By Megan Maiolo-Heath, Communications Coordinator
Poudre Heritage Alliance
Help NFN Grow
Cache la Poudre River National Heritage Area
Working with volunteers from Colorado State University’s El Centro, and with support from New Belgium Brewing Company, the Poudre Heritage Alliance (PHA) is launching a coordinated effort to gather stories from residents living in the Buckingham neighborhood, located just northeast of Old Town, Fort Collins, an area with a rich history important to the City of Fort Collin’s story.
The Buckingham, Alta Vista and Andersonville neighborhoods were a product of the sugar beet industry, an economic empire that emerged in Colorado at the turn of the twentieth century. These neighborhoods supplied laborers to the sprawling sugar beet factory and the surrounding sugar beet fields. Germans from Russia (Volga Germans) and Latinx families lived in the Buckingham neighborhood and worked in the sugar beet fields and factory. Both groups faced forms of discrimination for many decades, even being denied service in some Fort Collins stores.
“All our voices matter, and we would appreciate capturing these stories,” said Dr. Guadalupe Salazar, Director of El Centro at Colorado State University and who grew up in the Buckingham Neighborhood. “We want to be inclusive and appreciate the diversity in this neighborhood. We have to accept this history so we can heal and move forward.”
To prepare Latinx and Volga German volunteers to canvas the Buckingham neighborhood on August 14, 2019, from 4-7pm, Erika Reyes Martinez (Director of Communications & Community Engagement at the Denver Public Library) will lead a training session hosted by PHA at New Belgium Brewing Company on August 8, 2019, from 9am-1pm.
The project will culminate in a neighborhood open house on September 19, from 4-7pm, at New Belgium Brewing Co., where more stories will be collected and recorded while bringing together community members of diverse backgrounds.
The goals of the project are to 1) Collect stories from families that have lived in this neighborhood for multiple generations; 2) Create audio and video documentation of the neighborhood’s history; 3) Create a gateway feature and historic marker along the Cache la Poudre River National Heritage Area’s Heritage Trail; 4) Preserve an important history from a community that has often been left out of the Fort Collins story.
The Cache la Poudre River National Heritage Area (CALA) is one of 55 National Heritage Areas (NHA) in the United States. NHAs are places where natural, cultural, historic, and scenic resources combine to form a cohesive, nationally distinctive landscape arising from patterns of human activity shaped by geography. CALA stretches 45 miles along the curves and bends of the hard-working Poudre River from the eastern border of the rugged Roosevelt National Forest, down through the blossoming cities of Fort Collins, Windsor, and Greeley, until the vital water resource joins with the South Platte River in the Colorado eastern plains.
As the managing organization behind CALA, the Poudre Heritage Alliance (PHA) serves the local communities of Larimer and Weld County by building a deeper understanding of the Poudre River’s national significance as it relates to water law and water management. PHA and CALA bring together residents, private organizations, and government entities behind this common goal, while also enticing tourists with the recreational, environmental, and historical points of interest throughout the Heritage Area. PHA programs and initiatives that support these efforts include volunteer trainings, grant-funded projects, and outreach events that help educate people about water history and the importance of the Poudre River corridor today.
The mission of El Centro is to provide support for the Latinx community at Colorado State University (CSU) and Fort Collins. We do this by encouraging student engagement, academic success, cultural pride, empowerment, and volunteer/leadership opportunities. We strive to promote an inclusive environment that focuses on awareness and understanding of the Latinx experience.