There are only two living witnesses to the earliest days of the university’s history, and our great loss is they cannot speak.
They arrived on campus in 1879, three years after the university opened its doors to 44 students and a year after Mary Rippon, CU’s first female professor, arrived. Old Main housed the classrooms, library, janitor, President Joseph Sewall and his family.
Since the late 1880s, when one of the first trees -- a Plains Cottonwood -- was planted near Old Main, the University of Colorado Boulder’s tree population has grown to more than 4,100 trees comprising more than 100 species.
Mary Sewall, wife of the university’s first president, was responsible for much of the early landscaping. She beautified the barren surroundings with large green lawns and many trees.