CSU Archives and Special Collections

CSU Buildings and Grounds History

A history of CSU's building and grounds from 1870 to the present.

Laurel Hall / Printing Service Building / Printing and Publications Building / Foods Research Laboratory / Student Health Service Building / Veterinary Medicine Building / Library / Commercial Building / Chemical Laboratory / Barn, 1882-

Entrance of a brick building, framed by trees lining the street, with a sign stating, "College Library".Library (Laurel Hall), 1882-

From CSU's Sense of Place:  A Campus History of Colorado's Land-Grant University, by James E. Hansen, Gordon A. Hazard, and Linda M. Meyer.  Fort Collins, CO:  Colorado State University, 2018.

Architects – C. B. Hastings, Bryant S. LaGrange, Montezuma W. Fuller

Builders – J. C. Davis (1888 addition), Frank Anderson of Denver (1897 reroofing), Ernest Waycott (1915 addition)

700 Oval Drive

Approved by the State Board of Agriculture in September 1881, the original structure we now know as Laurel Hall was initially a barn built in the summer of 1882.  The design of State Board of Agriculture President Bryant S. LaGrange was used for the original 25’ x 36’ brick barn that had a 14’ ceiling and an 8’ deep basement. C. B. Hastings was hired to make the construction drawings.  It was budgeted at $1,550.  Used as a barn for only a few months, it quickly was converted into a Chemical Laboratory in the spring of 1883 using the design created by local architect Montezuma W. Fuller.

In 1888, an addition and some updates to the building were made. 1891 saw some interior remodeling, installation of strengthening rods for the walls and a new addition built onto the Chemical Laboratory.  The addition gave the building two new rooms with much more modern laboratory facilities along with a new furnace and its chimney.  The basement door was enlarged so that the fire hose cart and 200’ of hose could be stored inside the building and be accessed quickly by fire fighting men.  It was this same time that a request was made to the State Board of Agriculture to have permanent ladders installed on the backside of the building to give rapid access to the roof if needed.

The construction of the new Chemical Building south of the Main Building allowed a new use of this building in 1897.  The short-lived Commercial Department taught business related courses there from 1897 to the early fall of 1904 when they moved over to space in the newly opened addition of the Main Building.

Remodeling once again took place during the late months of 1904 and the building next served as the second location of the College Library from 1905 until 1928.  Despite being poorly heated, ventilated and lit, Head Librarian Joseph Francis Daniels took the old barn turned chemistry building and created a working library for the growing College.  It took months for the small library staff to find and assemble the multitude of books and periodicals long tucked away in small departmental libraries scattered around the campus.  In 1906, Miss Charlotte A. Baker was hired as an assistant for Mr. Daniels.

The College Library did not get to use the entire building.  Before they moved in, the basement was being used by Dr. George Glover’s Department of Veterinary Science for a laboratory housing dozens of rabbits and guinea pigs.  Odors said to resemble “dead dogs” permeated the College Library located upstairs.  In 1907, this veterinary laboratory was moved west to one of the buildings forming the newly opened Veterinary Hospital on Laurel Street.  Breathing in the library became much easier.  The basement was still not used by the College Library as forestry and education classes used it for several more years.  In 1907, Mr. Daniels began asking Dr. Aylesworth and the State Board of Agriculture for an addition to be built onto the building.  It would take eight years for this to happen. On January 1, 1910, Joseph F. Daniels left the College for a new job and was replaced by Miss Charlotte A. Baker who was appointed the new College Librarian. 

In October 1914, a new porch was built for the front entrance to the Library to help prevent hazardous ice forming on the entrance steps in the winter.  In November 1915, a reading room addition was opened to expand the College Library.  Designed by local architect Montezuma W. Fuller and built by local builder Ernest Waycott, it measured 50’ x 70’.  This badly needed addition was faced with blond brick giving the building an unusual look of the two different brick colors it still sports.

In July 1925, Miss Baker finally was able to get an elevator installed in the old building to better allow staff to move carts full of books around the cramped quarters.  In the early months of 1928, the new College Library building on the west side of the Oval had been built and this old building was once again ready to host a new tenant.   

In June 1928, following some remodeling, the veterinarians returned. The Pathology Laboratory took over the first floor of the building.  This lab had been displaced by the January 28, 1927 fire that destroyed the North and South Barracks (see #42). The veterinarians remained here until their new building was opened on the south end of the Oval in the spring of 1940.  Parts of this old building were then used by the Department of Agricultural Economics and the Chemistry Department beginning in the summer of 1940.

About 1938, upper floor of the building became the home of the Student Health Services.  The lower level was used as the Foods Research Laboratory by the Department of Home Economics.  In the summer of 1949, major interior and exterior remodeling took place.  This project saw the south exterior wall being replaced and the red brick faced with blond brick. The lower level was now used by the Multigraph Service and Post Office.

In March 1964, the Student Health Services moved into their new building. Printing and Publications moved-in with their printing presses that summer and stayed until the summer of 2001 when their operations moved to a building at the old Fort Collins High School on Remington Street.  The building was then once again renovated and given the name “Laurel Hall”.  The Office of International Programs moved into part of the building after many years at Aylesworth Hall.

Since 2003, the Department of Bioagricultural Sciences and Pest Management has used parts of this building to “temporarily” house the University’s “Clarence Preston Gillette Museum of Arthropod Diversity”. Under the direction of Entomology Professor Boris Kondratieff, this museum was started in the 1880s by Professor Clarence P. Gillette.  The CSU collection internationally known for its excellent representation of most orders of insects and is especially noted for its collection of Rocky Mountain and Southwestern United States insect species. The collection is also recognized for its collection of the aquatic insect orders of Lepidoptera, Diptera and Hymenoptera. The Gillette Museum also houses the “Bruner Family Library” which is the literary supplement to the University’s insect collection.  It has long been hoped to find a more suitable location for this delicate collection.  In early 2018, this became a reality when space was allocated at the Hartshorn Building..













Sources by Gordon Hazard

SBA Minutes, Sept. 1, 1881, p.75.

SBA Minutes, Sept. 2, 1881, p.82.

SBA Minutes, Apr. 8, 1882, p.110.

SBA Minutes, July 26, 1882, p.112.

Report of President C. L. Ingersoll to the SBA for the year ending Dec. 1, included as part of the 4th Annual Report of the SBA to Governor Pitkin, p.33.

SBA Minutes, Dec. 14, 1882, p.130.

Report of the SBA of the State of Colorado 1881-1882.

SBA Minutes, Feb. 21-22, 1883, p.s 142, 145, 148.

SBA Minutes, Apr. 26, 1883, p.154.

SBA Minutes, Aug. 30, 1883, p.s 165, 168.

SBA Minutes, June 9, 1887, p.s 29, 31.

SBA Minutes, Dec. 15, 1887, p.45.

SBA Executive Committee Minutes, Feb. 29, 1888, p.1.

SBA Executive Committee Minutes, Mar. 31, 1888, p.5.

SBA Executive Committee Minutes, Apr. 28, 1888, p.7.

SBA Minutes, June 8, 1888, p.64.

SBA Minutes, June 7, 1889, p.116.

SBA Minutes, Dec. 12, 1890, p.184.

SBA Minutes, Apr. 16, 1891, p.204.

SBA Minutes, June 11, 1891, p.219.

SBA Minutes, July 17, 1891, p.229.

“Twelfth Annual Register of The State Agricultural College, Fort Collins, Colorado, 1890-1891”.

13th Annual Report of the Secretary of the SBA State of Colorado 1891 to the Governor, p.s 23 and 33.

Rocky Mtn. Collegian, Feb. 1892, p.25, col. 1, vol.1, no.3.

SBA Minutes, June 11, 1892, p.288.

SBA Minutes, Dec. 14, 1893, p.367, 370-371.

“1895 Silver Spruce”, vol.1, History of the State Agricultural College.

SBA Minutes, June 7, 1895, p.482-483.

SBA Minutes, Dec. 4, 1895, p.509.

Rocky Mtn. Collegian, Jan. 1896, p.45, vol.V, no.4.

SBA Minutes, June 5, 1896, p.524.

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SBA Minutes, July 24, 1903, p.721.

“Map of the College Grounds – 1904”, by Ralph L. Parshall.

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“34th Annual Register of the Officers and Students of the Colorado Agricultural College Agriculture and Mechanic Arts, Prospectus for 1913-1914”, Series XIII, No.1, p.18.

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“Early History of the Colorado Agricultural College”, 1919, by George H. Glover, ’84, p.12, LD1153, G56, 1919, ARCHIVE.

Rocky Mtn. Collegian, Jan. 30, 1923, p.1, col. 3, vol.XXXII, no.34.

Agricultural Frontier to Electronic Frontier – A History of CSU Libraries 1870-1994, by Douglas J. Ernest, 1996, p.40.

Rocky Mtn. Collegian, May 9, 1924, p.s 1 and 4, vol.XXXIII, no.62.

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C.A.C. Alumnus, July – Aug. 1928, p.12, vol.9, numbers 3-4.


Sources by Gordon Hazard

Rocky Mtn. Collegian, Jan. 14, 1931, p.4, vol.XL, no.18.

Rocky Mtn. Collegian, Mar. 16, 1932, p.5, vol.XLI, no.26.

SBA Executive Committee Minutes, July 15, 1938, p.307.

Rocky Mtn. Collegian, Sept. 8, 1939, p.1, XLIX, no.1.

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“The History of the Library of Colorado State College 1879-1943”, by Laura I. Makepeace, p.5-6, 378.788, AE, M28, Archive; online access http://hdl.handle.net/10217/78807.

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“Long Range Development Program”, Report to the Colorado State Planning Commission, Mar. 1952, p.11, 16, 35 and campus maps, LD1145.8, A452, 1952, Archive.

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The Colorado Aggie Alumnus, Jan. – Feb. 1960, p.6, vol.36, no.1.

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“A History of CSU 1870 – 1974”, by James E. Hansen II, 1974.

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“Democracy’s College in the Centennial State – A History of CSU” by James E. Hansen II, 1977, pp.113, 131, 202, 213, 230-233, 329.

Chiron’s Time: A History of the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at CSU”, 1983, by J. Dennis McGuire and James E. Hansen II, pp.52-53, SF777 .M38 1983 ARCHIVE.

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 Rocky Mtn. Collegian, May 5, 1995, p.1, vol.103, no.161.

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Comment, Sept. 13, 2001, p.2, vol.32, no.4.

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“Department of Animal Sciences, CSU - A Century of Service to the Livestock Industry 1903 – 2003” by Dr. John Matsushima and Animal Department Staff, 2004, p.4.

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2013-2014 Directory, p.58.

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