The Town of Wellington, Colorado


The town of Wellington was an oil, coal and agricultural hub throughout the 1800s and became a stopping location for wagon trains, travelers and military movement between Cheyenne, WY, and Fort Collins, CO. The town was founded in 1902, incorporated in 1905 and named after C.L.Wellington, an employee of the Colorado and Southern Railroad. Wellington is 10 minutes north of Fort Collins and 30 minutes south of Cheyenne. Wellington straddles the intersection of Interstate 25 and Highway 1 in the northeast corner of Larimer County making access to
Wellington quick and convenient for visitors, residents and business needs. Wellington is located north of the City of Fort Collins which is home to a world-class research university (Colorado State University), over 400 restaurants, cultural centers, small specialty shops, large shopping malls, and many other resources and programs.

Wellington is located in a semi-arid zone at an elevation of 5,201 feet above sea level. The climate offers four distinct seasons, where the average annual precipitation is approximately 14 to 17 inches and the growing season is 145 days in length.  The summers in Wellington are warm and pleasant, the nights are cool and comfortable with an average year-round humidity level of 35 percent.  The average summer temperature (April -September) is 76 degrees daytime and 48 degrees nighttime.  Average winter temperature (October -March) is 50 degrees daytime and 23
degrees nighttime.  The average winter snowfall averages about 8 inches per month.

Wellington maintained a population of approximately 500 residents until the early 1990s.  The population grew from 2,600 in 2000 to over 10,500 in 2018.  The potential growth of Wellington is depicted in the graph and considers possible scenarios for growth ranging between 5 and 15 percent. The growth rate from 2015 through 2017 averaged 10% per year.

New housing provides a large diversity of living facilities from single family homes on large lots to multifamily units. Median single-family homes are approximately $321,000 while Town Homes/Condos are approximately $207,000. Families with children are a large part of our growth due to the affordability of housing and the great family environment in Wellington.

Wellington is still maintaining a small-town atmosphere with its agriculture
perimeter and “Old Town” center. Residents comment on the great feel of the Town with its many parks and trails, businesses and activities.  The schools in Wellington have an exceptional reputation, both locally and nationally, for the quality and results of their programs.  A new high school is planned to be built by 2022.  Residents can enjoy this town and still have quick access to Cheyenne, Wyoming north and Ft. Collins, Loveland, and points south, local open space and the mountains without significant traffic delay.

Community activities sponsored by the Town, Wellington Colorado Main Streets Program, Wellington Area Chamber of Commerce and local businesses keep the residents and visitors engaged throughout the year.  The entire list of activities is outlined within this Community Guide.

Currently, the town covers approximately three square miles, with one-third of that area undeveloped. There is potential for Wellington to grow an additional 13 square miles in the future. The long-range plan for Wellington includes a nucleus of small-town amenities, residential regions, a relatively large area of commercial and light industrial, surrounded by rural housing and agricultural land. The community has an “old town” surrounded by affordable housing.

Businesses are critical for long term sustainability of Wellington from the standpoint of jobs, tax income and meeting the personal needs of the residents.  The commercial development in Wellington is growing along with the residential growth.  Within the Town limits, four commercial parks totaling approximately 100 total acres, are in various stages of infill.  Two of these parks have I-25 visibility.  In the last twelve months, approximately 80,000 square feet of commercial floor space has been sold or leased. There are approximately 70 acres of vacant land in the four business parks.  A cement railroad siding is two miles away.    

Our welcome mat is out for new entrepreneurs and those needing expansion space for their growing business. The Town of Wellington and the Wellington Area Chamber Of Commerce are very business-orientated and supportive to new and existing businesses.  The new Town Administrator and his staff are dedicated to making new business development as short and smooth as possible.  If you are looking for a location that is accessible and welcoming for both businesses and their employees, you need to look no further. Join us in Wellington!

(The article was written by Annie Lindgren, Executive Director of Wellington Main Streets Program | January 15, 2019)

Wellington, the offspring of a railroad company and an irrigation company

Wellington was named after Charles L. Wellington, who was the traffic manager for the Colorado & Southern Railway in 1902 when plans began for bringing the railway north of Fort Collins. The area that would become Wellington, previously known as ‘Section 33 in Township 9 North-Range 68 West’, was used for farming and livestock, thanks to the water supply brought to the area by North Poudre Irrigation Company, the owner of the land as of 1901. At the time, the only way to get crops to market was via horse-drawn vehicles and unpaved roads. Beet farming was the biggest of these crops, and the completion of the railroad in October of 1903, allowed the first train to carry sugar beets from Boxelder Valley farms to the Fort Collins sugar factory. With the convenience, the railway added, and the increase in agricultural land, a real estate boom sparked, and led to the founding of a town that would serve as a local market center. The plat for the town of Wellington was filed with Larimer County in January of 1903, with the railway and depot bordering the West end of town. It was a rectangular grid of twelve blocks, with Cleveland Avenue as the main route in and out of town. The other east to west streets were given presidential names Garfield, Harrison, McKinley, and Roosevelt Avenue, while First, Second and Third Streets ran north to south making up the boundaries for the original townsite. The rest of Section 33 in this area known as Boxelder Valley, was called ‘Wellington Place’ and was divided into 10-acre parcels. North Poudre Irrigation placed an ad in the Fort Collins Courier in January of 1903, advertising the new town of Wellington and the beautiful suburb of Wellington Place, covering 40 acres in the heart of the fertile Boxelder Valley. All the land in Wellington Place was sold by 1905, and in this same year, the town of Wellington expanded to the east towards Fourth and Fifth Street, for a downtown closer to what we know now.

What started as a twinkle in the eye of a railroad traffic manager and an irrigation company, grew into the 116-year-old downtown we know today. Beginning in 1903, businesses and homes popped up all around town. Among the first businesses, even before the completion of the railway, was the Duncan & Hackleman Blacksmith Shop and the Corbin-Black Lumber Company, buildings still standing today on First Street. Next to follow was a general store, a post office, a schoolhouse, and the Colorado Telephone Company. Gravel was hauled from Boxelder Creek to grade the streets, and 400 shade trees were planted around town, for the first downtown beautification project. The 16 room Wellington Hotel opened for business in August of 1904, accommodating overnight guests and space in the dining room for special occasions. The first Mayor was elected in 1905, and the first town hall was built in 1909. The first water system was installed in 1907, with a filtration system made of gravel and charcoal. Electricity came to Wellington in 1916, which is also when downtown got its first street lamps, and it wasn’t until 1925 that plumbing came to town. The First National Bank of Wellington was open for business in September of 1905 (in the building now owned by North Poudre Irrigation), and John Cusack, the owner of said bank built a beautiful Victorian home on the east side of town, that we now refer to as Drohmans Salon Day Spa. In 1905 the buildings that now house Soul Squared Brewing and Owl Canyon Coffee were built as a restaurant and retail shop. The Hager Harness shop built in 1909 is now the Polished Nail Spa, though you can still see the ghost sign for the Harness shop on the north side of the building. Wellington’s history is laced throughout downtown, in the many brick buildings and old houses that line Cleveland Avenue and First Street, and the information above only captures pieces of the first decade of Wellington’s history.

In 2016, the Wellington Main Streets Program, in conjunction with the Wellington Area Chamber of Commerce, applied for grant funding from the History Colorado State Historical Fund grant, to fund a historical survey of 25 downtown Wellington buildings, hiring Ron Sladek with Tatanka Historical Associates to provide the service. This project was completed in 2018, and the survey results can be found on the Wellington Main Streets website at or at the Wellington Public Library. The above information was obtained from the Downtown Survey Cultural Resources Documentation & Analysis report written by Mr. Sladek. Stay tuned for more stories regarding the history of Wellington.