along the base of the foothills. French fur trappers infiltrated the area in the early decades of the 19th century, soon after the area became part of the United States with the Louisiana Purchaseand was organized as part of the Missouri Territory. In 1828 William H. Ashleyascended the Cache la Poudre Riveron his way to the Green River in present-day Utah. The river itself received its name in the middle 1830s from an obscure incident in which French-speaking trapping hid gunpowderalong its banks, somewhere near present-day Laporte or Bellvue. In 1848 a group of Cherokeecrossed through the county following the North Fork of the Poudre to the Laramie Plainson their way to Californiaalong a route that became known as the Cherokee Trail.
The area of county was officially opened to white settlement following negotiations with the Cheyenne and Arapaho in the 1858
Treaty of Fort Laramie, by which time the area was part of the Nebraska Territory. The first U.S. settlers arrived that same year in a party led by Antoine Janisfrom Fort Laramie. Janis, who had visited the area near Bellvue in 1844 and proclaimed it "the most beautiful place on earth", returned to file his official claim and helped found the first U.S. settlement in present-day Colorado, called Colona, just west of Laporte. Nearly simultaneously, Mariana Medinaestablished Namaquaalong the Big Thompson Riverjust west of present-day Loveland. The first irrigation canals were established along the Poudre in the 1860s.
In 1862 the settlement established by Janis became a
stagecoachstop along the Overland Trail, which was relocated south from its route in present-day Wyomingto the South Platte valley because of threats of attacks from Native Americans. In 1861, Laporte was designated as the first county seat after the organization of the Colorado Territory. In 1862, the United States Armyestablished an outpost near Laporte that was designated as Camp Collins. A devastating flood in June 1864 wiped out the outpost, forcing the Army to seek a better location. At the urging of Joseph Mason, who had settled along the Poudre in 1860, the Army relocated its post downstream adjacent to Mason's land along the Overland stage route. The site of the new post became the nucleus of the town of Fort Collins, incorporated in 1873 after the withdrawal of the Army. By that time, Mason and others had convinced the legislature of the Colorado Territorial Legislature to designate the new town as the county seat. In 1870, the legislature designated Fort Collins as the location of the state agricultural college (later Colorado State University), although the institution would exist only on paper for another decade while local residents sought money to construct the first campus buildings. In 1873, Robert A. Cameronand other members of the Greeley Colony established the Fort Collins Agricultural Colony, which greatly expanded the grid planand population of Fort Collins.
One of the primary goals of the early citizens of the county was the courting of
railroads. County residents were disappointed when the Denver Pacific Railroadbypassed the county in 1870 in favor of Greeley. The first railroad finally arrived in the county in 1877 when the Colorado Central Railroadextended a line north from Golden via Longmont to Cheyenne. The town council of Fort Collins designated right-of-way through the center of town (and through the campus of the unbuilt college) for the line, creating a contentious issue to this day.
Along the new railroad sprung up the new
platted towns of Loveland and Berthoud, named respectively after the president and chief surveyor of the Colorado Central. Likewise Wellington (founded in 1903) was named for a railroad employee. The Greeley, Salt Lake and Pacific Railroadarrived three years later as a subsidiary of the Union Pacific Railroad, with the intention of creating a transcontinental line over Cameron Pass. Although the line was never extended over the mountains, it opened up the quarrying of stone for the railroad at Stout, furnishing another industry for the region. The brief attempt at the mining of gold in the region centered at the now ghost townof Manhattan in the Poudre Canyon.
The early growth of agriculture, which depended highly on direct river irrigation, experienced a second boom in 1902 with the introduction of the cultivation of
sugar beets, accompanied by the construction of the large processing plant of the Great Western Sugar Co. in Loveland. In the following decade, the sugar beat industry brought large numbers of German-Russians to the county. The neighborhoods of Fort Collins northeast of the Poudre were constructed largely to house these new families.
A significant increase in the agricultural productivity of the region came in the 1930s with the construction of the
Colorado Big Thompson Projectfollowing the Great Depression, sort of a third boom for the agricultural industry around Fort Collins. This project collected and captured Western Slope water, and carried it over to the Front Range Coloradocounties of Boulder, Larimer and Weld, along with an extensive water storage and distribution system, which significantly extended the irrigable growing season and brought substantial additional land under irrigation for the first time.
According to the
U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 2,634 square miles (6,822 km²), of which, 2,601 square miles (6,737 km²) of it is land and 33 square miles (84 km²) of it (1.24%) is water.
As of the
censusGR|2 of 2000, there were 251,494 people, 97,164 households, and 63,156 families residing in the county. The population densitywas 97 people per square mile (37/km²). There were 105,392 housing units at an average density of 40 per square mile (16/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 91.44% White, 0.66% Black or African American, 0.66% Native American, 1.56% Asian, 0.08% Pacific Islander, 3.41% from other races, and 2.19% from two or more races. 8.27% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 97,164 households out of which 31.70% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 53.60% were married couples living together, 7.90% had a female householder with no husband present, and 35.00% were non-families. 23.40% of all households were made up of individuals and 6.30% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.52 and the average family size was 2.99.
In the county the population was spread out with 23.80% under the age of 18, 14.20% from 18 to 24, 30.70% from 25 to 44, 21.80% from 45 to 64, and 9.60% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 33 years. For every 100 females there were 99.90 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 98.20 males.
The median income for a household in the county was $48,655, and the median income for a family was $58,866. Males had a median income of $40,829 versus $27,859 for females. The
per capita incomefor the county was $23,689. About 4.30% of families and 9.20% of the population were below the poverty line, including 6.80% of those under age 18 and 4.40% of those age 65 or over.
Cities and towns
*Old Roach (
*Red Feather Lakes
Rocky Mountain National Parkis headquartered in Estes Park
National forest and wilderness
Roosevelt National Forest
Cache La Poudre Wilderness
Comanche Peak Wilderness
Boyd Lake State Park
Lory State Park
Lindenmeier Site National Historic Landmark
Continental Divide National Scenic Trail
Greyrock Mountain National Recreation Trail
Mount McConnel National Recreation Trail
Round Mountain National Recreation Trail
Great Parks Bicycle Route
Cache La Poudre-North Park Scenic and Historic Byway
Peak to Peak Scenic and Historic Byway
Trail Ridge Road/Beaver Meadow National Scenic Byway
Other features and attractions
Heele County, Jefferson Territory
Colorado census statistical areas
Colorado metropolitan areas
Fort Collins-Loveland Metropolitan Statistical Area
Front Range Urban Corridor
* [http://www.co.larimer.co.us/ Larimer County Government website]
* [http://www.nps.gov/romo/ Rocky Mountain National Park website]
* [http://www.stanwyck.com/cogenweb/cocounties.html Colorado County Evolution by Don Stanwyck]
* [http://www.coloradohistory.org/ Colorado Historical Society]
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Look at other dictionaries:
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