Colorado School of Mines – Hill Hall

AddressN.W. of intersection of 15th and Arapahoe Sts., Golden, 80401
QuadGolden, 1965 (1994)
SectionS34, T3S, R70W
SourceCSM Office of Public Information, 8/29/59; CSM Office of Institutional Advancement, 6/20/89; Ubbelohde, "A Colorado History," pp. 112-113, p. 183, p. 207.
Initialdate1997-04-23 00:00:00-06
Latestdate2012-11-28 00:00:00-07
HistoryHill Hall was completed in late 1958, but classes weren't held in the building until the fall semester of 1959. The building, designed by Fuller, Fuller and Fuller, was built for the purpose of teaching all phases of metallurgy and material sciences. It is fitting, therefore, that the building was dedicated to the memory of Nathaniel T. Hill, who was referred to during the December 1983 dedication ceremonies as the man who saved Colorado's economy during the lean years of 1873-1876. Professor Hill, a chemistry professor at Brown University, came to Colorado in 1864 at the behest of a group of Boston financiers to evaluate their newly purchased mining properties. He arrived at the time that finding so-called "free gold" to mine was running out. "Free gold" is gold that can be panned from a stream, separated in a sluice box, found as nuggets or easily separated from the rock it was in by milling and amalgamating it with mercury. The ore being mined when he arrived required new methods of separating out the gold from the complex sulphide ores mined with it. He travelled to Europe twice to study their smelting processes and made arrangements to ship some ore to Wales to see if their processes would work on Colorado ore. They did, and Hill built his own smelting company that began operating in 1868. The products of his smelter still had to be sent to Wales for refining, but by 1876 Hill had solved all the refining problems, and the entire process took place at his Blackhawk smelter. Gold mining was once again a viable enterprise. Nathaniel Hill served on the Board of Trustees for the Colorado School of Mines 1873-1876, and he went on to become a United States Senator from Colorado. After an uprising of Utes on the western slope, there were calls for punishing (substitute eliminating) them including one from Colorado's other Senator, Henry Teller. Senator Hill said that was a narrow and selfish view, and like many in Colorado he favored moving the Utes off the land so as to open it for settlement and development.