Published: March 1, 2016

Two young women in the early 1900s

By 1911 CU-Boulder’s women had decided the time was right for a major campus building of their own, one with parlors, bedrooms, a dining room and a gymnasium. To raise money, the CU Women’s League planned a spring festival called May Fete.

The event, held until 1925, was at heart about music and dancing. As this photograph from the CU Heritage Museum attests, it was also an occasion for creative costuming, often with a fairy-tale theme — here, Snow White.

Auto shows, operettas, weight-guessing games and various other amusements helped raise money. Illuminated boats drifted on Varsity Lake.

A World War I construction ban and rising costs scuttled plans for the new building. The League instead put the $15,000 it raised toward Macky Auditorium’s pipe organ.

In 1925 the Fete gave way to an annual dance. A large residence hall for women was finally built in 1934. You’d know it as Sewall Hall.