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Colorado and Southern train westbound from Greeley passing Hoffman Mill on Riverside Avenue, J.M. Hoffman in doorway, c. 1894

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Tie Hackers on Jefferson Street

Fort Collins Express-Courier, July 12, 1934

Colorado and Southern train westbound from Greeley passing Hoffman Mill on Riverside Avenue, J.M. Hoffman in doorway, c. 1894

The storekeepers on Jefferson St. were greatly helped by the tie business in the early days; hundreds of thousand of ties would be cut and floated down the Poudre River in the flood season. They cut ties every month and piled them along side the river and then in June when the water was high enough they would float them down the river. The choppers, who came down the river with the rafts, had to be in and out of the icy water and they found that the only way to ward off pneumonia was to dress in woolen underwear from two to four suits at a time. They had on no outerwear. This caused trouble when the choppers came into Fort Collins for the town marshal insisted they were not dressed according to civilized rules. He would try and drive them out of town but the Jefferson street merchants always sympathized with them and welcomed them to the area.

The men would build barricades in the river to divert the ties from the stream to level land. They had a barricade about a mile above Laporte, and another here at Fort Collins just west of the concrete bridge on College avenue where they used the old bridge of the Colorado Central Railroad company after the railroad abandoned it. The remains of those old works are still in evidence.

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