Oct 302007
Authors: Laura Anderson

Each city with decades of history has its own share of hair-raising tales and many of these stories are passed on from one generation of residents to the next.

And as most Fort Collins scary stories are a part of any local’s repertoire of anecdotes, some of the spooky past is inevitably buried with the dead.

Every October, for the past 8 years, the Fort Collins Museum sponsors Terror Tours of Old Town to tell the stories of some of the more mysterious events in Fort Collins’ history.

“People love to hear about the darker side of Fort Collins,” said Curator of Education Kerry Doyle, who guided one of the tours last Saturday night. “They rarely get to.”

The one and a half mile tour begins in the courtyard of the museum. Visitors walk from site to site and are led by costumed tour guides, though Doyle said they don’t share ghost stories.

“We don’t report hauntings,” Doyle said. “Really what we’re doing is providing a tour of some of the darker sides of Old Town.”

Topics covered range from the first cemetery in Fort Collins at the site of what is now the Fort Collins Museum of Contemporary Art to bootlegging during 1896 to 1969 prohibition of alcohol in Fort Collins.

Doyle said her favorite story comes from the days when the city was a military fort. She said that what is today Green Logic was once Old Grout, which had a jail on the second floor.

One night, an inmate, who was condemned to hang, mysteriously disappeared. Most Fort Collins residents assumed that he escaped. But when Old Grout was torn down for the building of Stone City Drugs, Doyle said a new theory was born.

“When they tore down the building, they found bloody clothes in the walls,” Doyle said.

Information for all of the Terror Tour stories come from the history archives of the museum and Fort Collins Public Library, which is all open to the public.

Doyle said that even after eight years of tours, the museum is still researching the stories, details and myths that make up the creepy side of Fort Collins.

Staff writer Laura Anderson can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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