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Where was Rockwood School?


From the Fort Collins Museum archives.

In the comments section of an earlier post, Barefoot Meg asks, “where was Rockwood School?”

Funny you should ask. I made Norm drive me there last month because I wondered too.

Rockwood-Place (later renamed Barton) was built in 1908 near the beet factory and attended by migrant children– German Russian and Hispanic. It was the backdrop of many of Lewis Wickes Hine’s 1915 photos of working children in Fort Collins, part of a nation-wide endeavor to curb child labor.


Lewis Wickes Hine photo of Rockwood Place School, 1915


Henry, 14 years old

Lewis Wickes Hine photo taken in front of Rockwood School

It’s a vacant lot now … I marked it in red in the lower right of this photo. The red box at top is what’s left of the beet factory.

(Click for a larger view. Or google map: “9th street fort collins” for street and surrounding views.)


We lose a lot of cool old schools. Washington Elementary,  on Shields, will be the next to go.

And here’s something really, really interesting about Fort Collins’ schools (and CSU): They don’t have to abide by Fort Collins planning guidelines.  That is, if the city fails to approve a Poudre School District’s development proposal, PSD can get an override from the school board.

No kidding.

5 comments to Where was Rockwood School?

  • I remember when this school was demolished and I think that a roofer used it for storage for a few years just prior to it’s demolition. I recall it being in bad repair, all the windows were out and it looked pretty forlorn. My viewpoint was always that it didn’t have the historic value that Remington or Franklin school seemed to have.

  • I have theorized that GW’s beet receiving area was located at these coordinates:
    40 35 42 N 105 02 53 W
    If you paste the above string into Google Maps satellite view you can see an area bordered by Vine Dr. and railroad spurs, the river, and a canal. The canal could have been part of the old beet sluice and if so, it’s a vestige of the early sugar company in Fort Collins before GW bought up the place.
    I have nothing to back up this claim other than a description of the old sugar plant being located South of Vine on the East side of the river. The railroad yard also suggests that a lot of activity was going on in that area.

  • catfc

    @Jim Burrill: I added more content since your letter. It was interesting to me because of its connection to the Lewis Wickes Hine photos. I didn’t say that initially.

    I agree that Franklin was a whole other degree of loss.

    @bugman When I get over this stomach flu, I plan to go see what you’re talking about. Thanks.

  • Thanks for the Rockwood School info. I ran across this while looking for a photo of the Franklin School in Fort Collins. It was on the 100 block of south Howes where the Steeles Market building now stands. Does anyone have a photo of the school? (I know one exists at the museum.) Wouldn’t it be interesting if the building that replaces the Steeles building could have elements of the old school. (Pat… if you happen to read this…. I have an idea … call me.)

    I am a structural engineer with a serious interest in historic buildings and timber framing. I just worked on Jim Burrill’s home foundation for the home being moved to 305 N Meldrum Street. My office is at 105 S Meldrum, #4 above Ulrich Blueprint.


  • catfc

    Hi Geoff,

    Here’s a great pic from the University’s collection: