Information for this history was taken from the 1895 Silver Spruce …

The “Main Building” on the Colorado Agricultural College. (Also known as “Old Main.”)

History of the State Agricultural College

Tracing the years forward from 1862, we find an order, passed February 27, 1878, by the Board of Agriculture, then in session at Fort Collins, to the effect that, in accordance with the provisions of the congressional act of 1862, and the further provisions of the state legislature, a college building should be erected on the college farm, which was already in the possession of the state, it have been donated by three of the generous citizens of Fort Collins and having been accepted by the state as a prospective site for an agricultural college.

The citizens of whom most honorable mention is due were Mr. A.H. Paterson, Mr. J.C. Matthews, and Mr. Joseph Mason, each of whom gave eighty acres of the most excellent land about the city.

The corner stone of the Main Building was laid July 29, 1878, and was completed the same year.  This was the first building on the campus.  The growth of buildings since that time has been steady, one or more being erected nearly every year.

Following the Main Building in 1881, there was erected that building of “Fond Recollections” so dear to some of the members of ’95; that building in which and about which so many pleasant memories cluster that even now the boys’ fancies sometimes wander back over the sands of time and strange stories are sometimes told of things that happened in the “Old Dorm.”

In 1882-3, the Chemical Laboratory was created.  Yes, created!  We say that because everything must have an origin and we know there was never a building like it before, and we trust a merciful Providence has not permitted any like it to be built since.  However, the building has been honored by having such men as Professor Davis, Dr. O’Brine, and Dr. Headden, under whose instruction many have left its halls with greater or less credit to themselves and the department.

In 1885 the Mechanical Shop was started.  This consisted of a single, upright, brick structure, about 30×60 feet, and two stories high.  This, in the latter part of the 80’s, was enlarged by having a forage room added; and again in 1891, the present molding room was built.  But the crowning feature of this department was the erection of the present main building, 115×155 feet and two stories high, in 1892.  In this new addition is located the wood and iron working departments, with the most modern machine.

In 1887, the large and commodious farm barn was constructed.

Inside the chapel at the Colorado Agricultural College (now called Colorado State University).

The year 1889 witnessed the erection of the addition of the main building, embracing the present chapel, with its commodious rostrum and dressing rooms, and four large class rooms, together with boiler rooms and armory, at a cost of $18,000.

The present neat Library Building, which was used for horticultural purposes since its erection till the present spring, was erected in 1890.  Agricultural Hall, which stands sentinel on the extreme south of the campus, was built in 1892-3. But the crowning feature of our beautiful grounds is the building constructed in 1894, in honor of the class of ’95, the new Horticultural Hall. The building, constructed of red sandstone and pressed brick, is one of the largest buildings on the grounds and, together with its commodious class rooms, laboratories and museum, is the most convenient and best adapted to its purposes.

It may be well to add a word about the manner in which our institution is supported.  Going back again to the act of 1865, we find that Uncle Sam set aside 90,000 acres of land, the revenue from which should be set apart exclusively for the use of the Agricultural College. At the founding of the college in 1877, a tax of 1.16 of a mill was laid by the legislature upon all taxable property of the state, to be used exclusively in support of the Agricultural College.  In 1883 this was increased to 1.5 of a mill, and in 1891 was reduced to 1.6 of a mill.

According to the act of congress of 1888, known as the Hatch Act, a yearly allowance of $15,000 was granted to all Agricultural colleges for the support of experiment stations.  It is to this act that the college owes the existence of its six experiment stations located at Fort Collins, Rocky Ford, Monte Vista, Table Rock, Cheyenne Wells, and Delta.  The Morrill Bill gives to our institution, as well as sister institutions, $15,000 for the year 1890, with a yearly increase of $1,000 until the limit of $25,000 is reached, when the amount will remain permanent and continuous.  The college also receives $7,000 from its land grant.  Besides these principle sources of income, it has many smaller, which, taken together, put it on a firm and substantial financial basis.

For the year 1879, at the opening of the college term, we find the following persons at the head of the new college as its officers and faculty:

Hon. W.F. Watrous, president of the board
Hon. H. Stratton, secretary
Hon. John J. Ryan, treasurer
E.E. Edwards, Ph.D. president of the college
A.E. Blount, A.M. professor of agriculture
F.J. Annis, A.B., professor of mathematics and chemistry

This was the extent of the faculty, but what was lacking in numbers was more than made up in energy.  This initial term of the college was commenced in September and closed November 28, 1879. The college proper with a thoroughly devised scheme of work, was formally opened February 16, 1880 with the same corps of instructors as during the preceding fall.  The course was so arranged that the long vacation would come during the winter, and it was not until 1881 that the schedule was changed so the long vacation would come in the summer months.