CSU Archives and Special Collections

CSU Buildings and Grounds History

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

Spruce Hall / Weaving and Ceramics Studios / Old Electrical Engineering Building / Electrical Engineering Building / Civil Engineering Building / Dormitory Building / College Boarding Hall, 1881 -

Two-story cross gabled building with basement and side addition. There is snow on the ground.

Electrical Building, 1926

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 – Hiram Pierce (original), Harlan Thomas (1893 remodeling), Austin Company of Chicago (1925 addition), Anthony Pellecchia and Jeffrey W. Olson Architects of Denver (1990 addition)

Builders – J. A. Rishel (original), Austin Company of Chicago (1925 addition)

150 Old Main Drive

The College had been operating for only one year when it became evident that some on-campus housing for students was needed.  On December 3, 1880, the State Board of Agriculture authorized the building of a dormitory.  On February 24, 1881, the site was selected and local contractor Hiram Pierce was hired to design the building.  Following several design changes to meet the tight budget, it was built by local builder J. A. Rishel for a cost of $5174.  The new “College Boarding Hall” had two upper floors for residents and a basement containing a kitchen, dining room and housing for the cook.  Another $500 was spent on furnishings.  

On September 29, 1881, the new building was opened as the “Dormitory”.  It was located north of the Main Building.  Male and female students were housed on separate floors. Each of the two upper floors had nine 9’ x 13’ rooms.  President and Mrs. Edwards moved into the new building so she could serve as “Dormitory Matron”.  This building now became the third official residence of President.  They lived there until April 1882 when Elijah Edwards resigned and the family left Fort Collins.

It was said the boys housed on the second floor would try to communicate with the girls on the first floor by lowering notes on a string weighted with small rocks.  Swinging them to tap on the girl’s window, the boy would wait until another note had been attached to haul up his answer.  Beginning in the fall of 1885, the dormitory was changed to a facility for female students only.  In 1887, the grounds around the building were first planted with grass seed.  In the fall of 1890, electric lighting and steam heating were installed in the building.

In the spring of 1893, President Alston Ellis recommended the abolishment of dormitory operations due to the expense and general management problems.  Engineering student Harlan Thomas provided the architectural designs for remodeling in the summer of 1893.  Various academic departments, such as Physics, Civil and Irrigation Engineering, and Electrical Engineering were now housed there.

In the spring of 1910, the Civil Engineers moved into their new building on the Oval.  This structure became known as the “Electrical Engineering Building” when it became exclusively used by that department.  Some repairs and remodeling took place that summer to better accommodate their growing needs.  The building now contained a large lecture room, recitation rooms, telephone, electrical measurement, dynamo and photometric laboratories.  An Electrical Engineering departmental library was housed in the building.  The department staff and students did all of the electrical work on the campus that included wiring new and existing buildings plus installing and maintaining the College telephone system..

In the summer and fall of 1918, two rooms in the building were used to train United States Army soldiers in sending and receiving international Morse code.  During the 1940s and 1950s, the building served a variety of uses such as studios for weaving and ceramics, an office for the local draft board, and as administrative offices for the College. 

A one-story wing with lots of windows was added on the north side of building during the summer of 1925 at the cost of $5000.  In 1926, a similar addition was added to the south end of the building. Both were originally used to house electrical engineering laboratory work.  By 1948, the wings became the studios for weaving (south) and ceramics (north).  The two wings were removed in early October 1989.

For years the building was called “Old Electrical Engineering”.  College administrators felt this name to be confusing to new students as the current Gibbons Building was then called “Electrical Engineering” or “New Electrical Engineering”.  This building received its present name of “Spruce Hall” in February 1954.  According to the college Vice President, Harry L. Dotson, that name came from the many stately spruce trees growing on that part of the campus.  This would become the first of several buildings to be named after the flora of Colorado (Alder, Aspen, Cottonwood, Laurel, Lodgepole, Piñon, Sage, and Walnut).

With the demise of Old Main on May 8, 1970, Spruce Hall took on the distinction of being the oldest building standing on the campus.  In the fall of 1978, Spruce Hall was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

A major addition was opened in August 1990 at the north end of the original building.  This addition more than doubled the size of the original building.  Anthony Pellecchia and Jeffrey W. Olson of Pellecchia Olson Architects of Denver, Colorado designed the addition to have the look of the original building but not try to match the original 19th century architecture.  The Division of Continuing Education and the Admissions Office were moved into the renovated building when it was completed.

In 2012, the INTO Colorado State University program offices were moved into Spruce Hall as the Division of Continuing Education and Admissions Offices had relocated to Drake Hall and Ammons Hall respectively.   The INTO Colorado State University Reception, Director and Administration staff, Student Services staff, Academic Faculty members are housed in Spruce Hall.  They also use the other INTO facilities at Alder Hall . The National Center for Vehicle Emissions Control and Safety (NCVECS) is also housed in Spruce Hall.

 

 

Sources by Gordon Hazard

State Board of Agriculture (SBA) Minutes, Dec. 3, 1880, p.45.

SBA Minutes, Feb. 23-25, 1881, pp.52-53, 58-59 and 61.

Fort Collins Courier, Mar. 31, 1881, p.3.

SBA Minutes, Apr. 27, 1881, pp. 62-65.

Fort Collins Courier, May 5, 1881, p.2.

“State Agricultural College, Fort Collins, Colorado, 3rd Catalog” for 1881, pp. 20-21.

Fort Collins Courier, Sept. 1, 1881, p.3.

SBA Minutes, Sept. 2, 1881, pp. 79-80.

Fort Collins Courier, Sept. 22, 1881, p .2.

Fort Collins Courier, Oct. 6, 1881, p. 3.

SBA Minutes, Dec. 14, 1881, p. 84.

SBA Minutes, Dec. 15, 1881, p. 87.

SBA Minutes, Dec. 16, 1881, pp. 90-91.

SBA Minutes, Jan. 27, 1882, p. 101.

SBA Minutes, Apr. 6-7, 1882, pp. 102, 104-107.

SBA Minutes, July 26, 1882, pp.119-120.

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

4th Annual Report of the SBA dated Dec. 18, 1882.

SBA Minutes, Feb. 21, 1883, p.143.

SBA Minutes, Apr. 26, 1883, p.157.

SBA Minutes, Aug. 27, 1885, pp. 217-223.

SBA Minutes, June 10-11, 1886, pp. 236-237, 240-241.

SBA Minutes, Apr. 7, 1887, p. 21.

SBA Minutes, Apr. 8, 1887, p. 24.

SBA Minutes, June 9-10, 1887, pp. 29, 31.

SBA Minutes, June 8, 1888, pp. 64, 66, 72.

SBA Minutes, Dec. 13, 1888, p. 95.

SBA Minutes, Apr. 4, 1889, p. 102.

SBA Minutes, June 6, 1889, p. 109.

SBA Minutes, Dec. 12, 1889, p. 139.

SBA Minutes, June 6, 1890, pp. 165-166.

SBA Minutes, Dec. 11, 1890, p. 175.

12th Report of the Secretary of the SBA for the year 1890, p. 10.

SBA Minutes, Apr. 16, 1891, pp. 201, 202-203.

Rocky Mountain Collegian (RMC), Jan. 1892, p. 16, vol. 1, no. 2.

RMC, Mar. 1892, p. 34, vol. 1, no. 4.

SBA Minutes, Dec. 16, 1892, p. 315.

RMC, Jan. 1893, p. 41, vol. II, no. 5.

SBA Minutes, Apr. 28, 1893, p. 320.

SBA Minutes, Apr. 29, 1893, pp. 322, 327.

RMC, June 1893, p. 87, vol. II, no. 9.

SBA Minutes, June 9, 1893, p. 337.

SBA Minutes, June 10, 1893, p. 345.

SBA Minutes, Aug. 3, 1893, pp. 353, 355.

SBA Minutes, Dec. 14, 1893, pp. 367, 369.

SBA Minutes, Dec. 15, 1893, p. 382.

SBA Minutes, June 8, 1894, pp. 411-412.

“Register of the Officers and Students of The State Agricultural College... 1893-1894”, pp. 68-70, 72.

City of Fort Collins Map, 1894.

“1895 Silver Spruce”, vol. 1, History of the State Agricultural College and Department of Irrigation and Civil Engineering.

Fort Collins Weekly Courier, Oct. 8, 1902, p. 1.

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

“The State Agricultural College, Fort Collins, Colorado, Catalogue and Prospectus – 1905-06”, pp. 30-32, LD1146, .C6, 1903/04-1907/08, Archive.

1907 Silver Spruce.

Sources by Gordon Hazard

RMC, Apr. 16, 1910, p. 3, vol. XIX, no. 29.

SBA Executive Committee Minutes, Apr. 29, 1910, p. 179, vol. Dec.1905-Dec.1916.

RMC, Sept. 21, 1910, p. 11, vol. 20, no. 1.

RMC, Nov. 16, 1910, p. 6, vol. 20, no. 9.

RMC, Apr. 5, 1911, pp. 1-5, vol. 20, no. 27.

“History of Larimer County Colorado”, by Alsel Watrous, 1911, p. 309, F782, L2W2, 1972, Special Collections.

“Colorado Agricultural College Bulletin – Engineering the Vocation for the Young Man with Ambition”, Series 15, No. 3, Apr. 1915, by Ralph L. Crosman.

RMC, Apr. 11, 1918, p. 1, vol. XXVII, no. 30.

RMC, Dec. 9, 1920, p. 1, vol. XXX, no. 13.

SBA Minutes, Apr. 8, 1925, p. 413.

RMC, Apr. 28, 1925, p. 1, vol. XXXIV, no. 58.

SBA Executive Committee Minutes, June 10, 1925, p. 334.

RMC, Sept. 28, 1925, p. 1, vol. XXXV, no. 3.

SBA Executive Committee Minutes, Nov. 21, 1925, p. 359.

SBA Executive Committee Minutes, June 19, 1926, p. 391.

C.A.C. Alumnus, July 1926, p. 6, vol. 7, no. 3.

SBA Executive Committee Minutes, Sept. 18, 1926, p. 401.

RMC, Nov. 30, 1926, p. 6, vol. XXXVI, no. 13.

C.A.C. Alumnus, July – Aug. 1928, p. 12, vol. 9, no. 3-4.

The Colorado Aggie Alumnus, May 1935, p. 4, vol. 15, no. 11.

“Colorado A & M College Program and Chronology, 75th Anniversary”, Fort Collins, Colorado, Feb. 10, 1945, p. 4.

SBA Minutes, Mar. 16, 1945, p. 5.

“Colorado A & M College 33rd Annual Summer Session 1945”, map shows building as the “Selective Service Board No. 19”, LD1146.C61 1945-1954 Archive.

Colorado A & M News, Aug. 1946, pp. 1 and 8, vol. 1, no. 2.

“Colorado A & M College 36th Annual Summer Session 1948” map, LD1146.C61 1945-1954 Archive.

“1950 Silver Spruce”, p. 100, vol. 45.

“Long Range Development Program”, Report to the Colorado State Planning Commission, Mar. 1952, pp. 11, 15, and campus maps, LD1145.8, A452, 1952, Archive.

RMC, Feb. 19, 1954, p. 1, vol. LXIII, no. 20.

The Colorado Aggie Alumnus, Mar. – Apr. 1955, pp. 6-7, vol. 31, no. 5.

RMC, Dec. 2, 1955, p. 2, vol. LXV, no. 11.

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

Colorado State University Collegian, May 5, 1960, p. 5, vol. LXVIII, no. 50.

“Historic Campus Spots of Colorado State University”, p. 26, by James R. Miller, 1963, https://dspace.library.colostate.edu/bitstream/handle/10217/76845/Miller_HistoricCampusSpots.pdf?sequence=1.

“Projections 1964”, booklet from the CSU Planning and Physical Plant, p. 17, LD1142.9,.P76, 1964, Archive.

Colorado State University Collegian, Feb. 11, 1966, p. 1, vol. LXXIV, no. 85.

SBA Minutes, Sept. 23, 1966, p. 135.

SBA Minutes, June 28, 1971, p. 569.

CSU Collegian, Mar. 28, 1972, p. 5, vol. LXXX, no. 95.

“A History of Colorado State University 1870 – 1974”, by James E. Hansen II, 1974.

Fort Collins Journal, Oct. 26, 1977, p. 1, vol. LXXXVI, no. 56.

“Democracy’s College in the Centennial State-A History of Colorado State University” by James E. Hansen II, 1977, pp. 46, 49-51, 62, 78, 82, 126, 329.

SBA Minutes, Apr. 20, 1978, p. 154.

CSU Comments, Oct. 5, 1978, pp. 1-2, vol. 9, no. 8.

Fort Collins Journal, Oct. 5, 1978, p. 1, vol. LXXXVII, no. 37.

Colorado State University Alumni Association Alumnus, June 1982, pp. 4-5.

SBA Land: Chuck Terrell Interview, June 1986, pp. 8 and 9.

RMC, Dec. 2, 1988, pp. 10 and 11, vol. 97, no. 88.

RMC, July 1989, pp. 16 and 17, vol. 98, no. 2.

RMC, Oct. 9, 1989, p. 1, vol. 98, no. 44.

RMC, Oct. 20, 1989, p. 9, vol. 98, no. 53.

RMC, Dec. 8, 1989, p. 6, vol. 98, no. 83.

RMC, Summer 1990, June 1990, pp. 8 and 9, vol. 98, no. 160.

RMC, June 15, 1990, p. 1, vol. 98, no. 162.

RMC, Sept. 27, 1990, pp. 1 and 5, vol. 99, no. 33.

RMC, Sept. 28, 1990, pp. 1 and 6, vol. 99, no. 34.

Comment, Apr. 11, 1991, p. 8, vol. 21, no. 25.

RMC, Apr. 7, 1993, p. 4, vol. 101, no. 132.

SBA Minutes, Oct. 11, 1994, 1-8a-z 1-1u-w.

SBA Minutes, May 2, 1995, 1-12a-aa,1-1u-v.  Includes a campus map indicating structures proposed for historic designation.

 RMC, Mar. 3, 1995, p. 4, vol. 103, no. 124.

RMC, May 5, 1995, p. 1, vol. 103, no. 161.

RMC, Nov. 29, 1995, p. 1, vol. 104, issue 71.

RMC, Oct. 22, 1997, p. 3, vol. 106, issue 41.

“Democracy’s University – A History of Colorado State University 1970-2003” by James E. Hansen II, 2007, pp. 5, 274, 396(n35).

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