CSU Archives and Special Collections

CSU Buildings and Grounds History

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

Diversity House, 1946-

A white two-story home with three dormer windows on the second floor and one flat roof dormer. The house is situated on a lawn and foothills are in the background. The letter "A" for Aggies is visible on a foothill. A dog is in the foreground of the photograph running toward the camera.

Diversity House, 1946

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

Architect – Edwin A. Francis of Denver (1939 designed the house for the Wolfer family)

645 South Shields Street

The “President’s House” at the intersection of South Shields and West Laurel was first known by the College as “Greenhaven Farm”.  It was originally referred to as the “Wolfer Farm”.   The house served as the home to Presidents Roy M. Green, Isaac E. Newsom, William E. Morgan and Adrian Ray Chamberlain.  On March 12, 1946, the State Board of Agriculture reached an agreement to purchase the house and 75 acres of surrounding land from Mr. Clair F. Wolfer, an Aggie alumnus and local banker.  On November 18, 1948, the State Board purchased an additional 20 acres of contiguous land from Mr. Wolfer to complete the parcel.

According to Clair Wolfer’s daughter Nancy Voss, her father had had Denver based architect Edwin Francis design and build the colonial revival styled wood-framed house for his family. The original drawings of the residence, dated January 1939, are kept in the Denver Public Library’s Western History Department as WH1353.  Mr. Wolfer appears to have started purchasing the 95-acre tract west of Fort Collins in 1923.

On May 1, 1946, Colorado A & M College officially took possession of the property. President Roy M. Green and his family moved into the house that same month.  Using a play on words, the house was officially dedicated “Greenhaven Farm” as part of Commencement Day ceremonies on June 17, 1946. Following Dr. Green’s death in early January 1948, Dr. I. E. Newsom and his family lived in the house from late January 1948 until October 1949.  The Newsom family moved into another house in Fort Collins following his short stint as College President.

In late 1949, the house received some renovations along with a new stove, refrigerator and washing machine to accommodate the newly hired William E. Morgan and his family.  Dr. and Mrs. Newsom owned these appliances and took them with them when they moved out and into their next home in town.  Appliances were still hard to get during this post-war period.  The Morgan family lived in the Northern Hotel as they awaited the arrival of their furniture from Paris, France.  According to Mrs. Gladys Eddy, President Morgan did not like the nickname “Greenhaven Farm” and the dwelling was simply called the “President’s House”.  The Morgan family hosted many dinners and house guests during their twenty-year occupancy of the house. 

One of the early ideas was to use part of the 95-acre “Wolfer Farm” land as the site to relocate the College Dairy as moving these operations off the Main Campus were beginning to be considered.  Within a year, a large part of the land was put into use for the “Bull Farm” and a few years later, the Horse-Riding Stables and its pastures.  In May 1960, the State Board of Agriculture was considering an offer by the Sigma Nu fraternity and Delta Delta Delta sorority to purchase the house along with 12 acres of surrounding land.  Negotiations and discussions went on over the next year. In 1961, the land but not the house was sold for the construction of several fraternity and sorority houses.  That tract became known as Wagner Park.

In 1969, President William E. Morgan retired.  He and his wife moved into a house they owned in Fort Collins.  The President’s House received some renovations to accommodate the young family of the new President, Dr. A. R. Chamberlain.  The garage was converted into a family room during this renovation along with the northwest porch being enclosed and some other interior room changes.  The Chamberlain family lived in the house for the next ten years until he resigned from the University.  It was decided by the State Board of Agriculture that future presidents would receive a stipend and find their own house in which to live.  At their December 1978 meeting, the State Board of Agriculture voted to use the house for the Office of Alumni Relations and Development.

In July 1979, the house became the offices of the CSU Alumni Development Center and the newly formed CSU Foundation.  On Friday evening March 2, 1984, the front wall of the house was smashed in by a car whose driver who failed to stop at the red light at Laurel and Shields.  The damage was repaired.  A renovation of the house took place in 1989 that saw the southwest porch being enclosed and a new wet bar added along the north wall.  Early Saturday morning, October 28, 2000, a hit and run driver in a pickup truck crashed into the same part of the building doing $15,000 in damage.

In February 2005, ideas for constructing a new building to house the Alumni Center surfaced.  The sites being considered were near Green Hall.  The idea was eventually dropped and, in the summer of 2008, the Alumni Office moved into the former Tiley House at 1301 South College Avenue. Following some remodeling during the summer of 2008, the house became the offices of the Office of Conference Services and the Pingree Park administrative staff on October 16, 2008. 

In the fall of 2011, an announcement was made that in the spring of 2012, the old President’s House was to be vacated and was to be torn down to make way for a new parking lot.  The upcoming renovations to Durrell Center and the construction of “Academic Village North” on the Lory Apartment site, was felt to require more parking at that end of campus.  Where the Office of Conference Services and the Pingree Park staffs were to be relocated had not yet been decided.

By the spring of 2012, plans had changed so that the President’s House would remain standing until the new residence hall complex on West Laurel Street was opened.  Those plans had a parking lot being built around the house in the fall of 2012.  The final plans of “Academic Village North” (Laurel Village) had office space allotted for the Office of Conference Services and Pingree Park staffs.

In April 2014, as “Laurel Village” neared completion, the Office of Conference Services was renamed Conferences and Events Services.  In August 2014, Conference and Events Services moved into its new office complex on the first floor of Alpine Hall of Laurel Village.  The offices of the Vice President of Diversity moved over from Johnson Hall to become the next occupant.  645 South Shields Street began showing as “Diversity House” on campus maps.  A small parking area services the house.

 

Sources by Gordon A. Hazard

State Board of Agriculture Minutes, February 8, 1946, pages 71-72.

Fort Collins Coloradoan, February 10, 1946, page 1, col. 1, “Wolfer Farm Deal Discussed”.

The Colorado State College Alumnus, March - April 1946, page 2, vol. XXVI, number 6.

State Board of Agriculture Minutes, March 9, 1946, page 82.

Fort Collins Coloradoan, March 10, 1946, page 1, col. 1, “College Buys 75 Acre Tract of Wolfer Farm”.

Rocky Mountain Collegian, March 14, 1946, page 1, vol. LV, number 21.

Rocky Mountain Collegian, April 5, 1946, page 1, vol. LV, number 22.

State Board of Agriculture Minutes, April 13, 1946, page 101.

Fort Collins Coloradoan, April 14, 1946, page 1, headline, “High Bids Force College to Halt Men’s Dormitory Plan”.

State Board of Agriculture Minutes, May 24, 1946, page 114.

The Colorado State College Alumnus, May - June 1946, page 2, vol. XXVI, number 7.

Colorado A&M News, July 1946, page 8, vol. 1, number 1.

“The 1947 Silver Spruce”, page 13, vol. 42.

State Board of Agriculture Minutes, February 21, 1948, page 315.

State Board of Agriculture Minutes, August 21, 1948, page 378.

“Long Range Development Program”, Report to the Colorado State Planning Commission, March 1952, page 10.

State Board of Agriculture Minutes, February 17, 1953, page 164.

Rocky Mountain Collegian, May 3, 1956, page 8, col. 4-5, vol. LXV, number 32.

State Board of Agriculture Minutes, March 15, 1957, page 132.

State Board of Agriculture Minutes, July 19, 1957, page 219.

State Board of Agriculture Minutes, November 20, 1959, page 552.

Colorado State University Rocky Mountain Collegian, January 12, 1960, page 8, col. 3, vol. LXVIII, number 23.

State Board of Agriculture Minutes, May 10-11, 1960, page 632.

State Board of Agriculture Minutes, June 16, 1960, page 20.

State Board of Agriculture Minutes, October 7, 1960, pages 53 and 59.

State Board of Agriculture Minutes, May 9-10, 1961, page 171.

State Board of Agriculture Minutes, May 13, 1961, page 174.

State Board of Agriculture Minutes, August 4-5, 1961, page 224.

State Board of Agriculture Minutes, August 31, 1961, pages 237-238.

State Board of Agriculture Minutes, September 15, 1961, pages 250-251 and 258.

State Board of Agriculture Minutes, October 20-21, 1961, pages 272-273.

“Projections 1964”, booklet from the CSU Planning and Physical Plant, pages 14, 78.

CSU Collegian, April 10, 1969, pages 1, 3 and 4, vol. LXXVII, number 87.

CSU Collegian, October 10, 1969, pages 1 and 6, vol. LXXVIII, number 18.

Fort Collins Coloradoan, Sunday, February 8, 1970, page 20A of the “Colorado State University Centennial Issue”.

State Board of Agriculture Minutes, October 22, 1971, page 50.

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

Fort Collins Journal, February 14, 1977, pages 1 and 13, vol. LXXXV.

State Board of Agriculture Minutes, November 16, 1978.

State Board of Agriculture Minutes, December 13, 1978.

Fort Collins Journal, January 17, 1979, page 9, vol. LXXXVII, number 85.

The CSU Alumnus, January – March 1979, page 1, vol. 55, number 1.

CSU Comments, August 23, 1979, page 3, vol. 10, number 2.

Rocky Mountain Collegian, September 3, 1979, page 7, vol. LXXXVIII, number 1.

Colorado State University Alumnus, July – September 1979, vol. 55, number 3, page 3.

CSU Comments, October 18, 1979, page 3, vol. 10, number 10.

Fort Collins Journal, October 19, 1979, page 5, vol. LXXXVIII, number 34.

The Collegian, January 25, 1982, page 1, vol. XC, number 66.

Rocky Mountain Collegian, March 6, 1984, page 3, vol. XCII, number 117.

State Board of Agriculture Land: Chuck Terrell Interview, June 1986, pages 10, 12 and 14.

Rocky Mountain Collegian, September 10, 1990, page 2, vol. 99, issue 20.

“Draft of State Nomination, Colorado State University Alumni Center, Formerly the Home of the CSU Presidents”, written by Brenda Carlile, Agnes Dix, Robin Stitzel and Cheri Yost for Historic Preservation Professor John Albright, Spring 2000, 29 pages.

Rocky Mountain Collegian, October 30, 2000, page 1, vol. 109, number 51.

Rocky Mountain Collegian, October 1, 2004, page 9B, vol. 113, number 29.

Rocky Mountain Collegian, February 3, 2005, page 1, vol. 113, number 87.

Board of Governors Minutes, June 22, 2006, page 7.

Rocky Mountain Collegian, September 1, 2006, pages 1 and 4, vol. 115, number 19.

Colorado State University Visitor / Parking Map published August 2014.

Colorado State University Visitor / Parking Map 2015 -2016.

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