Institute for Telecommunication Sciences / April 1950

April 1950: Boulder Chamber of Commerce Begins Fundraising to Attract CRPL

On April 11, 1950, the citizens of the city of Boulder, Colorado kicked off a campaign to raise money to guarantee the Department of Commerce’s new laboratory would be built in the city. With the help of Senator Ed Johnson (D-CO) and Ed Condon, the director of the National Bureau of Standards (NBS), Boulder had been chosen to house the new NBS lab in December of the previous year. But the decision was based in part on the promise that land for the labs would be supplied by the City. The Chamber of Commerce started a newspaper advertising campaign in April that compared donated money to insurance premiums. “For a premium of $70,000 the community is assured a $2,000,000 annual dividend in the form of payroll and employment opportunities,” the ads promised. Within nine days the citizens and businesses of Boulder and surrounding communities had raised $93,629.58, easily surpassing their goal. The Radio Building, where ITS is still located, was completed in 1954 and dedicated by President Eisenhower on September 13. The citizens of Boulder received even higher dividends on the money they invested than the advertising had promised: by 1959 the lab's payroll was injecting over $4 million into the area’s economy and attracting visiting scientists from around the world. Boulder's current reputation as a center of scientific and technical innovation with a strong startup economy owes much to the researchers who have been attracted to Boulder over the years by the presence of NBS, ITS, other Commerce and federal laboratories, and the University.