Who Were Fort Collins’ First Indians?
Larimer County has long been known as something of a crossroads – Both as a gateway from the plains to the mountains to its role as a hub of culture from the influx of college students we get annually, to our history itself. However, I have to confess, I don’t know as much about the Native Americans who travelled these slopes long before the original fort of Fort Collins was established. So, here’s a bit of history about FoCo’s earliest native peoples.
Just imagine, for a moment, that Townsquare Media invented time travel (it’s thanks to the power of radio waves, by the way). Given our new mode of transportation, we would choose three lucky winners to travel into the past with us, almost 11,000 years, in fact, to see some of the oldest recorded mentions of people living in Larimer County. If you happened to be one of our lucky winners, you’d have to come with us into our machine (which looks suspiciously like the inside of a recording studio), and back we would go (by way of speaking the time period we’d wish to go to into the microphone).
As soon as we opened our studio (I mean, time machine), the first thing you’d probably notice besides the endless, rolling hillsides and rugged mountains in lieu of buildings and cars, would be that it’s distinctively colder. According to the Fort Collins History Connection, some of the eldest people we have recorded evidence of in Larimer County is the Folsom people (no relation to the football field), and they lived in an age that was five degrees cooler than the one we live in today.
As you stepped out of our booth, we’d guide you to what is now known as the Lindenmeier site, which is one of the first places to give us information about the Folsom. Although we’d need to stay out of sight to avoid disrupting the timeline, we might be able to snag you a souvenir of a fluted stone javelin, almost 3 inches long. This art of fluting stone projectiles was one perfected by the Folsom people, following their predecessors of the Clovis people. Why did they take the time to pressure flake these pieces of stone into fine points? We’re not honestly sure, though it could have been for the ease of lashing these points to wooden shafts, to help their weapons more efficiently drain prey of blood, or just because they could, and they found fluting to be pretty and the ability to do so like a badge of merit.
After visiting the Folsom, we’d take you about 2,000 years forward in time to view the Plano people’s burial practices. We’d need to go to what’s now known as the Gordon Creek burial site, which is dated to be from about 9,700 years ago. There, we could respectfully watch the internment of a woman with her grave goods, including three hand tools, a polished stone, a hammerstone and four elk incisors.
After slipping out of the service, it would be time to return you back to 2021, and we absolutely would not let you Instagram our time machine for posterity. You’d have to enter one of our contests again for another chance at examining Fort Collins history, up close and personal.
But, of course, we don’t have a time machine at the radio station, so you’ll have to settle for this blog post, instead. Probably. After all, we’d tell you if we had a time machine. Right? Right. Absolutely.
The Foundry in Loveland: Now & Then