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Colorado School of Mines History Timeline


1880 -- The School of Mines moves to its new campus on the hills above Golden, the site of the modern-day campus.

  • Albert Cable Hale is appointed Professor in Charge after Milton Moss resigns. Building of 1880, Colorado School of Mines
  • Arthur Lakes is appointed Professor of Geology. Lakes served as museum curator and drawing instructor in the School's early years.
  • The School Catalog lists 2 "regular courses" of study: Mining Engineering and Metallurgy, each of three years' length. Most students, however, are taking classes without being enrolled in a course of study.
  • The Building of 1880 is the School of Mines' first building on campus.

Building of 1880. CSM01.02-B6524

1881 -- Enrollment grows. The majority are special students enrolled in assaying and surveying courses for quick employment in mining towns. The average age of students is 31; over 50 students list their occupation as "prospector" or "mine owner."

  • The School offers the degrees of Engineer of Mines (E.M.), Civil Engineer (C.E.), and Bachelor of Philosophy (Ph.B.) Metallurgy as 4-year courses of study.
  • Faculty are not well paid; some faculty consult on the side or hold paying jobs elsewhere to bring in money. Faculty can apply their practical experience and ties to industry to education, but the quality of instruction is erratic.
  • Eighteen regular students and 51 special students are registered for classes. A number of women are enrolled as attendees.
  • The School library is established with a budget of $250. Prior to this students relied on professors' personal libraries and a "library" of miscellaneous donated publications.
  • The Literary & Scientific Society (aka the School of Mines Atheneum) is formed. The Society's purpose is to sponsor readings, debates and performances, It also served as a respectable venue for students to socialize with local ladies.

1882 -- 

  • The Colorado Scientific Society is formed.1880 Building and 1882 Building, Colorado School of Mines
  • The Building of 1882, the School's second building on the campus, is constructed. The School also purchases 2 lots facing 4th St. (now 14th St.). 
  • Professor Milton Moss receives the first honorary degree of Engineer of Mines--this is also the first formal degree awarded by the School.


1880 Building and 1882 Building, Colorado School of Mines, 1882? CSM01.02-B6525

  • The lecture room hosts lectures in the morning, and laboratory work in assaying and chemical analysis in the afternoon. Elsewhere, "freehand drawing, physics and French are in the afternoon at hours which will probably enable many residents of Golden to attend."
  • Funds are available to outfit a gymnasium located in the Building of 1882.

1883 -- The School begins its transition from a primarily trade school to a formal college with a more traditional student body and faculty.

  • Hale is the first to hold the new title of President of the School of Mines, as established by the General Assembly.
  • Dr. Regis Chauvenet is appointed President after Hale's resignation. He sees his early efforts as "largely engaged in combatting the crudities which characterized parents, students, and the community at large." 
  • The total faculty salary budget for 1883 is $7,840.
  • Dr. Paul Meyer joins the faculty as Professor of Mathematics.
  • Courses become more rigorous, resulting in an initial drop in enrollment and the first student uprising. Students complain about "the grade of instruction,"; the specific issues could have included instructional quality, a more rigorous program, or deficiencies in equipment and resources. Students and faculty on the steps of the 1882 Building, 1882, CSM01.02-B6105


Faculty and students at the 1882 Building, 1883. CSM01.02-B6105

  • From the 1982/83 Catalog are: 37 students in regular courses, 51 gentlemen in special courses, and 33 ladies attending lectures and drawing courses.
  • Walter Howard Wiley, Class of 1883, authors the first recorded senior thesis: "Report on the Utopia Mine, Ophir, Ouray County, Colorado."
  • First Commencement ceremony: Walter Wiley and William Beeke Middleton receive Engineer of Mines (E.M.) degrees, the first 2 graduates to receive a formal degree.

1885 -- 

  • The School has 6 instructors, including President Chauvenet. They teach chemistry and assaying, geology, drawing, physics, mathematics, civil engineering, and metallurgy.
  • Students must pay for educational supplies and chemicals (tuition is still free).
  • Degrees offered: Engineer of Mines (E.M.); Civil Engineer (C.E.); Bachelor of Science in Metallurgy (B.S.); Assayer's Diploma.
  • The Library comprises ~1,000 volumes of scientific, technical and philosophical works.
  • "The Mining Engineer" School Fight Song is being sung. While versions were reportedly around as early as 1879, the song is well established by 1885.

1886 -- 

  • The School's 2nd official Commencement is held for the 2 graduating students.

1887 -- 

  • President Chauvenet marries Virginia Mellon, local school teacher, whom he met at a performance of the Mines Glee Club. "Her interest in their careers won Mrs. Chauvenet the friendship of countless students who attended Mines, and thru the years mining engineers from all over the world have written to her."
  • The School baseball team is part of the State League. The Golden Transcript reports on a "very scientific" ball game between the School of Mines boys and Denver High School--Mines lost, 6 to 38. 

1888 -- 1889 Football Team portrait, Colorado School of Mines

  • There are about 100 students enrolled; most are special students.
  • Commencement ceremonies this year are held for the 4 graduating students at the Golden Opera House. The Opera House is decorated with streamers, flowers, and examples of drafting done by the graduates. A grand ball completes the festivities. [The Golden Opera House building is now the site of the Ace Hi Tavern.]


State School of Mines Football Team, 1889

  • Football is introduced to Mines. The football team plays University of Denver, and Mines wins, 6 to 4.

1889 -- 

  • The White Ash coal mine is flooded by the waters of a nearby abandoned coal mine, killing 10 men working underground. A memorial to the disaster stands on the edge of the athletic field grounds. 
  • The President's House is built on Cheyenne and 15th St. However, President Chauvenet had just built his own house in Denver and refused to move there.