Skip to Main Content

Colorado Water History

A guide to finding and using historical information about water in Colorado and beyond

CSU Water History

Today's Colorado State University students, employees, and partners have inherited a substantial legacy when it comes to water-related education, research and outreach. Because these achievements emanate from across the institution, there is no single history of CSU water. Rather, many tributaries make one great stream.

To explore such a diverse and broad history, it is therefore necessary to examine the mainstem as well as the tributaries, that is, general institutional histories along with resources about individual colleges, departments, centers, programs, groups, and people. Lists below present some recommended starting places for reading and research. For further information, contact Archives and Special Collections at any time.

If you have resources to recommend (or donate!), send Patty Rettig an email (see box at right).


The "CSU trilogy" is the place to start for the overall history of the institution:

Democracy's College in the Centennial State by James E. Hansen is a history of CSU from its founding to 1970.

Democracy's University: A History of Colorado State University, 1970-2003 by James E. Hansen

CSU's Sense of Place: A Campus History of Colorado's Land-Grant University by James E. Hansen, Gordon A. Hazard, and Linda Meyer is a history of campus buildings and areas.

Books specific to water-related teaching and research include:

Department of Atmospheric Science: Fiftieth Anniversary: An Abbreviated History by the College of Engineering (2012)

Early History of the Watershed Science Program at Colorado State University, 1958-1973 by Robert E. Dils and James R. Meiman (1995)

Engineering for Agriculture at Colorado State University by A. T. Corey (1990)

Fifty Years at Colorado State University by Maurice L. Albertson (1998)

Hydraulics, Fluid Mechanics, and Hydrology at Colorado State University - Hunter Rouse (1980?)

International Education and Development at Colorado State University. Papers from a symposium to honor Maurice L. Albertson, March 16, 2998

One Hundred Years of Engineering at Colorado State University: Fulfilling the Land-Grant Mission: 1889-1989 by Ann Hilfinger and James E. Hansen

For additional university resources, see the University History Research Guide.

CSU's water history begins with the hiring of Elwood Mead in 1883. Read about his life's journey in:

Turning on Water with a Shovel: The Career of Elwood Mead by James R. Kluger (1992)

Oral Histories

Oral history interviews with CSU water folks are scattered in various collections. Search for names of interest in these:

Water Oral Histories Collection

Cache la Poudre Oral History Project Collection

Oral History Tapes (University Archives)

Society of Senior Scholars Oral History Project (University Archives)

Your Archivist

Profile Photo
Patricia Rettig
Archives & Special Collections
Morgan Library
Colorado State University
Fort Collins, CO 80523-1019
Subjects: Water

24/7 Library Help

24/7 Library Help

Connect with library staff via chat, email, phone or text.

URL: | Print Page