There are some people who say that Colonel William Oliver Collins never visited the camp that bore his name. In the Local History Archive you can see the sources that suggest otherwise. Following the well-known flood in June of 1864, Colonel Collins at Fort Laramie received a report that detailed the damages to Camp Collins and suggested a new site that would be safe from the raging waters of the Poudre River.
After receiving the report, Colonel Collins and his guard left Fort Laramie for Laporte, arriving on August 13, 1864. Colonel Collins inspected the flood damage and surveyed the proposed site, which was suggested by Joseph Mason, currently of Mason Street fame!
Colonel Collins approved of the area and on August 20, 1864, passed Special Order Number One, which officially designated the area a military reservation. While Abraham Lincoln did not officially approve of the designation until November 14th, that August day when the Colonel visited “his” camp and approved of its relocation to higher ground is the day remember as the city’s birthday. Last Thursday, Fort Collins turned 145 years old.
Happy Birthday, Fort Collins. My, how you’ve grown!
The order stated the necessity to maintain a permanent post near the Overland Stage route and that the proposed site would be “free from overflow by high waters, and the interference and injury to discipline from lot-holders in the town of Laporte and the settlers and claimants of land in the immediate neighborhood.”
Attached to Special Order Number One was a sketch by Colonel Collins of a rough plat to be used as a working outline for the new camp. It included a guard house, parade grounds, company quarters, officer quarters, and a hospital: