CSU Archives and Special Collections

CSU Buildings and Grounds History

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

Train Depot, 1892 - 1924 and 1924 - ca. 1934

People are standing outside a small cross gabled wooden building that has a sign reading "State Agricultural College".

Train Depot, 1920

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 – Montezuma W. Fuller (1892)

Using the design provided by local architect Montezuma W. Fuller, a small wood-framed train depot building was built in the summer of 1892 on the Colorado Agricultural College campus a few yards northwest of Old Main on the east side of the railroad tracks.  Colorado and Southern passenger trains would stop for passengers here so there was no need to journey down to the main depot on Laporte Avenue.  It was supposed to have been said that the College administration wrote in its literature to the parents of prospective students “Your daughter may get off right on the campus and not be molested (whistled at) while walking through town.”

The building was described as being one-room, 10’ x 12’ in size, and equipped with wooden benches.  The side walls were of clapboard construction.  The ten-inch boards were secured to the framework in an upright position.  The cracks between the boards were battened with narrow wooden strips to provide a more weather-proof seal.  In time the wood weathered and warped and there was not as much of a seal left. 

Up until 1923, the little train depot also served as an official United States Post Office.  During the night of November 20, 1924, a group of students from the University of Colorado in Boulder came into town and set fire to the original Victorian-style building.  This was just before the two schools were to meet to play a football game in Boulder.  Other vandalism was done in and around Fort Collins that same night.   The University of Colorado Administration apologized and paid for the damages. The train depot was rebuilt in a plainer style using horizontal siding. 

Passenger train service decreased over the next decade and in late November 1933, the State Board of Agriculture’s Executive Committee began discussions about removing the now unused structure.  It appears that in 1934, the small building was removed from the campus.  Over the next fifty years it was said to have been used by an unnamed local rancher to store tack on his ranch on the west side of Fort Collins.

In 1988, the little building was acquired by the Fort Collins Municipal Railway Society and moved to Fort Collins City Park.  They restored the building. The former College Train Depot building now stands in Fort Collins City Park and is used as the ticket office for the historic Trolley number 21 of the Fort Collins Municipal Railway Society.

Sources by Gordon A. Hazard

Rocky Mountain Collegian, September 1892, page 6, vol. II, number 1.

State Board of Agriculture Minutes, December 15, 1892, page 309.

City of Fort Collins Map, 1894.

State Board of Agriculture Executive Committee Minutes, January 31, 1896, page 106.

Rocky Mountain Collegian, February 26, 1904, page 8, vol. XIII, number 8.

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

State Board of Agriculture Executive Committee Minutes, June 30, 1906, page 14.

Rocky Mountain Collegian, October 9, 1909, page 3, vol. XIX, number 2.

“The Silver Spruce”, published by the Class of 1912 in the spring of 1911, page 208.

Rocky Mountain Collegian October 3, 1918, pages 1 and 6, vol. XXVIII, number 2.

Rocky Mountain Collegian, October 3, 1922, page 1, col. 3, vol. XXXII, number 6.

Rocky Mountain Collegian, February 1, 1924, page 1, col. 2-3, vol. XXXIII, number 37.

Rocky Mountain Collegian, November 21, 1924, pages 1 and 3, vol. XXXIV, number 24.

University Historic Photo Collection Glass Plate Photo UPHC_4390.

State Board of Agriculture Executive Committee Minutes, November 24, 1924, page 304.

Rocky Mountain Collegian, December 5, 1924, page 1, vol. XXXIV, number 27.

Rocky Mountain Collegian, January 8, 1925, page 1, vol. XXXIV, number 31.

University Historic Photo Collection Glass Plate Photo UPHC_6094 dated October 7, 1929.

 

1931 Silver Spruce yearbook published in the spring of 1930.  Page 97.

University Historic Photo Collection Glass Plate Photo UPHC_6094.

State Board of Agriculture Executive Committee Minutes, November 22, 1933, page 177, vol. Sept. 1930 – Aug. 1940.

Campus Map drawn in 1934 and dated 1935.

University Historic Photo Collection Glass Plate Photo UPHCSNP_8574.

“Long Range Development Program”, Report to the Colorado State Planning Commission, March 1952, page 50.

Rocky Mountain Collegian, November 26, 1957, page 1, vol. LXVI, number 20.

“A History of Colorado State University 1870 – 1974”, page 8, by James E. Hansen II, 1974.

“Democracy’s College in the Centennial State – A History of Colorado State University” by James E. Hansen II, 1977, p. 132.

“History of Larimer County Colorado 1860-1987 Volume II”, edited by Arlene Briggs Ahlbrandt and Kathryn “Kate” Stieben, compiled by the Larimer County Heritage Writers, Fort Collins, Colorado 80524, 1987, pages 88-89, “Being an Aggie in 1921” by Iola Oglesby Pennock.

University of Colorado Library’s Sanborn Fire Insurance Map Collection.

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