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Larimer County

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One of Colorado's seventeen original counties, Larimer consists of irrigated valleys and level plains in the east that climb to foothills and Rocky Mountain National Park on the west. Beginning in the early 1800s fur trappers and miners explored the Cache la Poudre and Big Thompson canyons, principal passageways into the northern Colorado Rockies. No major mineral discoveries were made until “black gold” was struck in the Wellington Oil Field in 1923. Subsequently petroleum became a subsidiary product in a county that is primarily agricultural and the home of the state agricultural college.

Today Larimer is one of the more prosperous and progressive counties in Colorado. It has attracted many new industries and residents, especially to Fort Collins and Loveland. The county has restricted growth by promoting nature preserves in the Cache La Poudre and Big Thompson canyons. Rustic structures compete with tawdry ones for tourists in the resort communities around Rocky Mountain National Park.

Many buildings in the county are faced with sandstone quarried at Bellvue and Stout, west of Fort Collins; at Arkins, west of Loveland; and at Pinewood Springs, whose rose-red granite is still widely used and is featured in Denver's 16th Street Pedestrian Mall (1982). Limestone is also quarried at Laporte, home of a giant cement plant (1923).

Writing Credits

Author: 
Thomas J. Noel

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