Published: Nov. 10, 2020

CU Cottonwood trees in 1909When construction for Macky Auditorium, CU Boulder’s largest concert hall, began in 1909, campus was serene. There were 13 buildings and 1,108 enrolled students. Trees adorned the area — including the original cottonwoods planted near Old Main in 1879 and poplars such as these pictured on the dam along Varsity Lake, near the auditorium’s construction site. 

Construction was completed in 1922. Ash trees, honeysuckle shrubs, American elm trees, lodgepole pine and a Nootka cypress have since replaced the poplars. They’ve served as witness to a number of famous figures in Macky’s history, including Eleanor Roosevelt, the Dalai Lama, Jane Goodall, Robin Williams, Antonin Scalia and Buzz Aldrin.

Photo courtesty J. Raymond Brackett/Norlin Library Archives