The 1950s and 60s were a period of tremendous growth in Fort Collins. The city grew both up and out. This same pattern of growth is reflected in changes that took place on the Colorado State University campus. The following Then & Now comparisons are from 1958 and some time in the late 1960s.
The first image is from the CSU Archives and was taken in April of 1958. The Plant and Animal Science buildings were just being built. I tried to pair that photo with a shot via Google Maps from this year, though it was hard to match the angle. To orient yourself, imagine that you’re in an airplane flying over the Campus West area, looking east towards campus.
You’ll note Circle Drive at the very top right of the 1958 photo — Fort Collins first “suburban” style streets. You can also just see E. Stuart to the far upper right and a bit of the Sheely neighborhood near the mid-right.
The neat rows of housing on campus to the lower left in the photo were quonset huts that had been set up to house the high numbers of new students thanks to the G.I. Bill.
Lory Student Center, the Morgan Library, Moby Arena and Durward and Westfall halls hadn’t been built yet (along with several other buildings that were still just a twinkle in an architect’s eye).
This second image is an old postcard that I found on eBay. It’s undated, but the buildings mentioned above had all been built by this point. And I *believe* that’s Old Main that can vaguely be seen to the lower right. Which would put this photo after 1967 and before 1970. To orient yourself, imagine that you’re in a plane flying over the Laurel School Historic District looking west towards campus.
Fort Collins has been built up significantly between CSU and the foothills by the time this 1960s photo was taken, but there were still open fields along Elizabeth.
You can also still see the smoke stack that towered over the heat plant on the east side of the Oval on campus.
CSU is going through another growth spurt today as they plan for a student population of 35,000 students in the near future. An aerial photo taken in just a few years might look very different than those taken by Google Maps this year.