Macky is a pretty commonly heard name around Boulder, mainly because of the beautiful Macky Auditorium up on the CU Boulder campus. But not many of us residents remember anything of the history of the man behind the naming of the auditorium, who indeed was responsible for getting it built, starting back in 1909.
Originally a New Yorker, Andrew J. Macky traveled here to Colorado as part of the population boom caused by the Gold Rush of 1858. When his gold search proved profitless, he moved from Pikes Peak (where his Gold Rush activities were going on), down here to Boulder, where he worked a variety of ventures until 1877, when he opened the First National Bank of Boulder. Macky did very well as a banker, and was well known as a sort of patron of businesses in Boulder and a purveyor of much of what made the city grow, until his death in 1907. He is widely considered a business pioneer of infant Boulder, and in fact one of its first permanent residents.
Macky left $300,000 to the university specifically for building an auditorium, and its design was a conglomeration of many prominent buildings throughout the world. Macky died in 1907, and the groundbreaking ceremony for Macky Auditorium was held in 1909, though completion of the whole building wouldn’t come to fruition until 1922. It was the 14th building to be constructed on CU campus. The delays came from some family disputes in regards to his will and in particular the large gift to the university, and so it took nearly ten years to sort out the red tape before progress on Macky Auditorium could resume.
- Macky himself wasn’t university-educated, but it’s said that he was inspired to give so generously to the school after having attended a Colorado-Nebraska football game (as a parade leader, being a bank director). He was so intensely inspired by the team spirit of the players and loyalty and pep of Colordao fans of the event, even though Colorado was the losing team.
- Beyond the auditorium, Macky also was responsible for construction of Boulder’s first framework house and first brick house.