Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project


Cutler Hall

Click on image titles for larger views.
Institution Name: Colorado College
Original/Historic Place Name: Palmer Hall
Location on Campus: 912 N. Cascade Ave.
Date(s) of Construction:
ca. 1878-1882original construction Peabody & Stearns
Designer: Peabody & Stearns
Type of Place: Individual building
Style: Gothic revival, Victorian (Glossary)
Significance: architecture, education, history
Narrative: see below
References: see below
Foundation: stone
Walls: stone (ignimbrite and white sandstone, both from Colorado)
Roof: fire-resistant wooden cedar shakes
ca. 1878classrooms
ca. 1878-present (2006)administration
ca. 2004-present (2006)admissions office

Cutler Hall (1878-82) was Colorado College when it was first built, standing alone on the empty prairie, nearly a mile from the new city's main street. The completion of Cutler Hall affirmed that education, stability, and traditional values had arrived in Colorado Springs, in keeping with General William Jackson Palmer's intention for a civilized, cultured community that included a college. General Palmer, a railroad owner, founded the city and was the driving force in establishing the college. He believed a college would bring educated professionals to the community, develop new leadership, keep the city's youth in Colorado, and contribute to the region's financial health. He contributed funds for the campus land and for the construction of this first building.
Nationally prominent architects Peabody and Stearns designed Cutler in the Gothic style. The building was totally renovated and restored in the late 1990s with substantial assistance from the Colorado Historical Fund. The hall houses the college's admissions office.
General Palmer and others like him looked to the American East for inspiration and for institutional models to emulate. These leaders, transplanted Easterners themselves, chose forms and landscapes that copied colleges and preparatory schools in New England.
Cutler Hall anchors the western edge of the east-west axis of the college's central quadrangle, which is laid out in the baroque style of the then fashionable Beaux Arts. Again, influences of the East and of Europe dominated the consciousness and decision-making of the college's founders.


Abbott, Carl, Stephen J. Leonard, and David McComb. Colorado: A History of the Centennial State. Boulder, CO: Colorado Associated University Press, 1982.

Abele, Deborah. Downtown Historic and Architectural Intensive Survey. Report. City of Colorado Springs, 1985.

Brettell, Richard. Historic Denver. Denver, CO: Historic Denver, 1979.

Buildings of Colorado College, Past and Present. 1984. Revised 1988, 1991, 1996. Special Collections. Colorado College, Colorado Springs, CO.

Dober, Richard. Campus Design. New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1992.

Dober and Associates, Inc. The Colorado College Planning Study. [s.l.: s.n.], 1983.

Educational Facilities Laboratories. Bricks and Mortarboards: a Report from Educational Facilities Laboratories on College Planning and Building. [New York]: Educational Facilities Laboratories, 1963.

Freed, Elaine. Preserving the High Plains and Rocky Mountains. Albuquerque, NM: University of New Mexico Press, 1992.

Fuller, Timothy, ed. This Glorious and Transcendant Place. Colorado Springs, CO: Colorado College, 1981.

Hershey, Charlie Brown. Colorado College, 1874-1949. Colorado Springs, CO: Colorado College, 1952.

Langford, Roy. "The Buildings of the Colorado College." Revised manuscript. 1994. Colorado College, Colorado Springs, CO.

Larson, Paul Clifford, and Susan M. Brown, eds. The Spirit of H. H. Richardson on the Midland Prairies: Regional Transformation of an Architectural Style. Minneapolis, MN: University Art Museum, University of Minnesota, 1988.

Loeffler, Bruce. Recapturing the Past: Envisioning the Future. Exhibition panels. Special Collections. Colorado College, Colorado Springs, CO.

Loevy, Robert D. Colorado College: A Place of Learning 1874-1999. Colorado Springs, CO: Colorado College, 1999.

Lucas, Andrea J., and R. Laurie Simmons. Historic Resources of Colorado College, Colorado Springs, Colorado. National Register of Historic Places Multiple Property Documentation Form. Washington, DC: U. S Department of the Interior/National Park Service, 1997.

Main Street Design. Design Guidelines: North Weber/Wahsatch Historic District/Prepared for the City of Colorado Springs and the Comprehensive Planning Division, Planning, and Development by Main Street Design. [Colorado Springs, CO]: Main Street Design, 1990.
Manning Architects, John Prosser Architects, and Winter and Company. Colorado College: Historic Preservation. [New Orleans, LA and Denver, CO: Manning Architects, John Prosser Architects, and Winter and Company], 1993.

Michaud, Ellen C. "Alone on the Prairie." Colorado Magazine 4 (1983): 2-17.

Neilon, Barbara L. The College/Palmer Hall/Cutler Hall [Colorado College]. National Register of Historic Places designation report. Washington, DC: U. S Department of the Interior/National Park Service, 1986.

Noel, Thomas J. Buildings of Colorado. Society of Architectural Historians, Buildings of the United States series. New York: Oxford University Press, 1997.

Olmsted Brothers Landscape Architects. Plans for planting and grading at Colorado College. [Brookline, MA: Olmsted Brothers Landscape Architects], 1924.

Reid, J. Juan. Colorado College: The First Century, 1874-1974. Colorado Springs, CO: Colorado College, 1979.

Reps, John W. Cities of the American West: A History of Frontier Urban Planning. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University, 1979.

Riley, Gresham. The Colorado College--An Informal History. New York: Newcomen Society in North America, 1982.

Sprague, Marshall. Colorado: A Bicentennial History. New York: W. W. Norton, 1976.

Sprague, Marshall. Newport in the Rockies: The Life and Good Times of Colorado Springs. Denver, CO: Sage Books, 1961.

Thompson and Rose Architects. Recapturing the Commons: The Colorado College Campus Master Plan: A Vision Through the Year 2025. Report. [Somerville, MA: Thompson and Rose Architects], 1995.


Contact us / About Site / About CIC
© 2006
Council of Independent Colleges
Washington, DC
All rights reserved
Last update: November 2006