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Windsor, Colorado

Town of Windsor, Colorado
A residential neighborhood in Windsor
A residential neighborhood in Windsor
Location in Weld County and the state of Colorado
Location in Weld County and the state of Colorado
Country United States
State Colorado
Counties[1] Larimer County
Weld County
Platted 1882
Incorporated April 2, 1890[2]
 • Type Home Rule Municipality[1]
 • Mayor John Vazquez
 • Total 14.9 sq mi (38.7 km2)
 • Land 14.6 sq mi (37.9 km2)
 • Water 0.3 sq mi (0.8 km2)
Elevation[3] 4,797 ft (1,462 m)
Population (2010)
 • Total 18,644
 • Density 1,276.9/sq mi (491.9/km2)
Time zone Mountain (MST) (UTC-7)
 • Summer (DST) MDT (UTC-6)
ZIP codes[4] 80528, 80550-80551
Area code(s) 970
FIPS code 08-85485
GNIS feature ID 0204693
Website Town of Windsor

The Town of Windsor is a Home Rule Municipality in Larimer and Weld counties in the U.S. state of Colorado.[5] According to the 2010 Census, the population of the town was 18,644.[6] Windsor is located in the region known as Northern Colorado. Windsor is situated 59 miles (95 km) north of the Colorado State Capitol in Denver.


  • History 1
  • Geography 2
  • Climate 3
    • 2008 tornado 3.1
  • Demographics 4
  • Community and culture 5
    • Mass media 5.1
    • Museums 5.2
    • Parks and recreation 5.3
    • Arts and culture 5.4
    • Notable people 5.5
  • Education 6
    • Athletics 6.1
    • Marching Band 6.2
  • See also 7
  • References 8
  • External links 9


A rich wheat farming district, the area around Windsor first drew permanent residents in the early 1870s. Two factors were to play a critical role in stimulating Windsor's early development: irrigation and the railroad. Irrigation increased crop variety and production and the railroad shipped this bounty to market. The town was platted in 1882, the same year the Windsor Railroad Depot was built, and incorporated in 1890. It was named for the Rev. Samuel Asa Windsor.[7] By 1900, tariffs on foreign sugar had created a market for new sources of sugar. Research in the improved cultivation of sugar beets was taking place at Colorado Agricultural College in Fort Collins, and the capital to advance production and manufacture of beet sugar was coming together. In 1903 a factory for producing sugar from sugar beets was built in Windsor. Sugar beet cultivation required large numbers of "stoop laborers", a need that was met by ethnic German immigrants from Russia. With large families and a strong work ethic, the German-Russians who settled in Windsor and other sugar beet areas would achieve financial success within one generation and own the highest producing beet farms. The Great Western Sugar Company fueled Windsor's economy through the mid-1960s, when the Windsor factory closed. Plentiful water and land drew Kodak to Windsor where it opened a manufacturing plant on the heels of the sugar factory's closing.

Kodak's opening spurred economic development in the town, and a population surge as the sugar beet factory closed. Later in the 1980s Metal Container Corporation (MCC) opened a can factory and Deline Box Company opened a factory, which closed in December 2010, that primarily served the Budweiser facility in Fort Collins, Colorado.

In the last two decades, its central location among the population centers of northern Colorado, together with its proximity to Interstate 25, have made it the site of rapid urban growth, particularly on the western edge of town, as it grows towards the interchange on I-25. In the 1990s, the town limits were westward into Larimer County. The incorporated town limits west of Interstate 25 are now contiguous with Loveland, and are separated from southeast Fort Collins by the Fossil Creek Open Space public lands of Larimer County acquired through a county-wide vote-approved sales tax.

In this century, there has been significant industrial development on the southeast side of town. Vestas has a turbine factory, and several related companies, Hexcel and Ice Energy have headquarters in Windsor. Owens Illinois has a glass factory that primarily serves the Budweiser facility in Fort Collins, Colorado.

Windsor ranked No. 1 in a study [8] of the "Best Cities to Live in Colorado." The town's low crime rate, ideal location and nearby amenities helped it beat out other favorable locations in the state.


Windsor is located at (40.477222, -104.911944).[9] Elevation above sea level is 4,799 feet.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 14.9 square miles (39 km2), of which, 14.6 square miles (38 km2) of it is land and 0.3 square miles (0.78 km2) of it (2%) is water.

The Cache la Poudre River runs through the west and south sides of town. It is approximately half-way between Fort Collins and Greeley on the BNSF Railway, and somewhat near the midpoint of a triangle formed by those two cities and Loveland. The town is bordered on the east by Greeley, on the northeast by Severance, on the northwest by Timnath, on the west by Fort Collins, the southwest by Loveland, and on the south by Johnstown. The town has a scenic view of Longs Peak and other Front Range mountain available throughout most all the town when looking to the west.

The main business district of town is east-west, along State Highway 392, which also serves as Windsor's Main Street. The BNSF line runs north of Main Street. The historic early grid of the town extends for roughly six blocks north and south of Main, and less than 10 blocks east and west, with a vibrant square green, called Main Park southeast of downtown. The park is surrounded by residences, and by the Town Hall (formerly Park School), at the north end.

A basketball game in Main Park, south of downtown. Town Hall, formerly a school, is visible in the background.

In recent years, commercial development has extended to the Water Valley development, along State Highway 257, near the intersection with

Windsor Lake,[10] a small reservoir in the irrigation system of Weld County, is one block north of the BNSF tracks. The lake is a popular spot for fishing. In the last decade, a 2.25 mile bike path was completed which circumscribes the lake. In addition to this reservoir, there are a number of other lakes and reservoirs that are former gravel mines along the Cache la Poudre river. These lakes have spurred housing developments and a golf course along their banks.

The Poudre Trail bicycle and pedestrian trail along the north bank of the Poudre includes a segment within the town of Windsor that connects the town with the City of Greeley.


Windsor experiences a semi-arid climate (Köppen BSk). High temperatures are generally around 85 °F (29 °C) in the summer and 42 °F (5 °C) in the winter, although there is significant variation. The hottest days generally occur in late July and the coldest in January. Nighttime lows are near 57 °F (14 °C) in the summer and around 15 °F (-9 °C) in the winter. Record high temperatures of 103 °F (39 °C) have been recorded, as have record low temperatures of -41 °F (-40 °C). The first freeze typically occurs around September 17, and the last often occurs in mid-May. The most precipitation typically occurs in May.

Extratropical cyclones which disrupt the weather for the eastern two-thirds of the US often originate in or near Colorado, which means Windsor does not experience many fully developed storm systems. Thunderstorms are frequent during summer afternoons. Windsor typically experience between 6 and 12 hail days per year and one of the highest concentrations of tornadic activity anywhere. The area where Colorado, Nebraska and Wyoming meet receives the most hail of any location in the United States.[11]

Some days in the winter and spring can be warm and extremely dry, with Chinook winds often raising temperatures to near 70 °F (21 °C) in January and February, and sometimes to near 90 °F (32 °C) in April. Windsor's elevation and low year-round humidity means that nighttime low temperatures are practically never above 68 °F (20 °C), even in the very hottest part of the summer. The diurnal temperature range is usually rather wide, with a 50-degree (Fahrenheit) difference between daytime high and nighttime low not uncommon, especially in the spring and fall months. Rapid fluctuation in temperature is also common – a sunny 80 °F (27 °C) October afternoon can easily give way to a 28 °F (-2 °C) blizzard within 12 hours.

Climate data for Windsor, Colorado
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 74
Average high °F (°C) 41.9
Average low °F (°C) 14.5
Record low °F (°C) −25
Average precipitation inches (mm) 0.31
Average snowfall inches (cm) 6.8
Source: NOAA[12]

2008 tornado

On May 22, 2008 at approximately 11:50 a.m., a tornado devastated the town and many areas of Weld County and Larimer County, killing one camper in his RV, and injuring 14 other people in its wake. The National Weather Service tornado damage assessments conducted on Friday May 23 and Saturday May 24 documented large areas of damage. On the enhanced Fujita scale there were pockets of EF3 damage especially near the Missile Silo Park Campground west of Greeley and to homes and businesses in eastern Windsor. Wind estimates in the heavily damaged areas were as high as 130 to 150 mph.[13] While the time of year and location of the tornado were not unusual, the west to northwest path of the tornado was highly unusual, and the tornado occurred earlier in the day than is typical for the area.[13] The storm was preceded by golf-ball to baseball sized hail and heavy rain, with hail damaging a much larger area than the actual tornado.

Home in Windsor, CO severely damaged by tornado on May 22, 2008.

In addition to the damages to homes, the tornado damaged many businesses and government buildings. The winds knocked over 15 Rail Road cars, vehicles and semi trucks. The tornado hit the Windmill Daycare center where all the staff and children survived with only minor cuts and bruises. The tornado caused extensive damage to the Windsor Milling and Elevator Co. Building, a building on the National Register of Historic Places. Five years after the tornado, the damage has not yet been repaired. The tornado devastated many of the town's park and recreation facilities, including the cemetery, ball fields, swimming pool, the town's main park and a new arts and heritage center.


  • Town website
  • CDOT map of Windsor
  • Windsor Now
  • Windsor Beacon

External links

  1. ^ a b "Active Colorado Municipalities".  
  2. ^ "Colorado Municipal Incorporations".  
  3. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names".  
  4. ^ "ZIP Code Lookup" ( 
  5. ^
  6. ^ "American FactFinder for Windsor Colorado Population". U.S. Census Bureau, Population Division. February 25, 2011. Retrieved February 25, 2011. 
  7. ^ "Profile for Windsor, Colorado".  
  8. ^ Study: Northern Colorado has the state's top living spot Adrian D. Garcia, The Coloradoan 2014/10/19
  9. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990".  
  10. ^ Topographic map from USGS via Microsoft Research Maps
  11. ^ UCAR: Hail.
  12. ^ "Climatography of the United States NO.81" (PDF).  
  13. ^ a b "Weld County Tornado of May 22, 2008 rated as an EF3".  
  14. ^ "Colo. tornado merits disaster designation".  
  15. ^ "Tornado damage costs top $193 million".  
  16. ^ "Town of Windsor Final Tornado Report". Retrieved February 25, 2011. 
  17. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2014". Retrieved June 4, 2015. 
  18. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved June 4, 2015. 
  19. ^ "About Us". Retrieved February 25, 2011. 


See also

The Windsor marching band has won a number of accolades over the years. The band won the State Championship in 1991, 1992, 2008, and 2011. The Windsor marching band had the honor of marching in the 2009 Presidential Inauguration Parade for President Barack Obama.

Marching Band

Year Sport Gender
1923 Basketball boys
1924 Basketball boys
1981 Football boys
1993 Football boys
2011 Football boys
1998 Volleyball girls
2006 Softball girls
2010 Track & Field girls
2011 Wrestling boys
2012 Wrestling boys

In addition to the 1924 Interscholastic Basketball Championship, the Wizards have won the following state championships:

Windsor High School currently fields teams in the following sports: baseball (boys only), basketball (boys and girls), cross-country running (boys and girls), football (boys), golf (boys and girls), lacrosse (boys), soccer (boys and girls), softball (girls), swimming (boys and girls), tennis (boys and girls), track and field (boys and girls), volleyball (girls), and wrestling (boys).


The high school mascot is the Wizards. In 1924 the then-Bulldogs playing with just 8 members won the United States Interscholastic Basketball Championship with a 25-6 victory over Yankton, S.D. After the first round of play, a newspaper story from Chicago described the team as the "western boys," the "Rocky Mountain team," and "wizards" with the ball - 'the Windsor Wizards.'" The school's official mascot name was the Bulldogs, but would soon change to the Wizards.

School Year Opened Grades Served Mascot
Tozer Primary School 1951 pre-K-2 Cougar
Mountain View Elementary 1979 3-5 Cougar
Skyview Elementary 1982 pre-K-5 Falcon
Grandview Elementary 2003 pre-K-5 Eagles
Rangeview Elementary 2010 pre-K-5 Trailblazers
Windsor Middle School 1976 (as WMS only) 6-8 Wizards
Severance Middle School 2009 6-8 Hawks
Windsor High School 1976 9-12 Wizards
W.E.S.T. Program 2008 ages 18–21 Wizards

The Windsor-Severance school district has five elementary schools, two middle schools and one high school.

The town is served by three school districts, Windsor-Severance School District, Thompson Valley School District, and Poudre School District. Thompson Valley and Poudre serve students in the Larimer County portions of the town.


Notable people

The Town sponsors a summer Concert in the Park series each summer, featuring local bands on Thursday evenings at the lakeside Boardwalk Park. Each Memorial Day weekend, the town celebrates Pelicanfest with an outdoor concert, triathlon and family fun run. Each August the Windsor Fine Arts Festival has a juried art show and features artists from across the nation. Over Labor Day weekend, the town's largest event, the Harvest Festival, provides a weekend full of activities, including a parade, carnival, concerts, hot air balloon festival, scholarship pageant, and home and garden fair. In October, the town has a single day Oktoberfest celebration.

The Fort Collins and Greeley, residents have easy access to productions and shows at the Union Colony Civic Center, the Lincoln Center, as well as local dinner theaters.

Arts and culture

The Windsor Community Recreation Center, adjacent to the police station and high school, offers classes, events, athletic leagues, senior recreation, and adaptive recreation for people with disabilities of all ages.

The town has 25 developed and undeveloped parks, totaling over 200 acres. Main Park sits south of the town hall and features roller-hockey rinks, basketball courts, sand volleyball courts, a playground and several picnic shelters. Boardwalk park is adjacent to Windsor Lake, and features a barrier-free wheelchair accessible playground, picnic shelters, swim beach, boating, fishing and a lake trail. Chimney Park, which features athletic fields, baseball diamonds and an outdoor swimming pool, sits on the eastern edge of town and includes property that was part of the Great Western Sugar factory. Eastman Park, adjacent to the Cache la Poudre River, features a skate park, picnic shelters, athletic fields, trails, playground, and off-leash dog park. Diamond Valley features baseball and softball diamonds.

Parks and recreation

The town has several museums. The Windsor Museum at Boardwalk Park is a multi-building living history display. The buildings include the Town's original 1882 Train Depot, a Pioneer School and Teacherage, Beet Shanty, and Pioneer Church. The Town's Art and Heritage Center maintains a number of exhibits that change periodically, and houses the museum collections. The Windsor Recreation Center has a historical photography exhibit.


KUAD-FM 99.1 is a country music station owned by Townsquare Media Group. Prior to becoming a country music station, the station played Top 40 hits. The station's first broadcast location was at the corner of 5th and Main in Windsor.

The town is served by two newspapers. The Windsor Beacon, a Gannett Co. paper, publishes Wednesdays and Fridays, and the Windsor Now, a Northern Colorado Communications Group paper, publishes Sundays. The Windsor Beacon first began publication as the Windsor Ledger in 1898. In 1902 the name changed to the Poudre Valley, and in 1946 to the Windsor Beacon.[19]

Mass media

Community and culture

Historically, many of the town's inhabitants were of Germans from Russia origin. Beginning in the early 1970s, as the population grew with industrialization, the ethnic makeup diversified. The towns German-Russian heritage is still evident in the town's churches, festivals and traditions.


The tornado caused $193.5 million in damage from about 24,000 auto and homeowner claims.[15] The U. S. Small Business Administration (SBA) approved more than $3 million in disaster loans to individuals and businesses in Weld County who suffered damage from the storm.[16]


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