Old Main


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Old Main

CU Boulder begins with Old Main—the first building constructed on campus. Old Main was completed on April 18, 1876, a few months before Colorado became a state. Classes began in the fall of 1877. The first year CU operated as a preparatory school where Boulder’s high school students became qualified for college-level work. At the time, the mud-encircled building contained the entire university, including classrooms, the library, science labs and living quarters for the president, the caretaker and their families.

The university ran the preparatory program on campus until 1895, making sure students were adequately prepared for collegiate study. Only two college-level courses of study were offered: the Classical Course and the Scientific Course. Both were four-year programs and modeled on rigid college course curricula of the time. CU’s first president, Joseph Sewall, taught classes in science and medicine, and he launched the Medical School in 1883. Tuition was free to citizens of the state.

Lego model of CU Boulder


The Heritage Center, located on the third floor of Old Main, reflects the rich history of CU Boulder and its alumni. Get an in-depth look at the first buildings on campus, learn about the adventures of CU’s astronauts in the Space Exploration Gallery, trace Buff rituals and victories in the Athletic Gallery, discover the newest members of the Alumni Hall of Excellence and see a miniature depiction of the university in the Lego gallery. Pictured above: A 12- by-17-foot Lego model of campus attractions, made from more than 1 million Lego bricks.

303-492-6329, cuheritage.org
Monday–Saturday, 10 a.m.–4 p.m.

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