Posts Tagged ‘Andersonville’


From the Fort Collins Museum archives.

In the comments section of an earlier post, Barefoot Meg asks, “where was Rockwood School?”

Funny you should ask. I made Norm drive me there last month because I wondered too.

Rockwood-Place (later renamed Barton) was built in 1908 near the beet factory and attended by migrant children– German Russian and Hispanic. It was the backdrop of many of Lewis Wickes Hine’s 1915 photos of working children in Fort Collins, part of a nation-wide endeavor to curb child labor.


Lewis Wickes Hine photo of Rockwood Place School, 1915


Henry, 14 years old

Lewis Wickes Hine photo taken in front of Rockwood School

It’s a vacant lot now … I marked it in red in the lower right of this photo. The red box at top is what’s left of the beet factory.

(Click for a larger view. Or google map: “9th street fort collins” for street and surrounding views.)


We lose a lot of cool old schools. Washington Elementary,  on Shields, will be the next to go.

And here’s something really, really interesting about Fort Collins’ schools (and CSU): They don’t have to abide by Fort Collins planning guidelines.  That is, if the city fails to approve a Poudre School District’s development proposal, PSD can get an override from the school board.

No kidding.


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I think any parent of a modern adolescent finds those pictures of child laborers in the early 20th century intriguing horrifying.

Just horrifying.  

Henry, 14 years old

Henry, 14 years old

Yet, we marvel at what a 12-year-old could do if he had to. He could walk 8 blocks. He could stay off the couch most of the day. He could work a hoe in the garden. He could load the dishwasher just once.

In October, 1915, Lewis Wickes Hine, a sociologist turned photographer, came to Fort Collins to document child labor abuses in the beet industry.

Wickes Hine found the schools with more students absent than present, as children worked the harvest. Those who made it to school were often years behind…like Henry who was in 4th grade when this photo was taken.

The history of Fort Collins sugar beet industry here is well documented. So, I’ll just share two more photos:

This orderly scene is from the Fort Collins local history archives. Not sure the source, but similar in tone to most references to the factory: “Strolling down Vine Street by the Fort Collins, Colorado, Sugar Beet factory.”

And here is Lewis Hine’s take from the other side (factory in background). They called it the Jungle then, but I think this is the beginnings of Buckingham:

"The Jungle"

Called "the Jungle" in 1915. Worker housing behind factory.

About a dozen more of Hine’s Fort Collins photos are stashed at the Library of Congress. I can’t link directly to it, so go to the National Child Labor Committee page and search on Fort Collins.

Share them with the children.

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