I drive by this old building on north Overland Trail, all the time. It's beautiful. I am very excited to go and learn the history of the original Water Works building which opened in 1883. Prior to this development, water was either delivered by the "water wagon" or collected from a nearby irrigation canal. The threat of fire was always top-of-mind as most of the town's structures were wood frame construction.The water works was a huge deal for early Fort Collins settlers, businesses and the fire department.

From the Water Works website:

The Original Water Works was completed in June 1883, and by August 1883, 60 users had been supplied with water from the service. The average pressure on the pipes was 60 pounds per square inch and could be increased in the time of fire to 200 pounds. Streams of water could go to a height of 150 feet.

The city then had two fire companies, each supplied with a hose cart, 1000 feet of linen hose, nozzles, and ladders. Upon hearing the fire bell, the men ran with the hose cart to the hydrant nearest the fire, hooked up the hose, and put water on the blaze, while the remaining men brought the horse-drawn hook and ladder wagon with the other equipment.

By February 1884, there were 132 water customers, and by February 1885 there were 230 customers.  By 1889, there were 45 fire hydrants, 23 water gates, 411 taps, and 462 stop boxes.