There is a lot of history to explore online through the Fort Collins History Connection website, but there's even more to discover by visiting the Archive at the Fort Collins Museum of Discovery! No appointment is necessary to visit the Archive, but if you have particular questions or would like to speak to the curator, please contact us prior to your visit so we can better assist you.
The Archive is located at the Fort Collins Museum of Discovery, just across from the Welcome Desk in the main lobby. The reading room features a large, comfortable public research room furnished with lockers, computers, a microfilm reader, and a photocopier. The Archive is open to the public, and people of all ages are welcome to visit. Staff and volunteers enjoy assisting with specific research questions, but if you're simply curious about local history, the Archive is the place for you!
We have a wide assortment of historic resources that are available at the Archive beyond what is online, including:
The Archive has over 3,000 books pertaining to the history of Fort Collins, Larimer County, and Colorado. Many of these books are rare and out of print, and include yearbooks, city reports, and volumes on architectural history. Though these books are non-circulating, additional copies of many Archive books can be found and checked out at the Poudre River Public Library District.
The Archive has reels of microfilm of Fort Collins newspapers from March to November of 1874, and from June 1878 to the present. There are also card indexes for Fort Collins newspapers for 1878 through 1912, 1924, and from 1975 to 1987.
Bound paper copies and boxed collections of newspapers are kept in an offsite storage facility, but may be requested for research at the Archive by contacting us.
When visiting the Archive, please ask staff for access to any of following resources:
City and Telephone Directories
The Archive has Fort Collins city directories from 1902 to present; there is, however, a gap in directories from 1941 to 1947. We also have Fort Collins telephone books from the late 1920s to present, and a number of directories of various dates for Loveland, Larimer County, Estes Park, and surrounding rural areas.
Obituary notices appearing in the Fort Collins Coloradoan newspaper from 1977 to the present have been duplicated and are filed alphabetically in the Archive and the Library.
The Archive contains hundreds of files on a wide variety of local topics, events, places, and people. These files have been assembled over a long period of time and are a great place to start research.
The Subject Files are handy packets of information containing newspaper clippings, student papers, government reports, and more.
The Biographical Files contain clippings and reports on individuals and families from Fort Collins history. Some files include family histories created by researchers and donated to the Archive.
The Ephemera Files are organized by subject and surnames and include fragile primary source materials like calling cards, original advertising, pamphlets, receipts, and building abstracts.
The Archive is fortunate in having several extensive collections of photographs.
The Coloradoan Collection comprises of approximately 50,000 images dating from 1951 to 1975.
The Miller Collection includes over 77,000 negatives dating from 1907 to 1970.
The Hancock Collection comprises of approximately 4,000 prints and negatives dating from 1923 to 1959 by Fort Collins/Loveland photographer E.A. Hancock.
Triangle Review Newspaper Collection includes approximately 50,000 images and negatives dating from 1973 to 1995.
Local History Collection numbers at nearly 24,000 negatives and almost as many prints, from the 1860s to the present.
More than 30,000 images across these collections have been digitized and are searchable online. Thousands of photographs have not been scanned, however; many of these may be perused at the Archive by viewing the Photograph Vertical Files. These files are organized Fort Collins, Larimer County, and Colorado subjects and places. We also have files of portrait photographs arranged alphabetically by surname.
The Archive also has collections of postcards and stereographs of both local and national interest, as well as slides, negatives, aerial photographs, and panoramas.
The Archive has nearly 400 oral histories in the collection; nearly 350 of these interviews have verbatim transcripts with one copy on hand for research at the Archive and another copy available for check out at the Poudre River Public Library District.
The Archive has a collection of over 1,000 historic maps depicting Fort Collins, Larimer County, and Colorado. Maps are stored at the Archive in flat files, vertical files, and rolled in map boxes. Many maps are in offsite storage, so please contact us before visiting the archive so we may retrieve them prior to your visit.
The Special Collections include written materials, photographs, scrapbooks, and other items that pertain to a particular family, business, organization, or government entity. These collections often contain primary source materials that offer unique views into local history. Contents of the Special Collections are not online, but most boxes have detailed inventories and/or finding aids.
Since Special Collections are stored in archival boxes both onsite in the Archive and offsite in a storage facility, please contact us for an appointment to research these collections.
Tax Assessor Records
The Larimer County Tax Assessor Records from 1948-1990 have been donated to the Local History Archive for their research value. There are approximately 50,000 records with photos. While many of these photographs have been scanned and are available for online viewing, the actual records, or "cards", are double-sided full of interesting building information, and often include construction details and sketches of building footprints. Records for streets in and nearby Fort Collins' Old Town are organized by street name and kept onsite at the Archive. Thousands of records are organized by parcel number, however, and kept in the Archive's offsite storage facility. Please contact us for an appointment to research these collections.