Skip to Main Content

Colorado School of Mines History Timeline


1900 -- The start of the 1900's saw growing conflicts at the School over academic changes and higher standards implemented by President Chauvenet. Neither the students, the faculty, the Board of Trustees, nor the alumni were happy.

  • Winfield Scott Stratton makes the first major cash gift to the School of Mines. Stratton made his money in the mines of Cripple Creek.
  • An early version of the Senior Stetson appears. Only seniors are allowed to wear these hats.

 Assay Building, interior 1900, Colorado School of Mines

  • The Stratton Assay Laboratory is built. Each student in class has his own furnace and assay work station.

Assay Laboratory 1900, Colorado School of Mines






 Stratton Assay Laboratory, 1900. CSM01.02B6812; CSM01.02B6811.


  • The State Supreme Court rules that Mines students can vote in Golden's elections.
  • The freshman call a boycott in protest after classmates fail some courses. The Sophomore Class strikes in sympathy. President Chauvenet requires the students to re-register for the semester before being allowed back in class.
  • The Rocky Mountain Conference (RMC) of athletics is organized.

1901 -- Sigma Nu fraternity is established at Mines. It is Mines' first national fraternity.

1902 -- 

  • President Chauvenet resigns. His departure is attributed at least in part to the School's divided authority with the Board of Trustees over student disruptions.
  • Charles Skeele Palmer is appointed President. He was responsible for getting a significant $30,000 legislative appropriation, but his appointment is plagued by unrest and dissention. His term as president lasted less than a year.
  • With Palmer's appointment comes the ruling that all academic discipline will be the responsibility of the faculty. Relations between the faculty, administration and Board of Trustees grow increasingly contentious.
  • Faculty (17 professors) and staff salaries total over $33,000 this year. 
  • A protest by sophomores against conditions at the School becomes violent, leading to the destruction of equipment. Classes are canceled for 2 days, and several students are eventually suspended. More student protests follow.Logo, Colorado School of Mines Catalog 1902-03
  • Logo, Colorado School of Mines Catalog 1902-03The Mines spherical triangle appears on the School Catalog in 1902 for the first time. In comparison the 1901-02 Catalog had an ornate graphic.
  • Commencement is held at the Golden Opera House. A special train is run to bring in people from Denver for the event. 
  • In Steinhauer vs. Arkins, the Colorado Appellate Court rules that the faculty, rather than the Board of Trustees, determine whether a student is entitled to a degree. Charles T. Arkins, Class of 1897, was denied his degree by the faculty due to reported academic failures; this decision was initially overruled by the Board of Trustees.
  • Two alumni lose their lives in an avalanche at the Liberty Bell Mine in February 1902; 19 miners were killed in the disaster. The fathers of the 2 alumni donated bronze plaques commemorating the accident to the School.

1903 -- 

  • The entire faculty threaten to resign if President Palmer is not removed from office. The Board of Trustees fires all of the faculty and President Palmer. An appeal by the faculty to State Governor Peabody gets nowhere.
  • Victor C. Alderson is appointed president. He went on to continue the transformation of the School, and becomes what many consider Mines' most controversial president. Grace McDermut, E.M. Class of 1903, Colorado School of Mines
  • Grace C. U. McDermut, E.M. Class of 1903, is the second woman to graduate from Mines.
  • Professor Robert Hartman dies from exposure to hydrogen sulfide gas in the lab; his assistant was also overcome by the gas before students dragged the two men out. This is the first recorded lab fatality at the School.
  • Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity is established at Mines.

Grace McDermut, E.M. Class of 1903

1904 -- 

  • Stratton Hall is completed. The building is named for Winfield Scott Stratton.

Stratton Hall, 1906? CSM01.02B6010

Stratton Hall, Colorado School of Mines,


  • Attire for students is described as, "much hair, a blue shirt, collar turned up, corduroy pants, no vest, a belt, shoe boots about 12 inches up and down, no hat, or any kind of hat except a good one, and a (bulldog) pipe completes the outfit."
  • Kappa Sigma Fraternity is established on campus.
  • A bowling league is formed in Golden, composed of Mines students, Coors Brewery employees, and townspeople. 

1905 -- 

  • Technical short courses to train workers for the mining industries are offered.
  • The Quarterly of the Colorado School of Mines begins publication.
  • Tau Beta Pi, honorary scholastic engineering fraternity, is established at Mines.
  • Basketball is added to the athletics program.
  • S. Yanaz, a graduate of Cornell College awarded a scholarship to study at Mines, is denied accommodation by a prominent hotel in Denver because, "it was a long established rule of the house that no guests would be accepted who were not of the Caucasian race." Yanaz, who is from East India, arranged accommodation with friends in Golden instead.

1906 -- 

  • The name of the institution is set as "Colorado School of Mines" by state statute. 
  • Guggenheim Hall and 5th St., 1920?Guggenheim Hall is completed. Simon Guggenheim's donation was the largest private donation received by a state institution at that time.

Guggenheim Hall and 5th Street, 1920?

  • Power House and Assay Laboratory, Colorado School of Mines 1929The Heating, Lighting and Power House is constructed. The building is connected by archways to the neighboring Assay Laboratory.

Power House and Assay Building, 1929? CSM01.02B1540


  • The School offers 2 four-year courses--Engineer of Mines (E.M.) and Metallurgical Engineer (E.Met.).
  • The Library moves from Main Hall to Guggenheim Hall. With over 5,000 volumes, it is considered "one of the largest and most complete technical libraries in the US."

Miners in the field, 1907?

  • The Senior Trip is part of the curriculum. Every Spring the Trip is the senior class capstone experience with a 6-week tour to mines, mills and smelters, returning in time for Commencement. Travel is by train where possible.



Clelland, 1908?

  • Pranks become more elaborate on campus. Legend has it that the missing stonework spheres decorating the top of Guggenheim Hall were removed by the School to thwart a plot by students to mock President Alderson.

1907 -- 

  • The Colorado Geological Survey is established.
  • Hazing is entrenched as a tradition, particularly for sophomores hazing freshmen. The early 1900s school yearFreshman-sophomore "rough house" 1907, Colorado School of Mines began with the incoming freshman battling the sophomores in a tug-o-war across Clear Creek, and a "rough house" free-for-all at the evening barbecue. 

Freshman-sophomore "rough house" in front of Engineering Hall, Clelland 1907.

  • The Experimental Mine (aka School Tunnel) is constructed on Mt. Zion to train students. [The Mine is now incorporated into the basement of a house in the residential neighborhood on Mt. Zion's slopes.]
  • Sophomores strike over the expulsion of classmates following some pretty bad decision-making and the assault of a professor. The students called off the strike before the entire class was expelled; the original perpetrators apologized.
  • Theta Tau fraternity is established at Mines.
  • The Mines track team is competing by 1907; they win several championships by the end of the decade.

1908 --

  • The Gymnasium is built. It is reportedly the first gymnasium in Colorado, with the first college indoor pool in the state.
  • Beta Theta Pi is established on campus by members of the Crucible Club.
  • The "M" is constructed on the slope of Mt. Zion. Students packed the construction materials up the mountain on burros.
  • The first official student hang-out on campus is the new Gymnasium's club room, the precursor to the Integral Club.

1909 --

  • A senior is elected to the office of Jefferson County Surveyor after running against the incumbent, who happened to be an unpopular professor. The new Surveyor was able to fund his Senior Trip with his salary along with the $.25/hour he got teaching surveying to freshmen.