CSU Archives and Special Collections

CSU Buildings and Grounds History

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

Avian Science Research Center/Poultry Farm, 1944-1974

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.

Designer – Dr. Herbert S. Wilgus

Builder – College staff and students

626 West Lake Street

In 1944, Professor Herbert S. Wilgus had the collection of small chicken houses and sheds that made up the original Poultry Farm relocated to a much larger tract of land on the south side of the Main Campus at 626 West Lake Street.  This area was just east of where the greenhouses of the W. D. Holley Plant Environmental Research Center on West Lake Street would be built four years later. 

Over the years, the Poultry Farm grew and contributed to sound, practical training in poultry husbandry with separate facilities for chickens and turkeys.  Experiments in raising rabbits were conducted at the Poultry Farm starting in 1945. For years, it was a campus tradition for Poultry Farm produced fresh-grown turkeys to be sold at Thanksgiving and smoked, pre-cooked turkeys being sold at Christmas.

In 1957, tests of coin-operated refrigerated vending machines that could dispense cartons of eggs to consumers were being held with the help of two local poultry men. The machines appeared to have worked but the concept never really caught on enough to become used commercially.  In the summer of 1969, the flocks of poultry were moved to the Avian Science Research Center facilities at the Rigden Farm east of what is now Timberline Road.  Nevertheless, for the next five years, Avian Science Research Center technicians’ offices and laboratories were still maintained at the old West Lake Street site.

A campus map in the 1974 Summer Session Bulletin showed nine structures on the old “Poultry Farm” just east of the Holley PERC for the last time.  In the summer of 1977, the site was leveled to create a dusty dirt parking lot for commuter students to use in dry weather.  Between 1974 and 1988 the Chicken Farm portion was occasionally used for College Days’ mud bowls and Forestry Days’ competitions. With the demise of College Days in April 1987 and the need for more student parking, in December 1988 the rough dirt parking lot was paved and made into a formally managed parking lot for 210 commuters.

The “Turkey Farm” portion of the Poultry Farm was located about where the parking lot on the west side of the Gifford Building is situated.  A house built in 1925 stood at 524 West Lake Street until the summer of 1994.  From 1957 until 1974, the house was used as a residence for the Poultry Farm Manager and Supervisor.   From 1975 until its demolition in 1994, the house was used as the offices for the staff of the Department of Anthropology’s “Laboratory of Public Archaeology” (LOPA).  The LOPA was moved to a building at the Rigden Farm in 1994.

The old LOPA house site eventually evolved into a paved parking lot just west of the Gifford Building and south of the Visual Arts Building.  In October 2016 it was announced that this parking lot would be where the Nancy Richardson Design Center was to be built.  This new building for the Department of Design and Merchandising was opened in 2019.

In the spring of 2012, the parking lot on the old “Chicken Farm” portion of the Poultry Farm was identified as part of the land where an on-campus football stadium might be built.  On December 5, 2014, the CSU Board of Governors voted to proceed with the construction of the new $230 million Stadium.  In late May 2015 the parking lot was fenced off and work began to build the Stadium and have it ready for the 2017 football season. 

Sources by Gordon A. Hazard

State Board of Agriculture Minutes, August 20, 1943, page 496.

State Board of Agriculture Minutes, February 18, 1944, page 545.

State Board of Agriculture Minutes, April 7, 1944, page 555.

State Board of Agriculture Minutes, October 30, 1944, page 593.

State Board of Agriculture Minutes, December 13, 1944, pages 604-605.

Biennial Report of the State Board of Agriculture, December 1944, page 8.

“1945-1946 Catalog”, page 66.

State Board of Agriculture Minutes, February 9, 1945, page 615.

State Board of Agriculture Minutes, July 27, 1945, page 25.

State Board of Agriculture Minutes, October 12, 1945, page 39.

State Board of Agriculture Minutes, January 18, 1946, page 64.

State Board of Agriculture Minutes, March 9, 1946, page 88.

State Board of Agriculture Minutes, September 27, 1946, page 159.

State Board of Agriculture Minutes, October 26, 1946, page 161.

Colorado A&M News, November1946, page 7, vol. 1, number 5.

Colorado A & M News, October 1947, page 1, vol. 2, number 4.

State Board of Agriculture Minutes, November 5, 1947, page 272.

State Board of Agriculture Minutes, December 10, 1947, page 280.

Colorado State University News, March 1958, page 7, vol. 12, number 9.

Colorado A & M News, September 1948, page 1, vol. 3, number 3.

Rocky Mountain Collegian, December 10, 1948, page 11, vol. LVIII, number 11.

Colorado A&M News, December 1948, page 5, vol. 3, number 6.

Colorado A&M News, January 1950, page 5, vol. 4, number 7.

The Colorado State College Alumnus, March-April 1950, page 6, vol. XXVII, number 14.

State Board of Agriculture Minutes, February 23, 1951, page 566.

Colorado A&M News, May 1951, page 9, vol. 5, number 11.

University Historic Photo Collection, images B4332A, B, C, D, dated August 1951.

“Long Range Development Program”, Report to the Colorado State Planning Commission, March 1952, page 9 and campus maps.

Rocky Mountain Collegian, November 21, 1952, page 7, Vol. LXII, number 11.

Colorado State University News, May 1957, pages 6 and 7, vol. 11, number 11.

Colorado State University News, July 1957, page 5, vol. 12, number 1.

Colorado State University News, August1957, page 2, vol. 12, number 2.

1957 Fort Collins City Directory, first listing of Poultry Farm Manager.

Colorado State University News, February 1959, pages 20 and 21, vol. 13, number 8.

1959 Fort Collins City Directory, page 405, CSU Poultry Farm.

University Historic Photo Collection, image B8318, dated September 1960.

Colorado State University Rocky Mountain Collegian, October 14, 1960, page 3, vol. LXIX, number 13.

State Board of Agriculture Minutes, August 10, 1962, page 464.

Colorado State University Rocky Mountain Collegian, December 6, 1962, page 3, vol. LXXI, number 41.

State Board of Agriculture Minutes, August 10, 1963, page 80.

CSU Directories from 1965 until 1974 show Donald L. Hartung’s last year as 1965-1966.

CSU Collegian, February 5, 1968, page 3, vol. LXXVI, number 62.

State Board of Agriculture Minutes, June 21, 1968, page 68.

CSU Collegian, December 2, 1968, page 1, vol. LXXVII, number 35d.

“Space Inventory Building Floor Plans”, 808 – Poultry Farm.

State Board of Agriculture Minutes, June 28, 1971, page 565.

Colorado State University Bulletin Summer Quarter 1974, page 26.

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

The CSU Alumnus, September - October 1974, vol. 50, number 4, page 6.

Colorado State University Bulletin Summer Quarter 1975, page 26.

Fort Collins Journal, November 21, 1978, pages 1 and 3, vol. LXXXVII, number 69.

Colorado State University Alumnus, October - December 1979, vol. 55, number 4.

1979-1980 Silver Spruce yearbook, page 76, vol. 75.

CSU Comments, May 6, 1982, page 3, vol. 12, number 32.

“Colorado State University Student Faculty Staff Directory 1983/84”, campus map.

Rocky Mountain Collegian, September 6, 1985, page 3, vol. 94, number 26.

The Entertainer – A CSU Productions Publication, April 17-24, 1986, page 6, vol. 1, number XXV.

“Colorado State University Directory, 1987-88”.

Comment, December 8, 1988, page 1, vol. 19, number 6.

“Colorado State University Directory, 1987-88”.

“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 6, “History of the Poultry (Avian) Science Department”.

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