Fort Collins Noir shows residents a different side of town

At face value, Fort Collins seems like a rather innocent town. There are many suburban neighborhoods that are perfect for families to form and grow, accompanied by a strong public school system and one of the state’s largest universities located in the middle of it. However, the city’s history is not so innocent.

There are stories of corrupt police officers, a wife who poisoned her husband, unsolved murders, mysteries, prohibition and bootlegging.


While the town may have moved on beyond these stories, the Fort Collins Museum of Discovery is throwing an event which will remind its citizens of those times.

Fort Collins Noir will be held Friday, Nov. 1 at the museum, located at the intersection of College Avenue and Cherry Street.

It will feature many exhibits and artifacts that are not normally shown to the public, including a polygraph machine used by the police force.

It will also feature an authentic moonshine recipe brewed by local distillery Fiery Spirits, which will be open for the public to sample.

“I’m really excited about the stories,” said Sierra Tamkun, the reservations specialist at the Fort Collins Museum of Discovery. “We’re kind of an Old West cowboy town and you don’t really realize it until you start reading about this woman who murdered her husband so she could marry a Denver lawyer…stories about the early police force here — it’s just so great.”

Retired members of the police force will be speaking at the event and a local swing-dancing group known as the Jumpin’ Jive Cats will be performing.

The event itself will be themed around the 1920s and 1930s — showing up in costume is encouraged.

Attendees must be 21 years of age or older, and tickets are $20 per person, but there is a discount for museum members. Pre-registration is a requirement and can be done on their website or by visiting the museum’s front desk.

“We’ve got a lot of stories here and a lot of history and kind of that Noir-esque theme,” Tamkun said. “We just wanted to highlight those stories. It’s an interesting, entertaining part of our history. Being a western town, we had a lot of that cowboy-movie drama going on.”

Collegian Entertainment Staff Writer Sam Wangsness can be reached at