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Neighborhoods: Los Barrios

The Fort Collins area embraces four distinct barrios or neighborhoods. Three of these neighborhoods border upon a large tract of land once owned by the Great Western Sugar Company----Buckingham Place, Andersonville and Alta Vista. These three barrios are located north and northeast, across the Poudre River from downtown Fort Collins The fourth neighborhood, Holy Family is located directly west of the downtown area that separates it from the other three barrios. Similar characteristics are evident, however, each has its own distinct flavor.

Fort Collins original townsite and its relationship to the barrios
Presently the residents of the four barrios are predominately of Mexican-American descent. Originally Buckingham Place and Andersonville were inhabited by the Germans from Russia. Historically and presently these three barrios remain not only geographically but also economically isolated. In the video, "Mi Gente", a local resident expressed, "Most of these Hispanic neighborhoods are literally on the other side of the tracks. For many residents of this neighborhood, living on the other side of the tracks was simply a geographical quirk; for others, no doubt, it has been a state of mind as well (City of Fort Collins Video, 1996)".


Andersonville was platted in 1903, named after a Fort Collins businessman, Peter Anderson. Andersonville is located approximately one-half mile northeast of Fort Collin's Library Park. Early residents were German-Russians, however, by 1922, Mexican-American families began moving into the neighborhood (Feinberg, 1983, p. 14).

Map of Andersonville
Most houses in Andersonville are very small with simple wood frame structures and gabled roofs (18). There are a few adobe homes. Yard decorations are common, and streets are crowded with numerous vehicles.. In 1967, Andersonville consisted of 43 households and covered an area one block by three blocks enclosed to the north by Trujillo Street and the railroad tracks, to the south by Buckingham Street, to the east by 10th Street and by Lemay Street on the west. At this time most of the houses were over 30 years old. Fifty percent of the homes in 1967 were not equipped with running water and less than 20% had indoor sewage disposal units. (Maury, 1969, pp. 32-38). In 1983, Andersonville consisted of 36 households located within the three square block area.

By 1999, Andersonville had added tract and prefabricated homes built along the eastern boundary of 10th Street. With this addition, Andersonville consisted of 60 homes. Houses and yards were small and close in proximity to their neighbors. Over the years, rooms have been added to enlarge and modernize the original structures.

At the center of Andersonville is the Tempto Betel, an Assembly of God Church. There is no Catholic Church located in or near Andersonville, Alta Vista or Buckingham Place; the closest being Holy Family Church in the Holy Family neighborhood.

Alta Vista

Alta Vista is a barrio located immediately northwest of Andersonville and directly north of the Great Western Sugar Factory. The barrio is enclosed to the north by Main Street, to the west by Alta Vista Street, to the south by Martinez Street and the railroad tracks and to the east by Lemay Street. Alta Vista's appearance is the most visually distinctive of the barrios.

Map of Alta Vista
In 1923, wishing to establish a more stable source of year round labor, the Great Western Sugar Company announced plans to build a "Spanish Colony". The Company's plan was to provide each worker with a house they could own. The "Colonia" (Alta Vista) began as 6 adobe houses constructed by Felipe and Pedro Arellano. These two men also assisted other factory workers in building their own houses. The Great Western Sugar Company furnished the materials and the workers built their own homes from adobe bricks made on the site. In order to obtain a deed for the houses, the workers had to agree to work for the Company and to remain in the houses for a minimum of five years (Feinberg, 1983, p. 21).

The adobe houses were similar in size, rectangular with 2 rooms back-to-back and were topped by a gable roof with the gable ends filled with wood framing. Most houses had double hung windows and a door on the front facade. The style copied New Mexico adobe architecture Four homes were moved to the barrio from other areas of Fort Collins and have hipped roof boxes.. The neighborhood had a rural character until recent years. Residents kept gardens and ran goats along the ditch (21).

728 Martinez, Alta Vista
728 Martinez, Alta Vista
737 Alta Vista
737 Alta Vista

In 1999, new tract homes had been added to the neighborhood, alongside the original adobe houses.

Luis Valdez, Alta Vista
Luis Valdez, Alta Vista

Buckingham Place

Buckingham Place encompasses a two by three block square delineated to the north by Buckingham Street, to the west by First Street, to the south by Lincoln and to the east by Third Street. Some local residents include a section surrounding the El Burrito Restaurant, just north of downtown Fort Collins when referring to Buckingham Place. This addition is bordered on the north by Buckingham Street, on the west by Pine Street, on the south by Willow and on the east by Linden Street. This section adds an additional two block by three block section to the barrio. Since 1970, most residential homes are being demolished and replaced by commercial buildings in this area.

Map of Buckingham Place
Buckingham Place was platted in 1903 and named for Charles Buckingham, a wealthy Boulder banker who owned land throughout northern Colorado. That same year, 13 homes, twenty by twelve feet were built. In 1913, Buckingham Place consisted of 80 small houses. The original 13 homes may have been destroyed in the 1904 flood.

Originally, the homes were of a box type with hipped roofs. The hipped roof box style is a vernacular architecture characterized by small size, simplicity and functionality and is distinguished by its front porch with spindle posts and front gables covered with fish scale shingles. Another style found in Buckingham Place is the Bungaloid. This style of home has either a hip or a gable roof with exposed rafters, a front porch with tapered columns and double hung windows (Feinberg, 1983, p.14). Over the years, rooms and improvements have been added to these original structures.

200 E. Lincoln, Buckingham
200 E. Lincoln, Buckingham
113 Buckingham
113 Buckingham

Between 1903 and World War I, Buckingham Place served as housing for the German-Russian people who were working in the sugar beet fields and at the beet sugar factory at the time. Following World War I, however, immigration laws restricting European immigration, the German-Russian's ability to obtain jobs other than field or factory work or their purchases of farms made it possible for them to move away from Buckingham Place to local farms or other urban neighborhoods. The Mexican-American field and factory workers moved in and remain there today.

Holy Family Neighborhood

The northwest quadrant of the original Fort Collin's townsite is the Holy Family neighborhood. This barrio covers approximately a three by ten block rectangular area adjacent to Martinez Park to the north, Shields Street to the west, Laporte Avenue to the south and Mason Street to the east. There are over 600 buildings in the area, most of them family residences. Central to the neighborhood is the Holy Family Catholic Church built in 1929.
Map of Holy Family Neighborhood
The Holy Family neighborhood is similar to other older neighborhoods in Fort Collins, however, homes are usually smaller in size and less detailed. Most homes are small wood-frame or brick structures, situated close together on small lots, and of a vernacular rather than a stylistic plan. The most common vernacular houses were the hipped roof box; however there are quite a few Classic "cottages" (Classic Revival), bungalows and a few simplified Victorian period style homes intermingled throughout the neighborhood. After the 1930s, homes were simple tract houses with little or no detailing.

311, 313, 315 Whitcomb, Holy Family
311, 313, 315 Whitcomb, Holy Family
Cherry & Whitcomb, Holy Family
Cherry & Whitcomb, Holy Family

Holy Family neighborhood was first settled by "African-American" people in the 1890s with homes concentrated in the southeast corner. By 1913, these homes were demolished to provide space for the construction of City Hall. While the sugar beet field laborers were having houses built and living in the three barrios near the factory in the early 1900s, many of the factory workers were moving to the Holy Family neighborhood. In 1902, fifty houses were constructed and by 1909, 300 houses were distributed throughout the neighborhood. The number of houses continued to increase until 1920 at which time construction leveled off.

From the early 1900s, Mexican families established residency in the Holy Family neighborhood. By 1935, Holy Family neighborhood was considered a solidly Hispanic area. Since 1965, however, Mexican-American families have become more economically secure and as discrimination barriers have broken down, residents have moved to larger homes in other parts of the town. Consequently, more houses are renter occupied, and students from Colorado State University have been moving in since 1970 (Feinburg, 1983, p.31).

The neighborhood or barrio was not only a physical arena, defined and enclosed by street names, but was also a cultural entity. The barrio offered its residents familiarity with its traditions, customs and foods and a family center with community support and a central focus, the Church.

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