Renovated Women's Studies Cottage Takes CU-Boulder Back In Time

September 5, 1997

The Hazel Gates Woodruff Cottage, an historical landmark on the CU-Boulder campus, is open this fall after a renovation that restores the building’s place in time.

The Cottage, formerly known as the Women’s Studies Cottage No. 1, was built in 1885 to house the first women’s dormitory on campus. It originally provided dining facilities for 100, sleeping rooms for 12, a bath and an office for the chaperone on the first floor.

The project received $1 million toward renovation in 1996-97 through gifts from the family of the late Hazel Gates Woodruff, the Colorado Historical Fund and other private donors. The building houses faculty members of the Women’s Studies department.

A photograph from 1888 guided the design team’s efforts to restore much of the building’s original ornamentation and charm. Mechanical, electrical, fire, structural and telecommunications systems were upgraded to fit 21st century demands. New landscaping around the building includes a memorial garden and handicapped accessible entrances to the first floor also were added.

The original concept was “to create an oasis on campus,” said Anna Vayr, project coordinator and academic adviser in the Women’s Studies department.

The eclectic interior can be compared to distinctive folk art but the choice of furnishings was in keeping with the historic integrity of the cottage. The cottage contains replicas of cherry bookshelves, stained hardwood floors, cushioned seating, antique light fixtures, original paint colors, intricate stenciling to mimic Victorian style wallpaper and complete restoration of the original winding mahogany staircase.

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