Golden, first known as Golden City, was established in 1859 and served as a supply center for miners and settlers in the area. By 1866, Bishop George M. Randall arrived in the territory and, seeing a need for higher education facilities in the area, began planning for a university which would include a school of mines. In 1870, he opened the Jarvis Hall Collegiate School in a building just south of the town of Golden. In 1873, Mines opened under the auspices of the Episcopal Church and in 1874 the School of Mines became a territorial institution and has been a state institution since 1876 when Colorado attained statehood.

The first Colorado School of Mines Board of Trustees meeting was held in 1879, the first formal commencement for two graduates was held in 1883, the first international student graduated in 1889, and the first female student graduated in 1898.

Courses offered to students during the early years of Colorado School of Mines included chemistry, metallurgy, mineralogy, mining engineering, geology, botany, math and drawing. The focus of the early academic programs was on gold and silver, and the assaying of those minerals. As the institution grew, its mission expanded to focus specifically on understanding the Earth, harnessing energy and sustaining the environment.

For additional Mines history, see the catalogs, yearbooks, pictures, building plans and unpublished histories housed in the Wood Archives on the lower level of Mines’ Arthur Lakes Library, 1400 Illinois St.