CSU Archives and Special Collections

CSU Buildings and Grounds History

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

CSU Mountain Campus/Pingree Park Mountain Campus/Pingree Park, 1914-

Cabins are situated in a grassy valley. Snow-capped mountains are in the background.

CSU Mountain Campus, 1982

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 – James M. Hunter and Associates

Builder – Rus-Den Construction Company, Inc. of Berthoud, Colorado (Multipurpose Classroom Facility)

Colorado State University’s Mountain Campus, lo­cated 9,000 feet above sea level and forty-five miles west of Fort Collins between Roosevelt National Forest and Rocky Mountain National Park, provides a scenic outdoor classroom setting for future foresters, rangers, and other stu­dents engaged in natural resources studies. The site was originally named Pingree Park for George W. Pingree (a Civil War veteran and participant in the infamous Sand Creek Massacre), who ran a logging camp there from 1868 to 1870 to supply railroad ties for the Union Pacific Railroad.

Seven years after a massive forest fire burned through the area in 1890, brothers Charles and Hugh Ramsey homesteaded in the remote valley, supporting themselves and their families by ranching and running a sawmill. By 1912, Charles had decided to sell his share to Hugh, who hired young Frank Koenig to assist him in building a road over Pennock Pass. When Koenig married Hugh’s daughter Hazel the following year, Hugh gave forty acres of his mountain ranch to her as a wedding gift and then sold the re­mainder of the mountain property to the couple.

A few years earlier, Burton O. Longyear, head of the Forestry Department at the College, had suc­cessfully advocated for the acquisition of mountain property for research. In 1910, Congress passed special legislation allowing the College to purchase 1,600 acres of federal land for one dollar and twenty-five cents per acre. Early in 1914, President Charles A. Lory (a cousin of Frank Koenig) accompanied Professor Longyear and State Forest Supervisor N. M. Wheeler on an arduous journey to select forest land for the school. One par­cel, adjoining the Koenig ranch, would become the Mountain Campus site.

During the summer of 1914, Hazel Koenig was employed as a cook for the workers building a lodge for the College’s summer forestry camp. In 1915, students of a civil engineering class stayed in the new lodge and surveyed a road from the Poudre Canyon to the camp. Professor Longyear’s first summer forestry class was said to have had one student in 1916, but except for interruptions during the two world wars, enrollment increased steadily, and camp became a prominent program requirement.

A road to the top of Pennock Mountain was built in 1920. The campus expanded slowly with a bunkhouse built in 1926. Smaller buildings were also constructed for faculty and daily operation. Telephone lines were installed in 1928. Students built an annex, along with faculty cabins in 1938. Additional housing ensued, including the first stu­dent cabins in 1941. James M. Hunter was employed as the architect for Pingree Park buildings in 1956, and a classroom and research buildings facilitated the transition to a campus during the 1960s.

As the campus grew, so did the conflicts with its neighbors. The shared spring dried up, forcing the college and the Koenigs to secure other sources of water. Frank and Hazel Koenig were annoyed by all the growing activity around what was once their own quiet mountain home. They resented the college's seemingly endless financial resources while they, by the 1940s, were barely subsisting by renting summer cabins to a few tourists and fishermen, according to an account by CSU. State Board of Agriculture Minutes show that in 1949, a boundary controversy surfaced.  An independent surveyor was brought in who was acceptable to Frank and Hazel Koenig. His survey found the old boundary fence being as much as eight feet in the favor of the College. The corrected boundary line showed the Koenig cabin infringing on college property by several feet.

In July 1951, the State Board of Agriculture authorized the internment of the ashes of the School of Forestry Dean J. Lee Dean on the College-owned property at Pingree Park. In May 1956 James M. Hunter was hired to do the architectural work at Pingree Park. During the summer of 1956 the Mess Hall was constructed. A classroom building and some research buildings were added to the campus during the 1960s. Electrical lines installed in 1964 eliminated the need to self-generate electrical power.

By 1974, CSU had purchased most of the neigh­boring Koenig property, and by 1985 the campus boundaries were set at 1,300 contiguous acres. The University’s 1974 master plan for the campus recom­mended improving access roads and adding larger dormitories and a conference center. In 1974 the State Board of Agriculture trans­ferred oversight of the mountain campus from the College of Forestry and Natural Resources to the Di­vision of Student Affairs.

Dr. William “Bill” Bertschy served as the first full-time director for the campus. He instituted a va­riety of activities for non-university entities, such as Elderhostel and the Poudre School District. Pingree Park thus became the popular location for numer­ous conferences and programs, in addition to its traditional summer courses for forestry and natural resources students.

Natural disasters have plagued this campus. A rare tornado in June 1987 inflicted damage, and the Hourglass Fire of 1994 destroyed thirteen buildings and burned two others. Fortunately, the venerable structures of the Koenig/Ramsey Ranch escaped unscathed. The University used insurance pro­ceeds to replace the burned conference center and dormitories with modern, aesthetically appealing buildings. Moreover, Pingree Park’s own distinctive history qualified CSU to receive four grants from the Colorado Historical Society to stabilize and restore significant facilities.

On April 21, 2015, the announcement was made that CSU officially changed the name Pingree Park Mountain Campus to the CSU Mountain Campus. There had long been some controversy over the name associated with George Pingree. Many felt his name should not be used on a facility owned by a university that emphasized the acceptance of diversity and inclusion of all people.

Sources by Gordon A. Hazard

State Board of Agriculture Executive Committee Minutes, December 8, 1909, page 151.

State Board of Agriculture Minutes, December 9, 1909, page 299.

Rocky Mountain Collegian, January 8, 1910, page 5.

State Board of Agriculture Executive Committee Minutes, January 28, 1910, page 160, vol. Dec. 1905 - Dec. 1916.

https://www.loc.gov/law/help/statutes-at-large/61st-congress/session-2/c61s2ch420.pdf, text of H. R. 24012, Public Number 302, June 25, 1910, Chapter 420.

State Board of Agriculture Executive Committee Minutes, July 28, 1910, page 199, vol. Dec. 1905 - Dec. 1916.

State Board of Agriculture Executive Committee Minutes, June 7, 1911, page 229, vol. Dec. 1905 - Dec. 1916.

State Board of Agriculture Executive Committee Minutes, August 29, 1914, page 319, vol. Dec. 1905 - Dec. 1916.

Rocky Mountain Collegian, September 9, 1914, page 1.

State Board of Agriculture Executive Committee Minutes, October 2, 1914, page 321, vol. Dec. 1905 - Dec. 1916.

State Board of Agriculture Executive Committee Minutes, November 28, 1914, page 328, vol. Dec. 1905 - Dec. 1916.

Rocky Mountain Collegian, September 16, 1915, pages 1 and 6.

State Board of Agriculture Executive Committee Minutes, November 20, 1915, page 355, vol. Dec. 1905 - Dec. 1916.

State Board of Agriculture Executive Committee Minutes, January 25, 1916, page 362, vol. Dec. 1905 - Dec. 1916.

State Board of Agriculture Executive Committee Minutes, September 23, 1916, page 383, vol. Dec. 1905 - Dec. 1916.

State Board of Agriculture Executive Committee Minutes, February 10, 1920, page 100.

State Board of Agriculture Executive Committee Minutes, August 26, 1920, page 121.

C.A.C. Alumnus, June 1922, page 1, vol. 3, number 7.

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

State Board of Agriculture Executive Committee Minutes, July 18, 1925, page 342.

State Board of Agriculture Executive Committee Minutes, July 24, 1926, page 394.

Rocky Mountain Collegian, November 2, 1926, pages 1 and 4.

C.A.C. Alumnus, July – August 1927, page 10, vol. 8, numbers 3 & 4.

Rocky Mountain Collegian, April 4, 1928, page 6.

State Board of Agriculture Executive Committee Minutes, September 28, 1929, page 538.

State Board of Agriculture Executive Committee Minutes, January 22, 1931, pages 21-22.

State Board of Agriculture Executive Committee Minutes, February 20, 1931, page 24.

State Board of Agriculture Minutes, December 9, 1931, page 84.

State Board of Agriculture Minutes, August 25, 1934, page 166.

State Board of Agriculture Minutes, April 22, 1936, page 294.

State Board of Agriculture Minutes, May 11, 1938, page 484.

State Board of Agriculture Executive Committee Minutes, August 9, 1938, page 310.

State Board of Agriculture Minutes, August 23, 1938, page 515.

State Board of Agriculture Minutes, November 2, 1938, page 545.

State Board of Agriculture Executive Committee Minutes, January 30, 1939, page 315, vol. Sept. 1930 – Aug. 1940.

Rocky Mountain Collegian, September 14, 1939, page 6.

Rocky Mountain Collegian, September 12, 1940, page 1.

Rocky Mountain Collegian, November 21, 1940, page 6.

Rocky Mountain Collegian, November 2, 1944, page 3.

Colorado A&M News, August 1946, page 8, vol. 1, number 2.

The Colorado State College Alumnus, July - August 1948, page 7, vol. XXVII, number 4.

State Board of Agriculture Minutes, November 16, 1949, page 475.

State Board of Agriculture Minutes, July 19, 1951, page 611.

Colorado A&M News, August 1951, page 2, vol. 6, number 2.

Rocky Mountain Collegian, September 21, 1951, page 1.

1953 Silver Spruce Yearbook photo, page 138.

State Board of Agriculture Minutes, May 8, 1956, pages 25 and 27, James M. Hunter.

State Board of Agriculture Minutes, June 22, 1956, pages 39 and 41.

The Colorado Aggie Alumnus, September – October 1956, page 2, vol. 33, number 2.

Rocky Mountain Collegian, November 2, 1956, page 4.

State Board of Agriculture Minutes, December 12, 1956, page 102.

Rocky Mountain Collegian, May 28, 1957, page 4.

Summer Session News, July 14, 1961, vol. XI, number 4, page 3.

Colorado State University, Office of Special Services information booklet published 1963.

“Projections 1964”, booklet from the CSU Planning and Physical Plant, pages 53-55, 80.

State Board of Agriculture Minutes, February 25, 1966, pages 549-550.

State Board of Agriculture Minutes, January 13, 1967, page 207.

CSU Collegian, February 5, 1968, page 3.

Sources by Gordon A. Hazard

Rocky Mountain Collegian, October 12, 1972, page 7.

State Board of Agriculture Minutes, March 16, 1974, page 453.

State Board of Agriculture Minutes, April 19, 1974, pages 476-477.

State Board of Agriculture Minutes, June 26, 1974, pages 511 and 519.

State Board of Agriculture Minutes, October 1, 1974, page 545.

CSU Comments, October 24, 1974, page 6, vol. 5, number 10.

Rocky Mountain Collegian, November 13, 1974, page 8.

CSU Comments, August 21, 1975, page4, vol. 6, number 2.

Rocky Mountain Collegian, September 4, 1975, page 8.

State Board of Agriculture Minutes, July 24, 1976, page 253.

Fort Collins Journal, October 14, 1976, page 1.

State Board of Agriculture Minutes, October 15, 1976, pages 271 and 272.

State Board of Agriculture Minutes, January 14, 1977, pages 2 and 3.

Fort Collins Journal, September 15, 1977, page 3.

“Democracy’s College in the Centennial State – A History of Colorado State University” by James E. Hansen II, 1977, pp. 218-219.

State Board of Agriculture Minutes, September 20, 1979, page 1-1.

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

State Board of Agriculture Minutes, June 26, 1981, page 6-5.

State Board of Agriculture Minutes, August 20, 1981, page, 1-1.

State Board of Agriculture Minutes, December 9, 1981, page 6-3 and 7.

CSU Comments, February 11, 1982, page 1, vol. 12, number 20.

Alumnus, March 1982, vol. 58, number 1, page 3.

Rocky Mountain Collegian, February 21, 1984, pages 4 and 5.

Colorado State University Comment, July 19, 1984, pages 1-2, vol. 15, number 1.

Rocky Mountain Collegian, September 24, 1986, page 1.

Colorado State University Comment, May 7, 1987, pages 1 and 5, vol. 17, number 31.

Rocky Mountain Collegian, June 19, 1987, pages 1and 3.

Silver Spruce yearbook, 1987-1988, vol. 83, page 199.

“An Overview of CSU Land and Lease Holdings of the SBA, CSURF and CSUF”, by Arthur M. Darbie, February 10, 1993.

Rocky Mountain Collegian, July 6, 1994, pages 1 and 2.

Rocky Mountain Collegian, July 8, 1994, page 1.

Rocky Mountain Collegian, July 15, 1994, page 1.

Rocky Mountain Collegian, July 26, 1994, page 1.

Comment, August 4, 1994, page 3, vol. 24, number 33.

Rocky Mountain Collegian, August 22, 1994, page 1.

State Board of Agriculture Minutes, August 31, 1994, page 1-1c-e.

Colorado State University Alumni, Winter 1994, page 5.

Comment, February 9, 1995, page 3, vol. 25, number 19.

Rocky Mountain Collegian, October 2, 1995, page 3.

“The Poudre – A Photo History”, by Stanley R. Case, 1995, page 308.

Rocky Mountain Collegian, April 25, 1996, page 1.

State Board of Agriculture Minutes, August 29, 1996.

Rocky Mountain Collegian, October 1, 1996, page 1.

Rocky Mountain Collegian, October 3, 1996, page 3.

State Board of Agriculture Minutes, February 4, 1997.

Rocky Mountain Collegian, October 6, 1997, page 3.

Rocky Mountain Collegian, August 2, 1999, page 1.

“2000 Silver Spruce”, page 243, Rus-Den Construction, Inc.

“2002 Silver Spruce” yearbook, page 315.

Board of Governors Minutes, December 2, 2002.

“Democracy’s University” by James E. Hansen, II, p. 81.

Comment, February 5, 2004, page 2, vol. 34, number 4.

Interview with Dr. Patrick W. Rastall, Director of Pingree Park, November 7, 2013, by Gordon A. Hazard.

Housing and Dining Services Newsletter, March 4, 2014, “Pingree Park Celebrates 100 Years” by Leslie Shaner.

Rocky Mountain Collegian, April 21, 2015, page 2.

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