In the 1940's there was a long felt need for a full-fledged college in the Head Quarters of West Godavari District. This need was fulfilled when late Sri Rao Saheb Damaraju Venkata Rao, the then chairman of the Municipal Council, Eluru, took the initiative in 1944. The Municipal Council under his stewardship enlisted the sympathy and support of the philanthropic citizens in and around Eluru and embarked on a collection drive and deposited Rs.2 lakh 17 thousand in the Municipal Treasury as an earmarked fund for the starting of the college.
The college was inaugurated on 4th July 1945 by Sir Cattamanchi Ramalinga Reddy, the distinguished educationist and the then Vice-Chancellor, Andhra University, and the college were named after him as "Sir C.R.Reddy Municipal College". It started functioning as a second-grade college, with Sri. Subrahmanyam as the Founder Principal.
A constitution was adopted for the Governing Body in the year 1947, according to which the word "Municipal" was dropped from the original name of the college. The name of the College was treated as an institution under Private Management by the Government from 1947.The College was raised to the status of First Grade with effect from July 1951 when the University granted affiliation for B.Sc Physics (Main) and B.Com Courses. The College was granted further affiliation in Degree Courses for B.A. (Mathematics) and B.A. which were started in July 1954.
The College opened the Pre-University course with effect from July 1957 and three Year Degree Course from June 1958. Subsequently, the two-years Intermediate course was started in the year 1969-70. Degree course under the New Scheme with one main and two ancillaries was introduced from the academic year 1971. With the help of the philanthropic benefactors, the infrastructure of the college was developed and the Management then felt it proper to start Post Graduate Courses in the College, which were started in the year 1971, followed by Evening College for the employees who wish to improve their qualification.
The Management sincerely felt that the opening of Law Course in the Evening College would help improve the qualification of many graduates. As a result, BL Course was started in evening college in 1976-77 and in Day College in 1980. The Management was of the view that some technical and professional courses should be started to provide better employment avenues for the students of this region. This dream came true when they started a Polytechnic in 1980.
The Management's desire to start a College of Education to train and mold the graduates into ideal teachers took shape in 1984 when B.Ed Course was started.
A Public School was started by the Management with the intention of providing better educational facilities to the children of this town.
The College has become a premier educational institution in Andhra Pradesh. It has grown to be a Mini-University. Considering the all-round development and the infrastructural facilities available in the college, the Management was encouraged to apply for the conferment of the Autonomous status and on May 11, 1987, the U G C accorded the status of autonomy to Sir C.R.Reddy College.