January 10 – July 5, 2020
The Colorado-Big Thompson Project was a public works effort undertaken by the Bureau of Reclamation in Northeastern Colorado. The Western Slope of the Colorado Rockies collects 80% of Colorado’s rain and snowfall. The Colorado-Big Thompson Project’s East Slope Storage and Distribution System delivers water to nearly 1.5 million acres within the Project’s boundaries. The water is collected on the West Slope of the Continental Divide and transported to the East Slope through the Alva B. Adams Tunnel. Water is stored in three primary Front Range reservoirs—Horsetooth Reservoir, Carter Lake, and Boulder Reservoir. The water flows through approximately 120 ditches or canals and 60 storage reservoirs for agricultural, municipal, and industrial water uses. In the 1930s, local governments and surveyors planned a way to divert natural water from lakes on the Western Slope to Horsetooth Reservoir on the Eastern Slope. Construction of Horsetooth Reservoir began in 1946 and was complete in 1949. The reservoir began storing water in January 1951, submerging the town of Stout.
In 2002, the Bureau of Reclamation drained the reservoir and examined what was left of the town. Stout’s history lay under the reservoir’s bed for nearly five decades. Archaeologists unearthed thousands of artifacts from three locations around the shores. The Loveland Museum is a repository for the Bureau of Reclamation’s Horsetooth Historic Archaeology collection.
This exhibit features historic photographs from the Fort Collins Museum of Discovery and photographs of artifacts from the Bureau of Reclamation’s Horsetooth Historic Archaeology collection.