Colorado Springs architect A.C. Willard designed this 1881 stone house for Denver & Rio Grande Railroad counsel Lyman K. Bass and his wife, Frances, who christened it “Edgeplain.” As one of the first houses built on the semi-arid, shortgrass prairie near the college campus, the dwelling became an immediate landmark. The house has remarkable, highly ornamental stone walls consisting of rectangular blocks of multihued (white, tan, brown, red, and pink) sandstone of varied width and height laid with tinted mortar. The individual stones display a variety of dressings, including pecked, vermiculated, rock-faced, and frosted.
Lyman Bass, a former New York congressman who practiced law with Grover Cleveland, came to the city seeking a cure for his tuberculosis. Colorado attracted many people suffering from respiratory diseases searching for the salubrious effects of its dry climate, sunshine, and fresh air. Colorado Springs, in particular, drew a large group of “health seekers who had sufficient property to live in comfort,” as early physician Samuel Le Nord Caldwell observed. Bass never completely recovered his health, however, and he died eight years after building Edgeplain.
Chester Alan Arthur II purchased the house in 1901 and hired the local architectural firm of Douglas and Hetherington to expand and remodel the residence with Tudor Revival-style features. Arthur enjoyed a certain prestige based on his status as the son of a former U.S. president, as his own son noted: “He had naturally all the qualities which in that age made what the English called ‘a gentleman of leisure.’ He was handsome and a sportsman. Women were attracted by him, and men liked him because he was a good shot, rode to the hounds with the best, played an excellent game of billiards and could hold his liquor like a gentleman.” Arthur was deeply involved in the city’s social scene. He served as president of the Cheyenne Mountain Country Club, bringing top polo players to the organization and making the sport a local favorite. Under his ownership Edgeplain became “one of the outstanding meeting places of the social leaders of Colorado Springs and Denver,” according to the Gazette. When Vice President Theodore Roosevelt visited the city in the summer of 1901, he attended a polo match as Arthur’s guest and dined at Edgeplain.
The Arthurs sold the house in 1922 to Joseph Abraham, an Oklahoma businessman. Subsequent occupants included the Phi Delta Theta fraternity and John R. and Charlotte Shaver of Montana, who operated a chain of Golden Rule department stores. The Shavers continued to reside in the house until their deaths in 1960. Colorado College acquired the building in 1962 and converted it into a men’s dormitory and later a coed residence for 20 upper-class students.
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Wealthy Boston bag manufacturer Judson M. Bemis, his philanthropist wife Alice Cogswell Bemis, and Colorado Springs founder William Jackson Palmer provided the principal donations for the fourth and largest women’s dormitory built at Colorado College. Maurice B. Biscoe, a Denver architect who previously worked in Boston, designed the 1908 Tudor Revival-style building erected of Castle Rock rhyolite, a durable stone also used for 1880 Cutler Hall. At the dedication ceremonies for Bemis, Colorado College President William F. Slocum observed: “There are great opportunities for good in this building. It is a home for the college student, where the atmosphere is to be that of refinement and cultivation and where the best ideals of a noble life can be realized.” The college’s first dean of women, Ruth Loomis, directed the architect to design her office and living quarters in the southwest corner of the building with a large window facing Pikes Peak and the Rampart Range. President Slocum believed that under the dean’s guidance the dormitory would exert a positive influence on the character of its female occupants. Bemis originally housed 90 women and featured a medieval-style dining hall with vaulted ceiling and dark paneled walls. Alice Cogswell Bemis and her daughters contributed the furnishings for a large commons room warmed by a fireplace. Architect Biscoe arranged the building with rooms for public use on the north so that most student rooms had southern, eastern, or western exposures. When the hall opened, the student newspaper predicted in future years new buildings would “arise upon the campus, but the type of college hall has now been set for all time.”
Bemis Hall emerged as the center of social life on campus, “a place where the men and women of the college can come together under dignified and cultivated conditions,” as the college’s early student newspaper, The Tiger, explained. Originally, all social occasions attended by both sexes required the presence of two faculty chaperons. The dining room, large enough to accommodate all women students, served three meals each day. Food services in the other women’s dormitories ended after Bemis opened.
The Cogswell Theater, named in honor of Alice Cogswell Bemis, opened in the basement in 1910 and hosted numerous student productions. The dramatic group Koshare offered a minimum of four staged plays each year from about 1929 to 1942. In 1944, Woodson Tyree reactivated the theater, and it received a modern radio control room to facilitate radio workshop projects. In 1956, the addition of an eastern wing to the building created Taylor Dining Hall, which allowed Colorado College men and women to take meals together regularly for the first time. The name of the dining hall recognized Alice Bemis Taylor, a daughter of the original donors who made substantial contributions and bequests to the college and the community. Bemis Hall is now a residence for 76 upper-class students.
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Designed by Denver architect Maurice B. Biscoe and completed in 1914, Cossitt Hall was Colorado College’s first state-of-the-art athletic facility and men’s social center. To finance the building, the school conducted a five-year fundraising campaign until New Yorker Helen Cossitt Juilliard generously donated the entire cost of construction, with the provision that funds previously raised would go toward other campus projects. She asked that the building be named for her father, Frederick H. Cossitt, a prominent figure in New York real estate, insurance, and banking. Dedicated in June 1914, Cossitt Hall included a gymnasium with spectator seating, training rooms, locker facilities, and shower rooms. The new facility stimulated campus interest in basketball, and beginning in 1922 the college teams won Rocky Mountain Conference championships for four consecutive years. An oval stadium (“Cossitt Bowl”) at the south end of the building included a track, playing field, and spectator seating, and accommodated sports events, pep rallies, and outdoor theater. The erection of Cossitt Hall reflected college President William F. Slocum’s belief that physical training was as important as academic studies. Slocum remarked, “This building has just as sacred a mission as a church, a lecture hall or a library.” The college adopted a three-year physical education requirement for graduation after the completion of the facility.
Fulfilling its role as a men’s social center, Cossitt Hall had a 200-person capacity dining room, a kitchen, a common room for informal gatherings and quiet reading, a large space for student meetings, and a pool table in the basement. Because all men on campus (including fraternity members) were required to take their meals here, the Colorado Springs Gazette viewed the new building as a democratizing factor in campus life, bringing students of all ranks and classes together for dinner and social activities. The completion of Cossitt Hall marked an end to the major physical development that took place during President Slocum’s administration. Beginning in 1941, nationally recognized dance instructor Hanya Holm taught classes in the Cossitt gymnasium for 43 summers. Holm, a native of Germany, studied under Mary Wigman before coming to America in 1931. She became a leading dance artist and in the 1950s and 1960s developed choreography for “Kiss Me Kate,” “My Fair Lady,” and “Camelot” on Broadway. At the peak of Holm’s summer dance school in the 1960s and 1970s, the tuition generated by her classes reportedly “carried” the rest of the summer program.
In 1948, artist Eric Bransby painted a mural in the entrance rotunda of Cossitt. “Settlement of the West” depicts goldseekers, migrating settlers, the cattle industry, and trappers and traders. The men’s dining room closed after completion of Taylor Dining Hall in 1956. Most of Cossitt Bowl was demolished in 1957, making way for Honnen Ice Arena, but Cossitt Hall continued to serve as the focus of college athletic programs until the construction of El Pomar Sports Center in 1970. Today, Cossitt Hall houses dance facilities, the classics department, and the comparative literature department.
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In 1877, only six years after the founding of Colorado Springs, excavation for the first building at Colorado College began. The nationally prominent Boston architectural firm of Peabody and Stearns prepared plans for a two-story Collegiate Gothic-style stone building. The original central part of the building opened for classes in January 1880, during the administration of the school’s second president, Edward P. Tenney. Frederick Tuckerman, of the first graduating class, observed that the building “looked very small and lonely, far out on the campus with no other structure, not even a tree or shrub near it, and the towering mountains as a background.” Colorado Springs founder William Jackson Palmer donated money for north and south wings dedicated in 1882.
Known simply as “The College” during the early days, the first building housed all of the school’s functions, including a preparatory school known as “Cutler Academy” and a basement laboratory serving the scientific departments. The distinguished science faculty included William H. Strieby, a professor of chemistry and metallurgy, who taught assaying and blowpipe analysis. One of Strieby’s pupils, Winfield Scott Stratton, subsequently discovered the Independence Mine at Cripple Creek, which he sold for $10,000,000 in 1899. Assaying of ores in the basement of Cutler continued through the mid-1920s. Florian Cajori, a professor of physics, became the first person to experiment with x-rays west of the Mississippi River in 1896. In 1899, using a kiln set up next to his office, Professor Strieby worked with potter Artus Van Briggle to identify local clays suitable for ceramics and to perfect new types of rich matte glazes. Van Briggle’s first commercial products found great demand and received excellent reviews in the United States and abroad. In 1902, he formed an art pottery company whose vases and other products won national awards and are highly prized among collectors today.
When William F. Slocum became president of the college in 1888, Cutler Hall still stood alone on the campus. Slocum initiated an aggressive improvement program that greatly expanded the school’s facilities and strengthened its faculty. In June 1889, this building received the name “Palmer Hall” in recognition of William J. Palmer’s support of the college. Cutler Academy continued to operate here until 1914, when public high schools were producing enough adequately trained students for higher education.
In 1904, General Palmer provided major funding for a state-of-the-art science building that received the designation “Palmer Hall.” The first college building was renamed “Cutler Hall” to honor Henry Cutler, a Massachusetts philanthropist. President Tenney (1876-84), asserted that Cutler and his Eastern friends “saved the college from extinction” during an early period of financial uncertainty. The newly created engineering and forestry schools and the geology department were headquartered here during the early 20th century. The building housed college administrative offices from 1937 until 1966, and is now home to the admission and financial aid offices.
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The widow of millionaire Winfield Scott Stratton’s personal physician built this substantial two-story brick house in 1927. Born in Illinois, Ida M. Rice (1861-1937) moved with her husband, David, to Colorado Springs in 1892. His close relationship with Stratton led to successful investments in mining, transportation, and banking and to key positions in several Colorado corporations. After David Rice died in 1923, Ida Rice commissioned architect Thomas P. Barber to design this fine residence. Barber practiced architecture in Colorado Springs (associated with other architects or in solo practice) from the late-1880s to about 1927, when he moved to southern California. In 1904, Barber collaborated with Thomas MacLaren to design the National Register-listed Colorado Springs City Hall.
The Rice House is considered one of the finest examples of the Colonial Revival style in the city, and represents Barber’s last documented work in Colorado Springs. Ida Rice lived here until her death in October 1937. A Gazette-Telegraph obituary described her as a “prominent and widely known Colorado Springs resident.” Following Rice’s death, her daughter’s family occupied the dwelling. Harry O. and Ethel (Rice) Puffer, and their son, Herbert, lived here until 1941. Harry Puffer operated the Puffer Mercantile Company, a wholesale grocery firm, whose trade area extended from Castle Rock to Fountain and from Leadville to the Kansas line. In March 1941, Edgar L. Study, a “well-known Kansas oilman” from Hutchinson, purchased the house. Study, who lived here with his wife, Laurel, continued his career as an oil operator and producer in Colorado Springs. Colorado College acquired the dwelling in early 1961 for use as a residence hall and renamed it “Haskell House,” in honor of Reverend Thomas Nelson Haskell, who was instrumental in founding the school. Haskell (1826-1906), a New York native, grew up in Ohio, where he attended Miami University. Also educated at Andover and Union Theological seminaries, Haskell became a Congregational pastor and a university professor. He moved his family to Denver in 1873, hoping that the climate would improve the health of oldest daughter, Florence. She died in October 1873, and later that month at the annual conference of Congregational Churches of Colorado Territory Haskell proposed that a Christian college be established in his daughter’s memory. A committee headed by Haskell studied the feasibility of founding such an institution at various locations around Colorado. In January 1874, the committee selected Colorado Springs, which had offered land and matching funds, as the site of “The Colorado College.” The institution received its charter in February, with Haskell serving as a member of its first board of trustees and its fundraising solicitor. Today, the residence serves as a coeducational French language immersion house.
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Local architect Augustus J. Smith, who also designed the El Paso County Courthouse, planned this house for lawyer and mining investor Willis S. Montgomery and his wife, Julia. Montgomery was one of a number of men who became millionaires as a result of investments in the Cripple Creek gold district. Born in Ohio, he was educated and studied law in his father's office and at Tabor College in Iowa. In 1879, Montgomery came to Colorado, establishing a law practice in the mining town of Silver Cliff and obtaining an interest in the important Bull Domingo Mine. He published newspapers in Silver Cliff and Leadville before moving to Cripple Creek and opening a practice specializing in mining law in 1892. There, he knew many of the leading men of the industry and continued to invest in mining. By 1898, Montgomery relocated to Colorado Springs to practice law and begin construction on this house across from the Colorado College campus.
The $75,000 Castle Rock rhyolite residence, described as one of the handsomest in the city, included such lavish interior features as a spacious hall with beams of carved Flemish oak in Elizabethan style, a library and music room, a formal drawing room, and a massive oak staircase with carved balustrade and newel post crowned by a Spanish figure. A bowling alley and billiard hall provided recreational opportunities in the basement. The Montgomerys lived in the house for only three years before moving to Phoenix, Arizona.
In 1914, college benefactor Judson M. Bemis purchased the property and donated it for use as an administration building. When the administrative offices relocated to Cutler Hall in 1937, Colorado Springs architect Edward L. Bunts remodeled the house to serve as a men’s residence. The college designated the dormitory “Jackson House” in honor of William Sharpless Jackson, a founder and member of the board of trustees for 43 years. Jackson served as the first treasurer of the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad and was also involved in the establishment of the Denver National Bank and the El Paso County Bank.
During World War II, Jackson House and five other facilities at the college housed military trainees while Colorado College was the site of a Navy-Marine V-12 training unit. In 1976, this became Colorado College’s first “theme house,” after the administration invited student groups to submit proposals to occupy the residence around a central theme. The first group of students assigned to Jackson House used their year to organize an outdoor music festival; sponsor workshops on madrigal singing, jazz improvisation, and life drawing; and stage the Firelight Series of musical performances. Their initial success stimulated interest in additional theme houses that continue to be part of college residential life. Today, the building serves as a non-theme coed residence. Since 1982, Jackson’s basement has housed The Press at Colorado College, a small hand-process printing operation using turn-of-the-century equipment to produce limited edition books. In 2003, President Richard F. Celeste identified The Press as one of the school’s signature programs.
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Mining millionaire and longtime Colorado College trustee William Lennox built this elegant Mission Revival-style residence designed by prominent Denver architect Frederick J. Sterner. The child of Scottish immigrants, Lennox was born in 1850 in Iowa, where he attended college. After his parents moved to the Colorado Springs vicinity in 1872, Lennox came west and spent several months prospecting and mining near Fairplay. He then started a feed and livery business in fledgling Colorado Springs, eventually becoming the largest coal dealer in El Paso County. At the same time, he continued to invest in mountain mining properties, a pursuit that ultimately yielded tremendous rewards. In 1891, Lennox purchased Robert Womack’s El Paso gold claim in the Cripple Creek district, and he became the majority shareholder in two other important properties there, the Gold King Mining Company and the Strong Mine.
While Cripple Creek provided Lennox with a fortune, he also pursued other diverse interests, including serving as president of the Exchange National Bank in Colorado Springs and maintaining large cattle ranches in Texas. Described as "one of the conspicuous successes in the Colorado Springs business community" in a 1900 Gazette article, Lennox vigorously promoted the city and was a member of the Chamber of Commerce and the board of trustees of the Myron Stratton Home. His work for Colorado College included service on the board of trustees from 1901 to his death in 1936.
Lennox used some of his mining wealth to build this house across from the developing college campus in 1900. Constructed for the significant sum of $50,000, the dwelling was described by the Colorado Springs Gazette as “magnificent.” The newspaper observed, “People who have seen the plans and are able to speak with authority on such things do not hesitate to say that there is no residence in Colorado Springs at the present time either completed or in course of construction that will be the equal of Mr. Lennox's home.”
Lennox donated his house to the college through his estate in 1936. Although little new construction took place on campus during the 1930s, the college expanded its facilities through the donation and purchase of several large homes adjacent to the campus. These developments were later described as "The Growth That Nobody Saw." Local architect Edward L. Bunts remodeled the interior of the house for use as the school’s first official student center. The facility included a lounge, reading room, dining room and grill, offices for student organizations, and a game room. In 1941, the college bookstore opened on the second floor. After the construction of the Rastall Student Center in 1959 (later renamed Worner Campus Center), the Beta Theta Pi fraternity occupied the house for 30 years. During summer sessions, a German intensive language program operated in the building. Subsequently, Lennox House operated as a coed dormitory and now serves as a multicultural themed residence also known as the Glass House.
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The first athletic facility designed exclusively for women at Colorado College operated in the basement of this 1903 residence hall. As the third women’s dormitory on campus, McGregor Hall fulfilled a growing need for student housing in the early 20th century. Two earlier dormitories for women, Montgomery (1891) and Ticknor (1898), and a leased wing of the nearby Plaza Hotel could not accommodate all female students. In 1902, a local publication observed, “On every side the college is pressed for room.” When the lease on the hotel wing expired, college officials decided to erect this building, intending to use room rental fees to help pay for the project. The Woman’s Educational Society (WES), founded in 1889 to provide “physical, intellectual, and spiritual aid to young women” on campus, assisted in the planning and design of the new hall and raised funds for its interior decoration and furnishings. Construction of the $23,000 dormitory began with a groundbreaking ceremony performed by senior women in the spring of 1903. At that occasion, President William F. Slocum stated he hoped the new building would contribute to the one great end for which the college stood: “the very best life possible.” The building’s name honors Marion McGregor Noyes, a Colorado College Latin teacher and President William F. Slocum’s assistant in the philosophy department during 1891-97. The dormitory formed the western boundary of the open space that came to be known as the “Women’s Quadrangle” and occupied high ground with uninterrupted views of Pikes Peak and Cheyenne Mountain. The building’s architecture represented the influence of Victorian-era residential design and included walls of Greenlee red arkosic sandstone from the Red Rock Canyon Quarry near the city. Colorado Springs architects Walter F. Douglas and T. Duncan Hetherington, who had worked on Montgomery and Ticknor Halls, designed McGregor.
McGregor Hall opened in September 1903 with 60 rooms occupied by freshmen and junior women. No kitchen or dining facilities were included in the hall, as the residents took their meals in the other dormitories. The basement gymnasium reflected President Slocum’s belief in the importance of athletics at Colorado College, and its presence spurred the creation of women’s intramural teams. McGregor also housed the office of the women’s director of physical education. During the 1930s the number of women students on campus decreased, and the building closed in 1933. Within a year, the building reopened to serve women students. McGregor Hall subsequently became a men’s dormitory and later a coed residence for 62 students.
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Although founded as a coeducational institution, Colorado College had no residential facilities for women until the completion of Montgomery Hall in 1891. Scholars coming from out of town rented rooms and ate in local boardinghouses or private residences during the early days. The first dormitory for men, Hagerman Hall (demolished in 1956), opened in 1889. Mary Slocum, wife of President William F. Slocum, made construction of women’s residential facilities one of her missions. In 1889, Mrs. Slocum and other college and Colorado Springs women established the Woman’s Educational Society (WES), and completion of a women’s hall was the first of numerous campus improvement projects undertaken by the group. The WES financed construction and furnishing of Montgomery Hall through membership fees and fundraising efforts, presenting it to the college debt-free. The women hired Walter F. Douglas, who operated one of the principal architectural firms in the city, to design the new “cottage” with a home-like atmosphere and worked with him to plan all aspects of the building. The group named the residence in honor of Mary Slocum’s younger sister, Elizabeth Robinson Montgomery, who came to Colorado hoping to restore her health and became a supporter of the drive to erect the hall before her untimely death from tuberculosis.
The college dedicated Montgomery Hall with a housewarming on June 13, 1891. The Castle Rock rhyolite dormitory, which resembled a stately residence, included a welcoming porch, large windows, and multiple dormers. In addition to student rooms, the interior featured a spacious drawing room with a tile fireplace, a large dining room, a kitchen and pantries, and a housekeeper’s quarters with an adjacent sunny space to be used for those who became ill. The WES secured furnishings for the building, and several people provided furniture for individual rooms in memory of loved ones. Mrs. Slocum outfitted the infirmary room in honor of her sister. Twenty-six women initially resided in the hall “warmed by steam, lighted by electricity, with every desirable convenience.” The cost of room, board, and utilities for each student during the first year amounted to $6 per week. Montgomery became a place for women to meet, participate in social events, study, and dine. On Sunday afternoons, lectures on “practical considerations of life and conduct” were offered here.
In an effort to cut expenses in the mid-1920s, the college closed Montgomery as a women’s dormitory. The building occasionally housed classes until a major remodeling and expansion occurred in 1937. Local architect Edward L. Bunts planned the new Tudor Revival-style design, which included the addition of an upper story and a large porch. When it reopened, the hall once again became an important component of the college residential program. Colorado Springs philanthropist Alice Bemis Taylor provided funds for a sunporch in 1938. Montgomery, the second-oldest building on campus, provides rooms for 25 upper-class women.
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One of Colorado College’s best known and loved landmarks is Palmer Hall, completed in 1904. The nationally prominent Boston architectural firm of Andrews, Jacques, and Rantoul designed the Romanesque Revival-style building, which was erected with walls of peachblow sandstone obtained from a quarry in Pitkin County. The hall’s name honors General William Jackson Palmer, Civil War veteran, founder of Colorado Springs, president of the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad, and longtime friend of the college. Inside the building are a large oil portrait of the general by Hubert von Herkomer and a 1928 bas-relief plaque by Evelyn Beatrice Longman. Longman’s work depicts the seated Palmer with one of his dogs, and students traditionally rub the animal’s nose for luck before exams.
College President William F. Slocum first pointed to the “crying need” for a science building at an 1897 meeting of the board of trustees. Several years of fundraising ensued to gather the necessary pledges of more than $200,000 for the building. Before construction began, the local street railway company owned by Winfield Scott Stratton petitioned college trustees for the right to extend its tracks along an alignment through the center of campus. The college refused, and an effort by Stratton’s company to condemn the land was rejected by the Colorado Springs City Council. The college construction fund then received an anonymous donation of $100,000, given with the proviso that the new science building be placed across the extended alignment of Tejon Street. Thus, the chosen site for Palmer Hall forestalled future efforts to open Tejon Street through the campus. It is generally believed Palmer and his friend, philanthropist George F. Peabody, provided the large gift. Completed at a cost of nearly $285,000, Palmer Hall was six times more expensive than any preceding campus structure. The largest building on campus at the time it opened, Palmer extends 287 feet east-to-west and 95 feet north-to-south, with two stories, a raised basement, and a subbasement. The fireproof construction includes a steel frame, red brick interior walls, and concrete floors covered with terrazzo. Palmer Hall encompassed state-of-the-art classrooms, scientific laboratories, and faculty and administrative offices. The building represented the crowning achievement of President Slocum’s campus building program and testified to the maturity of the college. Significant natural history collections of the college were housed in a large museum in the building, now called Gates Common Room. After the college completed Olin Hall in 1962, most science departments relocated to Olin, leaving Palmer Hall to house social science departments primarily. An extensive interior remodeling in 1977 resulted in preservation of the historic character of the building while lessening the laboratory atmosphere and creating classrooms more conducive for Block Plan classes. The building underwent another significant renovation in 2004 in honor of its centennial anniversary.
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Considered one of the finest examples of Norman Romanesque architecture in the state, this magnificent 1931 stone chapel was financed entirely by Colorado Springs businessman Eugene P. Shove in honor of his English clergymen ancestors. Shove became a millionaire as a result of the Cripple Creek gold boom and subsequently served as vice president of the Colorado Springs Mining Stock Exchange, president of the El Paso National Bank, chairman of the board of directors of the First National Bank of Colorado Springs, vice president and organizer of Golden Cycle Mining and Reduction Co., and treasurer and founder of both the Cresson Gold Mining and Milling Co. and the Holly Sugar Corporation. He developed an interest in the affairs of Colorado College, serving as its vice president, a member of the board of trustees from 1914 to 1939, and a two-time chairman of the board. Shove played an active role in planning the chapel, demanding the finest materials and artisanship despite the economic downturn during its construction.
Scottish-born architect John Gray of Pueblo won a national architectural competition to secure the commission for the building’s design, and it is considered his finest work. Gray, who found inspiration in the architecture of Winchester Cathedral, was involved in every detail of the building’s appearance. He initially specified Colorado red sandstone, similar to several other campus buildings, for the chapel walls. This plan was abandoned due to a lack of modern stonecutting plants in the state and the greater cost of the stone. Instead, the college selected and imported Bedford, Indiana, limestone. Workers in Indiana cut each piece of stone to precisely fit a certain location on the building. The construction costs amounted to $316,000, later supplemented by a $100,000 endowment for maintenance and programming.
Work on the chapel provided an important source of income for its Colorado Springs builders during the Great Depression. F. Edward Little, a member of the Class of 1935, recalled the significance of Shove Memorial Chapel to the college community during those hard economic times: “[Shove] was an elegant and expensive embellishment at a time when plain and frugal were the order of the day. . . . Shove was just what was needed. It glowed as a jewel of hope when there were not many sparkling objects about. It promised something beautiful down the road.”
Artists and craftsman from around the country worked to complete special features. Noted sculptor Robert Garrison designed the exterior stone carvings, which master stone carver John Bruce executed. Artist Robert E. Wade planned and painted several interior ceilings. Joseph Reynolds, Jr., of the nationally recognized Boston firm of Reynolds, Francis, and Rohnstock, designed and fabricated the stained glass windows. The Gillett and Johnston, Ltd., foundry of Croydon, England, produced the bells and a skeleton clock for the tower. A 1931 Welte-Tripp concert-type organ still serves the chapel’s extensive music program. From the time of its completion, non-denominational Shove Memorial Chapel has been the setting for religious services, rites of passage, public meetings, classes, and concerts.
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Local builders W.W. and G.F. Atkinson erected this roughly H-shaped Renaissance Revival-style building with St. Louis pressed brick and salvaged steel from the first Antler’s Hotel in 1900-01. The brothers planned to take advantage of the city’s reputation as a tourist destination with their $80,000 “Plaza Hotel.” Operated as a family hostelry on the European plan (without meals), the facility opened with 120 rooms and 23 bathrooms. The local Facts magazine described the Plaza as a “first-class hotel.” As construction began, the hotel’s builders added a three-story west wing that Colorado College agreed to lease, calling it “South Hall.” Increasing enrollment of women students at the beginning of the 20th century surpassed the school’s ability to provide enough on-campus housing. Thirty women moved into the space in January 1901, under the supervision of Miss Whitehill, a Smith College graduate. The Woman’s Educational Society (WES) provided furnishings for the students’ rooms. The college did not renew the lease on South Hall in 1902, and McGregor Hall opened the following year.
Before the college acquired its own student center, a drugstore in the northeast corner of the first story of the hotel served that purpose. Druggist Henry Tamm opened his business in the space in June 1901, featuring prescriptions, toiletries, and a soda fountain that attracted students. In 1906, John and Joseph Murray purchased the drugstore, operating Murray’s Drug Company. The proximity of Murray’s to the campus made it a natural meeting place that functioned as an unofficial student center until the late 1950s. The drugstore served as the college bookstore from 1920 to 1941 and also provided the convenience of a post office substation. Students gathered at Murray’s before and after athletic contests, cultural events, movies, and dates. Banana splits, cheese and peanut butter sandwiches, and Cokes were popular and inexpensive items offered at the soda fountain. The drugstore encouraged students to “Meet at Murray’s.”
The Plaza Hotel operated here until the late 1960s, although a portion of the building became apartments with hotel service in later years. Members of the college faculty and administration sometimes made their homes in the apartments, and after World War II the college leased a floor of the building for student housing. In 1950, Nestlé Company moved its corporate headquarters into part of the building. Colorado Interstate Gas Company had offices here from 1953 to 1976. Colorado College purchased the building in 1991 and renamed it in honor of William I. Spencer, one of its 1939 graduates and a longtime member of the board of trustees. Spencer, a Colorado native, pursued a career in banking and served as president and chief administrative officer of Citicorp until his retirement in 1981. Spencer Center contains the offices of advancement, communications, and human resources.
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Growth in the number of women students at the end of the 19th century led Colorado College to build its second women’s dormitory, Ticknor Hall. Colorado Springs architects Walter F. Douglas and T. Duncan Hetherington designed the 1898 building with the assistance of the Woman’s Educational Society (WES). The WES focused on ensuring the building had a “home atmosphere” considered desirable for women’s dormitories of the era. At the opening ceremonies for the hall, President William F. Slocum proclaimed Ticknor was “so constructed, arranged, and furnished that only the influences of refinement and culture will surround those who are to occupy it.”
Ticknor Hall’s location at the southeast corner of the developing Women’s Quadrangle took advantage of the slope of the land in its design. With walls composed of Ute Pass red and green dolostone, half-timbering, and bay windows, it resembled a large Victorian residence distinguished by its “most ornate appearance.” Elizabeth Cheney of Wellesley, Massachusetts, contributed the cost of construction of the building, requesting that it be named after her Boston friend, Anna Ticknor. The identity of the donor remained a secret until 1903 due to her young age. The dormitory featured a club and study room with separate southern entrance, a trunk elevator, a large dining room, and a “stable” for bicycles. The inclusion of an infirmary “capable of complete isolation” and staffed by a resident nurse represented the beginning of student health services on campus. The local newspaper observed, “Surely it would seem that no young woman can live four years at Ticknor Hall and not come forth a thoroughly cultured person, partaking unconsciously of the influence of her surroundings.”
Ruth Loomis, the first dean of women, joined the administration as Ticknor neared completion. The dean, a graduate of Vassar College, also acted as director of women’s dormitories and set the rules for social conduct. A member of the Class of 1906 recalled, “Dignity marked Dean Loomis’s bearing; even her laughter was subdued and lady-like and her taffeta-lined skirts swished in quiet elegance as she moved down the stairs to lead evening prayers in Ticknor study.” The college viewed dormitory living not just as a convenient housing option, but an important part of a young woman’s education. Residence halls were the center of their carefully regulated social lives.
During World War I, Colorado College hosted the Army Signal Corps School, a military training program for radio operators that educated more than 500 students. When the Spanish Influenza struck campus in 1918, the dormitory became an infirmary. Although the hall closed when enrollments dropped during the early 1930s, the redecorated building opened in 1936. Today, Ticknor Hall serves as a coed theme residence.
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