Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project

 

 
Palmer Hall

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Institution Name: Colorado College
Original/Historic Place Name: Palmer Hall
Location on Campus: 1025 N. Nevada Ave.
Date(s) of Construction:
1903original construction Andrews, Jacques & Rantoul
Designer: Andrews, Jacques & Rantoul
Type of Place: Individual building
Style: Romanesque revival (Glossary)
Significance: architecture, education, history
Narrative: see below
References: see below
Materials:
Foundation: stone
Walls: peachblow sandstone (Colorado)
Roof: ceramic tile
 
Function:
ca. 1903museum
1903-present (2006)classrooms (and laboratories)
ca. 1903-present (2006)administration
ca. 2004-present (2006)faculty offices (with lounge and meeting room)
 

Narrative:
Palmer Hall (1903) remains the college's largest and most important academic building. Designed by the Boston firm Andrews, Jacques and Rantoul, the hall is a fine example of Richardsonian Romanesque and ranks in the top tier of American turn-of-the-century institutional buildings. The college will begin extensive work on the hall in the fall of 2003, including repairs, restoration, and adaptive re-use.

Liberal arts colleges seek a fine balance between continuity and change, and their architecture typically reflects that balance. Palmer Hall, for example, once housed the college's science program. Today, two new buildings serve that purpose, and Palmer Hall instead accommodates the social sciences and continues to serve as a central academic building, with few apparent changes in appearance.

General William Jackson Palmer, for whom the hall was named, was a founder of Colorado College as well as the city of Colorado Springs. His railroad, the Denver and Rio Grande, brought modern commerce to Colorado Springs and the West. Choosing Colorado Springs as his home, he dedicated a portion of his wealth and energy to buildings, parks, institutions, and other amenities that served the city's population.

Palmer Hall occupies a prime spot on the northern edge of the college's historic central quadrangle. Its site interrupts Tejon Street and is therefore a prominent landmark for both city and campus. In addition to its imposing physical presence, the hall represents the new wealth available to the region from gold mining in nearby Cripple Creek, which had begun a decade before in the early 1890s. William Slocum, whose presidency during that period transformed the college, tapped the new wealth to great advantage, adding it to the considerable sums he secured from more traditional sources in the East.
 

References:

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. Palmer Hall [Colorado College]. National Register of Historic Places designation report. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior/National Park Service, 1985.

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.

 

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