CSU Archives and Special Collections

CSU Buildings and Grounds History

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

Military Barracks, 1918-1927

Large single-story wooden building.

Military Barracks, 1924

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 – United States Army, Eugene G. Groves (remodeling)

Builder – LD Crain supervised the construction

In support of the war effort in 1918, two large single-story wooden buildings called the “Military Department Barracks” were constructed along the west side of the railroad tracks where the National Seed Lab was built in the late 1950s.  The North and South Barracks were built to house the Student Army Training Corps (SATC) soldiers being trained at the College beginning in the summer of 1918.  Barracks No. 1, costing $27,538.63 was described as consisting of two barracks, 38’ X 204’, connected at the front by a room 24’ x 48’ with a hospital at the rear 24’ x 36’.  Barracks No. 2 was identical but cost $29,297.08.  Each could house up to 300 men and was equipped with full latrine facilities that included showers.  Construction workers hired directly by the College built the structures.  The labor unions to which they belonged waived the union rules regarding holidays and Sundays so that the project could be completed in the shortest amount of time.

By October 10, 1918, the two buildings were feverishly being finished just as soldiers were arriving in large numbers on campus.  By October 17, 1918, the two buildings had been finished and furnished and were fully occupied by the young Army troops. However, the Spanish flu epidemic now sweeping the nation was so serious that the residents of the two buildings were placed under strict quarantine for a full month.  It was during this time November 11, 1918, that the Armistice was signed, and the Great War in Europe officially ended.  In December 1918, the original wartime need for the buildings had ended with the departure of the U.S. Army soldiers.

The two buildings were officially deeded to the State Board of Agriculture and during the summer of 1919, the south building continued to serve the rapidly expanding Aggie Military Department while the north building became offices and classrooms for the Departments of Animal Husbandry, Vocational Education and Athletics.  Using the plans of architect Eugene Groves, the north building was remodeled during the summer of 1924 to better serve as classrooms, laboratories and offices.

On January 28, 1927, a small can of ether in the State Dairy Commission Office Laboratory exploded at 12:40 P.M. which started a raging fire in the north building that quickly spread and burned the entire complex to the ground within about two hours.  High winds coming from the north fanned the flames.  It was estimated that ten percent of the College’s available floor space was lost, and the Military Science, Animal Husbandry, Veterinary Medicine and Veterinary Pathology departments were left homeless and almost totally without equipment as a result of this devastating fire. 

In May 1928, the metal flagpole that remained on the site of the old barracks complex was moved to the lawn in front of the new Administration Building.  It was installed there just in time for the annual Sunset Salute held in late May 1928.  The site went on to house the 1928 Dairy and Meats Lab and the 1958 National Seed Storage Lab.

Sources by Gordon A. Hazard

State Board of Agriculture Executive Committee Minutes, April 30, 1918, pages 50-51, vol. Jan. 1917 – Aug. 1930.

State Board of Agriculture Executive Committee Minutes, April 30, 1918, pages 50-52, vol. Jan. 1917 – Aug. 1930.

Rocky Mountain Collegian September 26, 1918, page 4, vol. XXVIII, number 1.

Rocky Mountain Collegian October 10, 1918, pages 1 and 6, vol. XXVIII, number 3.

Fort Collins Morning Express, October 13, 1918, page 1, col. 3.

Fort Collins Morning Express, October 16, 1918, page 1, col. 1-2.

Rocky Mountain Collegian October 17, 1918, page 1, vol. XXVIII, number 4.

Rocky Mountain Collegian, November 28, 1918, page 1, vol. XXVIII, number 8.

State Board of Agriculture Executive Committee Minutes, November 29, 1918, page 68, Division B.

Rocky Mountain Collegian December 19, 1918, pages 1 and 6, vol. XXVIII, number 11.

Rocky Mountain Collegian, January 2, 1919, page 1, col. 3, vol. XXVIII, number 12.

State Board of Agriculture Executive Committee Minutes, March 25, 1919, page 76, vol. Jan. 1917 – Aug. 1930.

State Board of Agriculture Executive Committee Minutes, April 25, 1919, page 77, vol. Jan. 1917 – Aug. 1930.

State Board of Agriculture Minutes, June 11, 1919, page 368, vol. 3.

C.A.C. Alumnus, August 1919, pages 1 and 4, vol. 1, number 3.

“The Colorado Agricultural College, Its Functions, The Service it is Rendering”, 1919, pages 82-84.

State Board of Agriculture Executive Committee Minutes, February 27, 1920, page 102.

C.A.C. Alumnus, August 1920, page 3, vol. 2, numbers 2 and 3.

State Board of Agriculture Executive Committee Minutes, February 11, 1921, page 141.

State Board of Agriculture Executive Committee Minutes, September 22, 1922, page 207.

Rocky Mountain Collegian, October 6, 1922, page 1, vol. XXXII, number 7.

State Board of Agriculture Executive Committee Minutes, December 22, 1923.

C.A.C. Alumnus, August 1924, pages 1 and 3, vol. 5, number 4.

State Board of Agriculture Executive Committee Minutes, August 23, 1924, pages 295, 296, vol. Jan. 1917 – Aug. 1930.

Rocky Mountain Collegian, September 9, 1924, pages 1 and 4, vol. XXXIV, number 2.

C.A.C. Alumnus, July 1926, page 6, vol. 7, number 3.

Colorado Agricultural College Bulletin, “Building Conditions at the Colorado State Institutions of Higher Learning”, series XXV, number 8, December 1926, page 23.

State Board of Agriculture Executive Committee Minutes, February 6, 1927, pages 416-417.

State Board of Agriculture Executive Committee Minutes, February 20, 1927, pages 419-420.

C.A.C. Alumnus, February 1927, pages 1 and 2, vol. 7, number 10.

State Board of Agriculture Executive Committee Minutes, February 20, 1927, pages 418-419, vol. Jan. 1917 – Aug. 1930.

Biennial Report of the State Board of Agriculture for the period of December 1, 1926, to December 1, 1928, page 13.

Rocky Mountain Collegian, February 25, 1931, page 4, vol. XL, number 24.

Rocky Mountain Collegian, December 11, 1941, page 1, vol. LI, number 14.

State Board of Agriculture Minutes, February 9, 1945, pages 613.

“Long Range Development Program”, Report to the Colorado State Planning Commission, March 1952, pages 10, 35, 50 and campus maps.

Colorado State University Summer Session Bulletin Campus Map 1960.

“Colorado State University Directory of 1960-61”, campus map.

Colorado State University Summer Session Bulletin Campus Map 1961.

“Colorado State University Directory of 1961-62”, campus map.

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

Fort Collins Journal, October 26, 1977, page 1, vol. LXXXVI, number 56.

“Democracy’s College in the Centennial State – A History of Colorado State University” by James E. Hansen II, 1977, pp. 274, 473.

“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.

“Democracy’s University – A History of Colorado State University 1970 – 2003” by James E. Hansen II, 2007, p. 6.

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