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Events

1920s: Post-war recovery

February 4, 2010

On Feb. 11, Colorado State University will honor the creation of the institution with a Founders Day celebration. Since its establishment in 1870, the institution now known as Colorado State University, has become one of the nation's leading research universities and has awarded over 220,000 undergraduate and graduate degrees.

A woman milks a cow (and feeds a cat) on campus in 1921.

Helping with the war

For Colorado Agricultural College, the 1920s served as a recovery period from the perils of war. World War I generated a great demand for American agricultural products and with the help of CAC research Colorado became a heavy national provider of war-time food.

The college’s Extension Services continued to offer post-war programming on food production and conversation efforts in rural communities. The service’s taught both farmers and those without agricultural backgrounds about:

  • land cultivation
  • storing, drying, and canning produce
  • initiated stock-growing projects for youth around the state
Establishment of the Seed Lab

In 1920, the CAC Seed Lab was established after Colorado law called for the regulation of seed purity and composition labels. The lab itself had a research, educational and regulatory function and was led by seed analyst Anna Lute until 1941.

A group of mechanical engineering students and faculty posed for a photo in 1921. During WWI, soldiers’ came to campus to train as mechanics causing an increase in enrollment for the engineering program.

Enrollment increase in Engineering

As the 1920s progressed, CAC continued to recover financially from its war-time sacrifices. During WWI, soldiers’ enrolled at CAC to train as mechanics causing a massive increase in enrollment for the engineering program.

Two mechanic shops, a dining hall and two military-only barracks were constructed on campus property and thus dipped into the school’s emergency funds.

Post-war recovery

While the college focused on recovery, President Lory authorized the establishment of the school’s first economic and sociology departments.

Colorado’s land-grant institution provided fundamental assistance during the First World War helping to establish the country’s surplus of war-time supplies. This became a skill that would become important during the next national crisis, the Great Depression.

Written by Sarah Gianti, CSU Department of Public Relations Intern, Journalism and Technical Communications ‘10.


Contact: Jennifer Dimas
E-mail: jennifer.dimas@colostate.edu
Phone: (970) 491-1543