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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 (U.S. National Park Service) 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

Within Building 1 laboratories research has led to NBS and later NIST Scientists wings Nobel Awards for scientific developments such as the Atomic Clock.  The cast concrete exposed structure with insets of local fieldstone panels and ribbon windows in a series of parallel wings that ingeniously climbs the foothills merited an AIA Honor Award in 1955. For a detailed history and architectural description of character defining features please consult the April 2016 Historic Assessment Department  of Commerce Boulder Laboratories for the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

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. 

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.

In addition to the NIST owned Building 1, the privately-owned Anderson Ditch that runs through the campus is listed on the National Register; however, no documentation of the specific applicable Criteria or a boundary for the resource has been located. NIST’s practice has been to consult with the appropriate parties when changes in the vicinity of the Ditch are being planned.

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. The point of contact for all communications with SHPO is the NIST Federal Preservation Officer (FPO).

Boulder Resources:

Created July 15, 2020, Updated October 26, 2023