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Ask Cam

The case of the unknown plaque

February 16, 2010


The Coloradoan newspaper (1-27-10) on page A3 shows a picture of the newly renovated Preconstruction Center. There is an old brass/bronze plaque adjacent to the second floor east-northeast-most window that says: "5015 FEET ABOVE SEA LEVEL."

When was that placed? I don't think I can see it in the also published 1883 picture. How accurate is it? And why is it 5,015 feet and not exactly 5,000 feet, and mounted at ground level? Would "collectors" have the gall to take it even back then?

Cam’s answer:

You got me! I went to several sources of All Things Historic for CSU, and none could come up with an answer. James Hansen, author of two definitive volumes of the University’s history, spent some time in dusty archives trying to figure out the mystery, but even he came up empty-handed.

Thanks to Facilities, we do know that the elevation is pretty accurate, but where did that mystery plaque come from, and why was it mounted on the outside wall of the second floor?

Calling all investigators

So here’s a general call to action: Take a close look at the plaque, all you faithful Ask Cam readers, and see if you can help solve the mystery. As noted above, it’s on the east-northeast side of the newly renovated Preconstruction Center building. You can see it from the alley just off Laurel Street.

Your reward will be an abundance of satisfaction and an honorary Historian of the Day award!

Yours in puzzlement,

Cam the Ram