Fort Collins currently uses the tag line: Where renewal is a way of life. We’ve also used Fortunate Fort Collins and Fort Collins…..Midst Colorado’s “Horn of Plenty”
But if you’re an old timer, you know the real tag line–the unofficial and enduring Fort Collins, Wide Streets, Narrow Minds
That’s because, until recently, this town was hell on the enlightened.
Nobody articulates the cultural oppression of mid-century Fort Collins better than the unfortunate Bertram Wyatt Brown, a Baltimore academic who took his first job in 1964 at Colorado State University:
The Fort Collins restaurant scene consisted primarily of the International House of Pancakes (“IHOP”) and a Chinese establishment run by a Jewish New Yorker.
It gets worse …
Hotels? I cannot recall a single major chain or first-class set of accommodations.
While pontificating about the rationale for the American Revolution … I was somewhat disconcerted by the seemingly endless parade of Union Pacific Railroad freight cars rattling and screeching under the lecture-room windows. Crossing campus, the passerby could sometimes hear pigs squeal as they were getting slaughtered in a nearby Ag building.
Class sizes sucked. The pay sucked. The CSU library sucked. Only one thing didn’t suck:
On some weekends, we junior historians … took R & R trips to Denver’s Brown Palace …. The excursions, sometimes through heavy snows, helped momentarily to shake off the parochialism of Fort Collins. There the churches far outnumbered the mediocre eateries and movie houses.
But Wyatt Brown just didn’t get it. While he was sulking in Denver, we were figuring out that we could park 17 cars, side by side, across College Avenue. Look!