Before Economics it was The School of Business but the current Economics Building was originally designed to be the Memorial Student Union Building. Before it was built only a small cottage (photo) was located on the site. It was torn down in preparation for the new building in the late 1920s.
The Memorial Student Union Building was one of the 15 buildings designed by the Philadelphia firm of Day and Klauder. The buildings designed by Charles Z. Klauder between 1918 and 1939 for the campus are referred to as Tuscan Vernacular. While the buildings are influenced by Tuscan architecture, he designed them to be unique to the Boulder area by blending them with the mountain backdrop and using local sandstone. Key features of his designs are multi-hued sandstone walls from local quarries, red tile roofs, limestone framed openings, and black wrought iron accents such as the outdoor lamps (pictured) at the front entrance.
The Memorial Student Union was designed in 1927 and finished in 1931. It contained not only a WWI memorial, but also the first on-campus cafeteria with a large kitchen in the basement with fireplaces, separate men's and women's lounges on the first floor with fireplaces, and a two story Grand Ballroom on the second floor with a musicians' balcony on the north end and a spectators' balcony on the south end of a mezzanine level overlooking the ballroom below.
A wall containing the university seal,
state of Colorado
seal and names of fallen Colorado soldiers (top image).
The center tile from the floor (bottom image).
Currently, the most notable feature of the building is still the memorial. As you walk up to the northwest entrance, you will see the word "RESPECT" in red stone placed in the sidewalk and the word "MEMORIA" (Latin for "memory") over the door. Inside the doors the walls and floor are covered with marble. Names of fallen WWI (The Great War) soldiers from Colorado, Utah, and Montana appear on the walls under the state seals and university seal. On the floor you'll see "1917 REMEMBER 1918" and above the second set of doors "THIS MEMORIAL IS DEDICATED BY THE SONS AND DAUGHTERS OF COLORADO TO THEIR BROTHERS WHO GAVE THEIR ALL IN THE GREAT WAR".
In 1953 the new University Memorial Center (UMC) opened and the old Memorial Student Union building was renovated. In 1954 the two story Grand Ballroom in the Memorial Student Union was destroyed.
Above and top images are details from the original plans for the building, 1927, by Charles Z. Klauder of the Day and Klauder firm.
Above, the northwest entrance leading to the WWI memorial.
The building was home to The School of Business for many years before it was renovated again and became the new home of the Economics Department in 1971.
Fireplaces remain in the basement and first floor as well as many signs of the original wood trim and paneling throughout, of course the original memorial remains, but the mezzanine level is now a complete third floor.
For more about the history of the Economics Department, please read 2006: Celebrating 50 Years of the Economics Department by Keith Maskus.