Red Feather Lakes History — Celebrating 100 Years

Red Feather Lakes (Photo by Red Feather Lakes POA)

Caryn Hughes |  RFL POA

Red Feather Lakes is celebrating 100 years[1923-2023].  Here’s some history of the area:

In the late teens, a resort development was conceived in the mind of Myron Akin.  In 1920 B.H. Princell, Marvin James, George Shaw, Dr D.O., Norton, and Myron Akin formed the first property owners’ association called the Red Feather Mountain Lakes Association, and in 1921 started surveying the various sub-divisions. 

A large number of lots were sold, and 50 to 60 cabins were built.  Red Feather Mountain Lakes Association was incorporated on September 11th, 1923.

About that time, the local fish hatchery was built, located between Hiawatha Lakes and Ramona Lake with water from Hiawatha.  Rob White of Holyoke, Colorado, has the Silver Fox farm in full swing. 

Morris Swedlow built a big clubhouse just west of West Lake, running it successfully for a year or so, during which time he was active in the property owners association.  

Red Feather Lakes was bustling at this time, and the property owners’ board asked for and received a commission for James Esterbrook, who became the first Postmaster of Red Feather Lakes on July 2, 1924.

Then came the crash of 1929, which did in most of the sales of lots.  The company fell on hard times.  There were several re-organizations of the company.  John Ross loaned a large sum of money to the Company, but sales were still down, and he had to foreclose in the mid-30s, and his daughter Mary Ross Quaintance, ultimately took over.

Red Feather was dormant primarily through the 1930s.  

Then in 1941, the Red Feather Sportsman Club was formed with the blessing of the POA, with the goal of inducing the Game & Fish Commission to buy water rights on the chain of lakes. 

Red Feather Lakes Historical brochure

In 1947 the Red Feather Storage and Irrigation Company was incorporated and made a deal with Game & Fish to take Dowdy, Westlake, and Bellaire Lakes since these were located on U.S. Forest Service ground. 

Red Feather Storage sold the stock and bought all the other lakes, ditches, and canals in the Red Feather chain.  In February 1948, the Tunnel Water Company deeded all the lakes and water rights to the Red Feather Storage and Irrigation, and it turned deeded Dowdy, Westlake, and Bellaire to the Game & Fish.

The 1950s was almost a boom for Red Feather.  In the 1960s, through the efforts of the Property Owners Association interceding with the Larimer County Commissioners, the road was surfaced. The Red Feather Lakes Property Owner’s Association has guided Red Feather Lakes since the early 1920s.

The village of Red Feather Lakes is 100 years old.   Tucked into the mountains north and west of Fort Collins is charming and rustic Red Feather Lakes. This year-round getaway offers a bounty of activities for families, couples, and individuals.

Part of this village’s appeal is its remoteness – it is surrounded by Roosevelt National Forest, which provides a majestic buffer between visitors and the hustle and bustle of the world outside.

Riding on the fire truck at 2018’s Red Feather Lakes Fire Days. Photo Credit Charles Broshous Photo ©

There is something to do outside every season: camping, hiking, rafting in Poudre Canyon, kayaking, fishing the abundant lakes or in the Poudre River, biking, horseback riding, golfing, or wildlife watching. In the winter, of course, the beautiful mountain landscape changes dramatically, and activities take a decidedly more snow-related turn – cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, snow tubing, and ice skating are a few popular pastimes. 

Soaking up some Colorado mountain history is yet another way to spend some time at Red Feather Lakes

Help us with our Centennial celebration for the Independence weekend, July 1st, 2nd and 3rd.

Visit our website:, for further details and activities.


Submitted by Caryn Hughes – Office Manager of RFL POA, Board of Directors [Treasurer] Red Feather Lakes Fire Protection District, Vice President of the Red Feather Historical Society, Vice Chair of the RFL Planning Advisory, and Chair of Larimer County 13A GID Board


Here’s a photo of Red Feather Lakes

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