The Violent History of The Old Armadillo Garage, One of Fort Collins’ Most Haunted Places [VIDEO]
If you've ever been on a ghost tour in Fort Collins (thank you for mine, Fort Collins Ghost Tours!) then you've heard about The Armadillo's garage (also called a carriage house), which is notoriously one of Fort Collins' biggest haunts-- or was, before its demolition.
Some have even been able to go inside and feel the presence of something else:
Some, though, have never heard the stories surrounding that infamous plot of land. Why were Fort Collins natives so afraid to go inside? What made the carriage house such an exciting spot for ghost tours?
The story starts back in the 1800's. An older man, James H. Howe, murdered his young wife, Eva Howe, by slitting her throat with a pocket knife. (FCGov.com)
Using The Colorado Historical Newspapers Collection, we are able to see what the exact front page was after the crimes occurred on April 5, 1888.
Eva and James Howe were a well-off couple, especially with James employed as a mill-right (he was one of the best mechanics in their area and was never out of work). James, however, was a frequent consumer of alcohol and every time he would drink he would become violent towards Eva. After a heavy beating one night, she went to the police requesting assistance but also requested that they did not arrest her husband. That seemed to be it, until the following day when she realized that it was too dangerous to stay with him in any capacity and began making plans to leave.
She went to a friend's house to store her items and left her baby daughter there as well. Later that evening, she returned to her house alone to finish her packing.
According to the paper, James had decided to go out drinking that night and when he came back, he found Eva preparing to leave him.
James was filled with anger and the two fought towards the front door until they both stumbled out onto the front yard. James apparently slashed her twice on the face before she keeled over on hands and knees and he reached over her, plunging his pocketknife into her throat.
Eva stumbled out towards Linden Street and screamed "MURDER!" before falling over and eventually bleeding to death. James ran inside and was found on their bed covered in blood, where he tried to convince townspeople that she had attempted to kill him first.
James was carted off to the local jail after the police finally got ahold of him. That night, before his subsequent trial that was slated for later that week, all the lights in Fort Collins were cut. Angry townspeople stormed the jail and broke James out with a metal chisel-- then, amidst his cries for mercy, they took him outside and hung him from a derrick nearby.
According to Erin Udell's report in The Coloradoan on the story, this is cited as "Larimer County's first and only lynching." Source.
The creepy carriage house no longer stands, and the exact house where Eva Howe was murdered by her husband has been moved to Walnut Street.
Fort Collins has its fair share of violent and odd histories, which is what makes it so interesting to live in our town. The story of Eva and James lives on unlike the carriage house, which was officially demolished in 2015.
Stay tuned for more creepy history, and comment below to tell us your local stories!