Built in 1910, Guggenheim Hall is located on the northeast side of the Oval on the campus of Colorado State University (CSU) in Fort Collins. As the headquarters of the school’s home economics program in the early twentieth century, the neoclassical building is significant for its role in the history of women’s education at the college.
Originally called the Simon Guggenheim Hall of Household Arts, the building was intended to house the school’s home economics program. Essentially, home economics functioned as the women’s section of the college; at the time, many people involved in American higher education believed that women’s education should be designed to assist them in their roles as wives and mothers.
Just as the home economics program received a new building, it also got a new orientation thanks to Inga M.K. Allison, who became acting program head in 1910 and took over permanently in 1911. By focusing on research projects such as determining the effect of altitude on cooking recipes, she grounded home economics in the physical, biological, and social sciences. This shift made it possible to extend women’s education beyond domestic concerns. Under Allison’s leadership, home economics became an independent department in 1917 and started to train women for careers beyond housewifery. By the early 1930s the department offered women training in art, nutrition, teaching, and textiles.
This picture I took a few years ago and toyed with colors. It should come as no surprise to most that I am a history buff and truly enjoy discovering days of old and what has changed or shaped America’s thinking.