Until 1884, the entire University of Colorado (CU) was located in Old Main. That year four new buildings were added to the CU-Boulder campus, including Cottage #1 and #2. Cottage #2 housed the men, while “Ladies’ Cottage” (#1) housed the women students and their house mother at the University.
In the late 1920s Cottage #2 was demolished to make room for a student union, but Cottage #1 still remains. This building, with its Victorian detailing, is one of the most historically significant structures on the CU-Boulder campus today. It is a symbol of the historical presence of women from its earliest days.
In the days when the Cottage was a dormitory, the first floor contained a large kitchen, a couple of parlors, and a large dining room, which could seat 100 people. On the second floor were 12 bedrooms and a bath. The bedrooms were unfurnished so the women students had to supply their beds, tables and other room furnishings, as well as their linens. Cottage #1 had a coal stove and fireplaces of the first floor, but there was no means of heating the bedrooms upstairs.
As sororities began to appear on campus around the turn of the twentieth century, and there were housing alternatives for women, the Cottage gradually changed from a dormitory into the women’s center and eventually came to be called the Women’s Building. It was the focus of all women’s activities on campus and the community. The Boulder YWCA was founded there and later the Cottage became the office of the Dean of Women and home to CU’s former Department of Home Economics.
For many years the Cottage was on the demolition list, but in 1996-97, the Cottage received a $1 million dollar renovation gift through funds from the Colorado Historical Fund and the generosity of the family of the late Hazel Gates Woodruff.
Today, Cottage #1, now known as the Hazel Gates Woodruff Cottage houses the Women and Gender Studies Program.