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Elks Building on the Corner of Linden and Walnut, showing stairs behind car, c. 1908
Elks Building on the Corner of Linden and Walnut, showing stairs behind car, c. 1908

Fort Collins had a Subway

Legend: There was a Fort Collins subway that was in operation from 1904 to 1918. The subway is an eleven mile underground system, including shops and signs that was built to attract the 1904 World's Fair. Bob Terrill describes his tour of this subway in 1982:

"I feel like I'm violating a tomb. A narrow set of stairs at Linden and Walnut takes us down to the doorway, which no one has passed through in more than a decade. Ben [Miller, the city's historian] turns the key, and the door opens with a grating sound. We have just entered the only remaining access to the all-but-forgotten Fort Collins subway. The air in the tunnel is cool and musty. We're close enough to the Poudre River for ground water to leech into this segment of the system. Indeed, one of the reasons for the subway's demise was the problem of occasional flooding...Underground shops and restaurants, which expected to serve a million visitors to the World's Fair are empty. Currently, there is some talk about turning the subway into a fallout shelter or concept mall, but structural faults would have to be corrected first."

Truth: In November of 1982 Bob Terrill, Poudre Magazine  (page 20), wrote a fictionalized account of his visit to a Fort Collins subway. There is, of course, no subway but this hoax continues to circulate years later. City officials received many requests at the time, as we still do today, for additional information, even from longtime residents.

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