Why Does This Fort Collins Dog Have Its Own Statue?
Fort Collins is a community full of dog lovers, but one pooch in particular is renowned enough to have its own statue in town. For those who have visited the Library Park in Old Town, it's likely that you've passed either the large stone marker that reads "Library Park Annie's Walk: Beloved Railroad Dog 1934-1948," or the bronze statue also commemorating this local canine. Annie wasn't just someone's adorable house pet, however — over 80 years ago, she actually served as Fort Collins' unofficial ambassador.
Annie's story began in 1934, after being found by a railroad worker outside of a blacksmith shop near Timnath. The man brought the scrawny mutt back to Fort Collins with him, where she quickly won over the hearts of not just the locals, but passengers arriving by train to the city too. Visitors loved to be greeted by this friendly face of fur, whom railroad workers dubbed as their "mascot," and oftentimes fed her as they got on or off the train. The train station was located close to where Washington's is now. A former Fort Collins resident, who was a young girl during Annie's prime, said the dog was always out there to greet passengers, so one day when she wasn't, the railroad workers went down in the basement, only to find their beloved mascot had passed away. The men buried Annie under a personalized head marker next to the railroad station. There's now a plaque that celebrates Annie in the same location, which is the Downtown Transit Center at 250 Mason Street.
Annie's grave site is considered a local, historic landmark, recognizing her 14 years of service and friendship for residents in Fort Collins. Upon being built by a local sculptor, the bronze, life-size statue was dedicated to Annie and placed in Library Park in 1998. For people who want to know more about her story, a book by Arlene Ahlbrandt, called "Annie the Railroad Dog," can also be checked out at the library.