This article is based on the corresponding article in another wiki. For Familypedia purposes, it requires significantly more historical detail on phases of this location's development. The ideal article for a place will give the reader a feel for what it was like to live at that location at the time their relatives were alive there. Also desirable are links to organizations that may be repositories of genealogical information..
Please help to improve this page yourself if you can.

Larimer County, Colorado
Map of Colorado highlighting Larimer County
Location in the state of Colorado
Map of the U.S. highlighting Colorado
Colorado's location in the U.S.
Founded November 1, 1861
Named for William Larimer
Seat Fort Collins
 - Total
 - Land
 - Water

2,634 sq mi (6,822 km²)
2,601 sq mi (6,737 km²)
33 sq mi (84 km²), 1.24%
 - (2020)
 - Density

97/sq mi (37/km²)
Time zone Mountain: UTC-7/-6

Larimer County is the seventh most populous and the ninth most extensive of the 64 counties of the State of Colorado of the United States. The county is located at the northern end of the Front Range, at the edge of the Colorado Eastern Plains along the border with Wyoming. Larimer County was named for William Larimer, the founder of Denver, who is believed to have never have set foot in the county. The population as of the 2020 census was 359,066. The county seat and most populous city is Fort Collins. The Fort Collins-Loveland Metropolitan Statistical Area comprises Larimer County.


Larimer County was created in 1861 as one of seventeen original counties in the Colorado Territory; however, its western boundary was disputed. Controversy existed as to whether Larimer County ended at the Medicine Bow Range or at the Continental Divide thirty miles further west. An 1886 Colorado Supreme Court decision set the boundary at the Continental Divide, although the land between the Medicine Bow Range and the divide was made part of Jackson County in 1909.

Unlike that of much of Colorado, which was founded on the mining of gold and silver, the settlement of Larimer County was based almost entirely on agriculture, an industry that few thought possible in the region during the initial days of the Colorado Gold Rush. The mining boom almost entirely passed the county by. It would take the introduction of irrigation to the region in the 1860s to bring the first widespread settlement to the area.

Early History[]

At the time of the arrival of Europeans in the early 19th century, the present-day county was occupied by Native Americans, with the Utes occupying the mountainous areas and the Cheyenne and Arapaho living on the piedmont areas along the base of the foothills. French fur trappers infiltrated the area in the early decades of the 19th century, soon after the area became part of the United States with the Louisiana Purchase and was organized as part of the Missouri Territory. In 1828 William H. Ashley ascended the Cache la Poudre River on his way to the Green River in present-day Utah. The river itself received its name in the middle 1830s from an obscure incident in which French-speaking trapping hid gunpowder along its banks, somewhere near present-day Laporte or Bellvue. In 1848 a group of Cherokee crossed through the county following the North Fork of the Poudre to the Laramie Plains on their way to California along a route that became known as the Cherokee Trail.

The area of county was officially opened to white settlement following negotiations with the Cheyenne and Arapaho in the 1858 Treaty of Fort Laramie, by which time the area was part of the Nebraska Territory. The first U.S. settlers arrived that same year in a party led by Antoine Janis from Fort Laramie. Janis, who had visited the area near Bellvue in 1844 and proclaimed it "the most beautiful place on earth", returned to file his official claim and helped found the first U.S. settlement in present-day Colorado, called Colona, just west of Laporte. Nearly simultaneously, Mario Madeno established Namaqua along the Big Thompson River just west of present-day Loveland. The first irrigation canals were established along the Poudre in the 1860s.

In 1862 the settlement established by Janis became a stagecoach stop along the Overland Trail, which was relocated south from its route in present-day Wyoming to the South Platte valley because of threats of attacks from Native Americans. In 1861, Laporte was designated as the first county seat after the organization of the Colorado Territory. In 1862, the United States Army established an outpost near Laporte that was designated as Camp Collins. A devastating flood in June 1864 wiped out the outpost, forcing the Army to seek a better location. At the urging of Joseph Mason, who had settled along the Poudre in 1860, the Army relocated its post downstream adjacent to Mason's land along the Overland stage route. The site of the new post became the nucleus of the town of Fort Collins, incorporated in 1873 after the withdrawal of the Army. By that time, Mason and others had convinced the leglislature of the Colorado Territorial Legislature to designate the new town as the county seat. In 1870, the legislature designated Fort Collins as the location of the state agricultural college (later Colorado State University), although the institution would exist only on paper for another decade while local residents sought money to construct the first campus buildings. In 1873, Robert A. Cameron and other members of the Greeley Colony established the Fort Collins Agricultural Colony, which greatly expanded the grid plan and population of Fort Collins.


One of the primary goals of the early citizens of the county was the courting of railroads. County residents were disappointed when the Denver Pacific Railroad bypassed the county in 1870 in favor of Greeley. The first railroad finally arrived in the county in 1877 when the Colorado Central Railroad extended a line north from Golden via Longmont to Cheyenne. The town council of Fort Collins designated right-of-way through the center of town (and through the campus of the unbuilt college) for the line, creating a contentious issue to this day.

Along the new railroad sprung up the new platted towns of Loveland and Berthoud, named respectively after the president and chief surveyor of the Colorado Central. Likewise Wellington (founded in 1903) was named for a railroad employee. The Greeley arrived three years later as a subsidiary of the Union Pacific Railroad, with the intention of creating a transcontinental line over Cameron Pass. Although the line was never extended over the mountains, it opened up the quarrying of stone for the railroad at Stout, furnishing another industry for the region. The brief attempt at the mining of gold in the region centered at the now ghost town of Manhattan in the Poudre Canyon.


The early growth of agriculture, which depended highly on direct river irrigation, experienced a second boom in 1902 with the introduction of the cultivation of sugar beets, accompanied by the construction of the large processing plant of the Great Western Sugar Co. in Loveland. In the following decade, the sugar beat industry brought large numbers of German-Russians to the county. The neighborhoods of Fort Collins northeast of the Poudre were constructed largely to house these new families.

A significant increase in the agricultural productivity of the region came in the 1930s with the construction of the Colorado Big Thompson Project following the Great Depression, sort of a third boom for the agricultural industry around Fort Collins. This project collected and captured Western Slope water, and carried it over to the Front Range Colorado counties of Boulder, Larimer and Weld, along with an extensive water storage and distribution system, which significantly extended the irrigable growing season and brought substantial additional land under irrigation for the first time.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 6,822 km² (2,634 sq mi). 6,737 km² (2,601 sq mi) of it is land and 84 km² (33 sq mi) of it (1.24%) is water.

Adjacent Counties[]


As of the census² of 2000, there were 251,494 people, 97,164 households, and 63,156 families residing in the county. The population density was 37/km² (97/sq mi). There were 105,392 housing units at an average density of 16/km² (40/sq mi). The racial makeup of the county was 91.44% White, 0.66% Black or African American, 0.66% Native American, 1.56% Asian, 0.08% Pacific Islander, 3.41% from other races, and 2.19% from two or more races. 8.27% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 97,164 households out of which 31.70% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 53.60% were married couples living together, 7.90% had a female householder with no husband present, and 35.00% were non-families. 23.40% of all households were made up of individuals and 6.30% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.52 and the average family size was 2.99.

In the county the population was spread out with 23.80% under the age of 18, 14.20% from 18 to 24, 30.70% from 25 to 44, 21.80% from 45 to 64, and 9.60% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 33 years. For every 100 females there were 99.90 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 98.20 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $48,655, and the median income for a family was $58,866. Males had a median income of $40,829 versus $27,859 for females. The per capita income for the county was $23,689. About 4.30% of families and 9.20% of the population were below the poverty line, including 6.80% of those under age 18 and 4.40% of those age 65 or over.


Larimer was previously a Republican stronghold. Between 1920 and 2004, the only Democrat to ever win an absolute majority of votes in the county was Lyndon Johnson in 1964. It is also a bellwether county; as of the 2020 election, it has voted for the statewide winner in every election since 1948, when Harry Truman carried Colorado without it.

However, increasing urbanization, as well as the influence of Colorado State, caused the Republican margins to decline steadily in the 1990s and early 2000s. In 2008, Barack Obama became the first Democrat to carry the county with the majority of the vote since 1964, and in so doing recorded the best performance by a Democrat since the days of Woodrow Wilson and William Jennings Bryan. In 2020, Joe Biden's margin of victory was even greater.

United States presidential election results for Larimer County, Colorado[1]
Year Republican Democratic Third party
No.  % No.  % No.  %
2020 91,489 40.78% 126,120 56.22% 6,729 3.00%
2016 83,430 42.57% 93,113 47.51% 19,438 9.92%
2012 82,376 45.72% 92,747 51.47% 5,057 2.81%
2008 73,642 44.26% 89,823 53.99% 2,910 1.75%
2004 75,884 51.82% 68,266 46.62% 2,286 1.56%
2000 62,429 52.67% 46,055 38.85% 10,053 8.48%
1996 45,935 47.14% 40,965 42.04% 10,550 10.83%
1992 35,995 36.12% 38,232 38.36% 25,433 25.52%
1988 45,967 55.34% 35,703 42.98% 1,396 1.68%
1984 49,883 66.65% 23,896 31.93% 1,069 1.43%
1980 36,240 56.51% 17,072 26.62% 10,817 16.87%
1976 32,169 60.72% 19,005 35.87% 1,809 3.41%
1972 27,462 65.02% 13,731 32.51% 1,041 2.46%
1968 18,438 62.13% 9,152 30.84% 2,086 7.03%
1964 11,636 47.33% 12,776 51.97% 173 0.70%
1960 15,671 67.39% 7,550 32.47% 34 0.15%
1956 14,364 71.77% 5,612 28.04% 39 0.19%
1952 14,484 72.93% 5,266 26.52% 110 0.55%
1948 9,813 57.63% 7,062 41.47% 154 0.90%
1944 9,914 65.46% 5,172 34.15% 58 0.38%
1940 10,720 62.15% 6,402 37.12% 126 0.73%
1936 7,243 47.59% 7,521 49.41% 457 3.00%
1932 7,040 49.87% 6,494 46.00% 584 4.14%
1928 8,213 70.94% 3,203 27.66% 162 1.40%
1924 6,538 66.65% 1,970 20.08% 1,301 13.26%
1920 5,487 64.34% 2,708 31.75% 333 3.90%
1916 2,797 34.18% 4,868 59.49% 518 6.33%
1912 1,932 26.98% 2,597 36.27% 2,632 36.75%
1908 4,489 51.09% 3,629 41.30% 668 7.60%
1904 4,138 62.64% 2,070 31.34% 398 6.02%
1900 2,343 45.84% 2,456 48.05% 312 6.10%
1896 734 18.11% 3,195 78.83% 124 3.06%
1892 975 43.05% 0 0.00% 1,290 56.95%
1888 1,322 58.31% 769 33.92% 176 7.76%
1884 1,038 54.01% 644 33.51% 240 12.49%
1880 646 53.26% 388 31.99% 179 14.76%

School Districts[]

Cities and towns[]

Incorporated communities[]

Unincorporated communities[]

National park[]

National forest and wilderness[]

State parks[]

Prehistoric site[]

National trails[]

Bicycle route[]

Scenic byways[]

Other features and attractions[]

See also[]

External links[]


Coordinates: 40°39′N 105°28′W / 40.65, -105.46

This page uses content from the English language Wikipedia. The original content was at Larimer County, Colorado. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with this Familypedia wiki, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons License.