Cutler Hall

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Colorado College History

Colorado Springs was founded in 1871 by General William Jackson Palmer, founder of the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad, who laid out the town along his new rail line from Denver. He envisioned a model city, one that would attract an educated and wealthy population seeking a healthy area to settle. Integral to his plan, General Palmer set aside a plot of land for a college and pledged funding. Colorado College was founded in 1874, two years before Colorado became a state.

Colorado College Today

A private, four-year liberal arts college with roughly 1,900 undergraduates, Colorado College is located on a 92-acre campus in downtown Colorado Springs. Consistently ranked among the top 30 national liberal arts colleges, Colorado College is the only institution of its kind in the Rocky Mountain region. Best known for our innovative Block Plan, where students take and professors teach only one course at a time, Colorado College offers a new perspective on core classes and standard curriculum. We create small and supportive learning communities with every block and give students the time to participate fully, without distractions.

Our students are the best proof that Colorado College is exceptional. Our students are scholars, poets, inventors, musicians, and performers. They come from every state in the nation and more than 25 countries. They come from a wide range of ethnic, religious, and socioeconomic backgrounds, and their interests are as diverse as their backgrounds. Much like the pioneering individuals who formed Colorado Springs, our students are independent-minded adventurers who love a challenge. While educating them is our primary function and responsibility, Colorado College also takes seriously our role as stewards of our unique heritage and resources.

Colorado College Facts

February 4, 1874 — At their first meeting in Denver, the college trustees frame a charter. Five days later it is filed with Colorado Territory, on February 17 with El Paso County.

May 6, 1874 — Preparatory classes convene in the Wanless Building, Pikes Peak Avenue at Tejon Street.

1874 — The first classroom, a three-room wooden building, is erected across from Acacia Park on Tejon Street.

1875 — The Colorado Centennial College Association is formed by the women of the city to raise money for a permanent college building, eventually known as Cutler Hall. Ground is broken on July 4, 1877.

1889 — The Woman’s Educational Society (W.E.S.) is formed under the auspices of Mrs. Mary Slocum. In 1891, Montgomery Hall, a women’s residence, is built from funds raised by W.E.S.

1893 — Katherine Lee Bates, an English instructor from Wellesley College, spends her summer on the faculty of the Colorado College Summer School. Her wagon trip to the top of Pikes Peak inspires her to compose “America the Beautiful.”

1898 — Colorado School of Mines baseballers inaugurate the college’s first playing field, subsequently named Washburn Field. President Slocum throws out the first ball.

1912 — Colorado College is one of only five colleges in the nation to have ongoing faculty exchanges with Harvard University.

1941 — Dancer/choreographer Hanya Holm institutes the first dance class at the college.

1943 — The age of the campus Victory Garden on the quad. Quonset huts and frame barracks are erected east and west of Palmer Hall as dormitories for V-12 enlistees. World War II ends two years later, having cost 52 alumni and student lives.

1951 — Professors Glenn Gray, Lloyd Worner, and George McCue first team teach the popular interdisciplinary course “Freedom and Authority.” On Worner’s appointment to dean four years later, William Hochman succeeded him.