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Boulder Laboratories

In April 2016 following a comprehensive historical assessment of the campus facilities at the Department of Commerce Boulder Laboratories Building 1, also known as the Central Radio Propagation Laboratory (CRPL) was determined eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) under both criterion A (History) and criterion C (Design).  Located at the base of the Flat Iron range of the Rocky Mountains, on a 222 acre site that was donated to the Federal government by the city of Boulder, the CRPL was designed in regional variant of the international style by the award winning Los Angeles architecture firm of Luckman and Pereira. It was constructed and dedicated on September 14, 1954 by then President Dwight D. Eisenhower.

Boulder Laboratories
Boulder, CO

Surveyed and documented by professional architectural historians in 2016 in accordance with Section 110 of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 (as amended),the entire campus was then evaluated using the National Register of Historic Places criteria for integrity and significance. At Boulder, only Building One was determined eligible for listing based upon application of the NRHP listing criteria.

Within Building 1 laboratories, ground breaking research has led to major scientific developments such as the Atomic Clock. The exposed cast concrete exposed structure with insets of local fieldstone panels and ribbon windows in a series of parallel wings that ingeniously climb the foothills merited an AIA Honor Award in 1955. For a detailed history and architectural description for the entire campus, including Building One, consult the April 2016 Historic Assessment Department of Commerce Boulder Laboratories for the National Institute of Standards and Technology. For an even more comprehensive survey of the building’s condition and its character defining features, consult the Building One Historic Structures Report (HSR) from 2018, which includes a series of preservation zone maps, numerous photos as well as the original architectural drawings.

In addition to the NIST owned Building 1, the privately-owned Anderson Ditch that runs through the campus has also been determined eligible for listing in the NRHP, however, no documentation of the specific applicable criteria or a boundary for the resource has been located.

Because both Building 1 and the Anderson Ditch have been determined eligible for listing in the NRHP, all proposed changes to these resources must comply with the Secretary of the Interiors Standards (SOI Stds.) and are subject to advance review and consultation with the Colorado State Historic Preservation Office. Many routine maintenance and operational activities, however, are governed by a Programmatic Agreement (PA) developed by NIST and the SHPO.  The PA, nonetheless, requires that the NIST FPO be apprised of any all such activities which in turn are documented and reported the SHPO as part of an annual report. The point of contact for all communications with SHPO is the NIST Federal Preservation Officer (FPO).

Boulder Resources:

Created July 15, 2020, Updated May 4, 2021