I’m having trouble deciding which CSU buildings to include in my blog posts. I have over 200 images of campus buildings, many more that I would care to write about or you would care to read about. I’ve decided, for the most part, to limit the posts on CSU’s buildings to those buildings that are on the National or Colorado State Register of Historic Properties.

The two buildings that I have chosen to feature today are both on the Colorado Register, one because it is one of the earliest existing buildings on campus and the other because of its connection to women’s educational opportunities. In addition to being on the Register, the two buildings are neighbors on the south side of Laurel Street, close to College Avenue. They are the Manufacturing Engineering Building, which has gone through a number of name changes and is now the Preconstruction Center, and Guggenheim Hall.

Now Image: Preconstruction Center (left) and Guggenheim Hall (right), March 25, 2017

Mechanical Engineering Building, 251 West Laurel Street:

A special appropriation from the state of Colorado funded the Mechanic Shop in 1883. It was the first of four stages that would form the building shown in the images below.

Mechanical Engineering Building by F. P. Clatworthy, c. 1910

This image is taken from the east side building by F. P. Clatworthy, an early Estes Park, CO photographer, who built up an international reputation. Thankfully, he made a few trips to Fort Collins with his camera, leaving us some great images. I’ll do a post in the future dedicated to Clatworthy.

The original building was entered from the east side, the side that now faces Rembrandt Drive. You can see the original arched entry peeking over the shrub on the east side of the building. Here is what the east side of the building looks like today.

Now Image: Preconstruction Center, East Side, March 25, 2017

Meg Dunn did a post on Forgotten Fort Collins on the earliest Sanborn Fire Map. The map shows the location and shape of the original building. Take a look at it using the link below:


Here is a colorized image of the building from the west side.

Mechanical Engineering Building, c. 1912

By 1899, a number of additions had unified the building into the structure that is shown in the above photographs. The modifications also brought together all the practical instructional equipment, like lathes, forges, pumps, and motors. Below is a photograph of the machine room in the building from around 1907.

Machine Room, Mechanical Engineering Building, c. 1907

The Mechanical Engineering Building is on the Colorado State Register of Historic Properties. The site describes the reason for its inclusion as follows:

“The 1883 building is one of the oldest on campus.  Additions in 1892, 1896, 1899, and 1925 symbolize the growth and development of what began as a small agricultural college into a large diversified university.”

Guggenheim Hall, 291 West Laurel Street:

The exterior of Guggenheim Hall, unlike the Mechanical Engineering Building, has remained pretty much the same since it was built in 1910. Its name has also remained the same. Below is a photograph of the building from around 1920.

Guggenheim Hall with the Mechanical Engineering Building, c. 1920

This image, taken from the west side of Guggenheim Hall, shows its neighbor, the Mechanical Engineering Building. Guggenheim faces Laurel Street and was designed by architect James Murdock. It is built in the neoclassical tradition, using buff-colored bricks. Simon Guggenheim gifted very similar buildings to other Colorado colleges.

Below are two more images of Guggenheim Hall, one from the front and one from the rear, both taken by William P. Sanborn.

Front of Guggenheim Building, by Sanborn, Postmarked 1947
Guggenheim Building From the Oval, by Sanborn, c. 1940

Guggenheim Hall is included on the Colorado State Register of Historic Properties, not for its age, but for its impact on women’s education. Originally, the building housed the school’s home economics program, a program designed to assist women in their roles as wives and mothers. But, just as the building was completed, the program got a new leader, Inga M. K. Allison, who changed the direction of women’s education at the school.


Allison focused on research projects, such as determining the effect of altitude on cooking recipes, and grounded home economics in the physical, biological, and social sciences. The shift extended women’s education beyond the home and by the 1930s, the department was offering courses in art, teaching, and textiles.

The register describes the impact of Guggenheim Hall and Inga Allison this way:

“The 1910 building is associated with the efforts made toward expanding women’s educational programs beyond the domestic sciences by the women instructors who taught there during the first decades of the 20th century.”

Scroll down to the bottom of the page can click the “Colorado State University” category to see the rest of my CSU posts.

Next week, I’m going to begin a multi-post look at the Lindenmeier Site, one of the most important archeological sites in the United states.


One thought on “Mechanical Engineering Building & Guggenheim Hall: CSU Neighbors

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