CSU Archives and Special Collections

CSU Buildings and Grounds History

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

Agronomy Building/Agricultural Hall, 1892-1961

A man wearing Scottish attire and bagpipes is standing in front of Agricultural Hall which has a turret structure at the front of the building.

Agricultural Hall, c. 1905

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 – Harlan Thomas

Builder – Smith & Welton (1906 basement remodeling)

The first Agricultural Hall opened in 1892.  Using classical “Richardsonian Romanesque” style it was designed by the young local engineering student and budding architect Harlan Thomas.  The Agricultural Hall was constructed of red sandstone and sat east of the railroad tracks on the hill south of Durkee Field.  This building was used during its entire existence as an agriculture-related building including the years of the Colorado School of Agriculture.

The building design featured carved images of agricultural products.  A head of a ram carved out of sandstone looked down from the top of the arch framing the front door.    Some of the original carvings were felt to be inferior by members of the State Board of Agriculture and in 1894 they paid a stone carver $30 to improve some of the carvings. 

In December 1905, the State Board of Agriculture hired the building firm of Smith & Welton to remodel the basement of the building for use by the Dairy Department.  For the next twenty-three years, the building housed the Dairy Laboratory. 

In 1940, when the new Agriculture Building / Shepardson Building was opened, this building was renamed the “Agronomy Building”.  In the summer of 1961, it was demolished as part of a move by the administration to “modernize the appearance” of the campus from South College Avenue.

Today, the site is lawn and trees just east of the old Soils Lab / Vocational Education Building.   In 1992, the keystone from over the main entrance with the carved ram’s head was made into a monument honoring the work of the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) and stands near the east end of the Vietnam Memorial Bridge that crosses Arthur Ditch on the west lawn and trees area. 

Sources by Gordon A. Hazard

State Board of Agriculture Minutes, April 16, 1891, page 201, item 7.

State Board of Agriculture Minutes, April 17, 1891, page 207.

State Board of Agriculture Minutes, June 11, 1891, page 219.

State Board of Agriculture Minutes, July 17, 1891, pages 223, 229-230.

State Board of Agriculture Minutes, December 11, 1891, page 257.

13th Annual Report of the Secretary of the State Board of Agriculture State of Colorado 1891 to the Governor, published 1892, page 5.

Rocky Mountain Collegian, January 1892, pages 11 and 12, vol. 1, number 2.

State Board of Agriculture Minutes, March 10, 1892, pages 274-275.

Rocky Mountain Collegian, April1892, page 41, vol. 1, number 5.

Rocky Mountain Collegian, May1892, page 53, vol. 1, number 6.

State Board of Agriculture Minutes, June 11, 1892, pages 282-283, 287.

Rocky Mountain Collegian, December 1892, pages 28 and 29, vol. II, number 4.

“Register of the Officers and Students of The State Agricultural College, Fort Collins, Colorado, Courses of Study and General Information.  1891-1892”, pp. 65 - 66, published 1892.

State Board of Agriculture Minutes, December 15, 1892, pages 308-309.

State Board of Agriculture Minutes, December 14, 1893, page 367.

State Board of Agriculture Minutes, June 8, 1894, page 411.

“Register of the Officers and Students of The State Agricultural College, Fort Collins, Colorado, Courses of Study and General Information.  1893-1894”, p. 66, published in 1894.

State Board of Agriculture Executive Committee Minutes, November 27, 1894, page 12.

City of Fort Collins Map, 1894,

State Board of Agriculture Minutes, December 13, 1894, page 446.

State Board of Agriculture Minutes, December 14, 1894, page 456.

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

State Board of Agriculture Minutes, June 5, 1896, page 522.

State Board of Agriculture Minutes, December 15, 1899, page 627.

Rocky Mountain Collegian, November 1900, page 19, vol. X, number 2.

State Board of Agriculture Minutes, December 14, 1900, page 644.

Rocky Mountain Collegian, November 26, 1901, page 11, vol. XI, number 4.

“24th Annual Register of the Officers and Students of the State Agricultural College, Fort Collins, Colorado 1902-1903”, page 23.

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

Rocky Mountain Collegian, March 10, 1905, page 11, vol. XIV, number 11.

“The State Agricultural College, Fort Collins, Colorado, Catalogue and Prospectus – 1905-06”, published May 1905, p. 26.

State Board of Agriculture Minutes, December 13, 1905, page 31, vol. 3.

State Board of Agriculture Executive Committee Minutes, December 30, 1905, page 1, vol. Dec. 1905 - Dec. 1916.

Rocky Mountain Collegian, January 12, 1906, page 9, vol. XV, number 7.

State Board of Agriculture Minutes, May 8, 1906, page 46.

Rocky Mountain Collegian, November 15, 1906, page 11, col. 2, vol. XVI, number 4.

Rocky Mountain Collegian, January 15, 1907, pages 4-5, vol. XVI, number 8.

Rocky Mountain Collegian, October 9, 1909, page 1, vol. XIX, number 2.

State Board of Agriculture Executive Committee Minutes, April 5, 1916, page 369.

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

Rocky Mountain Collegian, November 14, 1922, page 2, col. 5, vol. XXXII, number 18.

Rocky Mountain Collegian, October 30, 1923, page 1, col. 6-7, vol. XXXIII, number 16.

State Board of Agriculture Minutes, June 4, 1924, page 407, vol. 3.

Rocky Mountain Collegian, November 3, 1925, page 2, vol. XXXV, number 8.

C.A.C. Alumnus, July – August 1928, page 12, vol. 9, numbers 3 – 4.

Rocky Mountain Collegian, January 6, 1944, page 4, col. 3, vol. LIII, number 17.

Rocky Mountain Collegian, March 16, 1944, pages 1 and 3, vol. LIII, number 27.

The Colorado State College Alumnus, June – July 1944, page 3, vol. XXV, number 8.

“Colorado A & M College Program and Chronology, 75th Anniversary”, Fort Collins, Colorado, February 10, 1945, page 5.

“Long Range Development Program”, Report to the Colorado State Planning Commission, March 1952, pages 11, 17.

Colorado State University Collegian, May 5, 1960, page 5, vol. LXVIII, number 50.

The Colorado Aggie Alumnus, May - June 1960, page 5, vol. 36, number 3.

Colorado State University Collegian, May 30, 1961, page 1, vol. LXIX, number 116.

Colorado State University Collegian, June 2, 1961, page 1, vol. LXIX, number 119.

Summer Session News, June 23, 1961, vol. XI, number 1, page 3.

Colorado State University Collegian, September 29, 1961, page 8, vol. LXX, number 5.

CSU Collegian, December 7, 1967, page 15, vol. LXXVI, number 41.

“A History of Colorado State University 1870 – 1974”, 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, pp. 132, 335.

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

State Board of Agriculture Land: Chuck Terrell Interview, June 1986, page 4.

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

University of Colorado Library’s Sanborn Fire Insurance Map Collection, http://libcudl.colorado.edu:8180/luna/servlet/UCBOULDERCB1~21~21.

CSU Architects Alpha List, March 17, 2015, by James E. Hansen II, Harlan Thomas.

E-mail dated June 7, 2015 from Jeff Williams to James E. Hansen.

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