(“Transferring the Deed” by A. Newman, 1909. Courtesy of Special Collections, Pikes Peak Library District. Image Number: 001-4090.)

From 1909 to 1947, a hive of octagonal, green-and-white huts just big enough for one person dotted the grounds of Modern Woodmen of America’s Sanatorium tucked away against the foothills in Woodmen Valley (see YouTube Video of the 1933 promotional film below). The site now belongs to the Sisters of St. Francis who operate a retreat, a hospital and a beautiful modern Catholic church, and only one of the huts remains on site as a tiny museum/monument to the history. The rest of the huts found their ways into the backyards and lots of various homes and businesses in Colorado Springs and Manitou (see the slide show below). They’re fantastic and sturdy little architectural reminders of what was once a huge part of Colorado Springs’ identity and economy. For more on the various Tuberculosis sanitoriums, there’s a good article by R. Scott Rappold HERE.

Thanks again to the Pikes Peak Library District for making so many of these great historical videos available to the public. Thanks also to all the folks on Facebook who helped us locate some of these hidden gems! If anyone knows of others or more history, we’d love to know where they are or see pictures, particularly of the insides. Please leave comments or email us at thebigsomething@krcc.org.


14 Responses to Tuberculosis Huts Then and Now

  1. Noel Black says:

    Yes, the “Then and Noel” in the title of the email is a typing-too-fast typo I thought I corrected. Sorry.

  2. Eric Swab says:

    Great find! Thanks for sharing.

  3. Marianne Snygg says:

    Very interesting historical video. Thanks so much for sharing it.

  4. Rolfy1 says:

    So this “Modern Woodmen” is an Insurance Company? That is how we get the name Woodman Rd?

  5. Rachel says:

    Very enjoyable video and slide show.

  6. Louise C says:

    There are two more backyard huts in my neighborhood (Middle Shooks Run, one near Willamette and Royer, the other near Cache La Poudre and Prospect,

  7. Matt H says:

    To Rolfy1, Yes that is why it is called Woodman road. The Modern Woodmen of America somehow morphed from a labor union that was considerd “modern” in 1909 to whatever it is now. It might be an insurance company. Some questions don’t have answers. Union Blvd is named for the Union Printers Guild who built that fantastic building at Union and Pikes Peak called the Union Printer’s Home. Similar in concept to the MWoA in that they both got a road named after them.

  8. tOkKa says:

    –>> Hm – healthcare in many forms and fashion still continue on the campus to this day.

    The entire campus has changed greatly, yet remained relatively the same in many regards.

    The “receiving building” is now the Nursing care facility for the elder sisters. The heavy development around the area over the coarse of the last part of the 20th century – today is a different matter.

    The restored “Hut” in some form or fashion has been a representation of the ‘Modern Woodmen of America’s Sanatorium’ era of the campus since i was small. Tho’ i believe the one pictured is the same one from when i was a kid – i do believe they have moved it to a newer location. So i don’t think it’s in the same spot as it once was. I’ll have to check on that. I could be wrong,

    The “Utility Building” i believe is held for various group events, conferences or what have you.

    I’ve been going to the Mt. Saint Francis facility off and on in various capacities and for different reasons since i was a child.

    Many may be able to provide much more detailed and informative accounts than me, but i’ll try my best. um –

    ..my family has served on staff at certain points during their nursing career.

    While still a heavily Catholic based facility – i have to admit the Campus diverse outlets has had various roles of servitude.

    Particularly the “Franciscan Family Wellness” programs and “Franciscan Community Counseling”.

    The main FCC building on the campus i believe at one time served as classrooms for the sisters decades ago. That is the building pictured at 5:30 on the you tube video.

    Again while a Catholic based charity, they have always served the mental health care and family counseling services regardless of denomination. Also i believe cost factor is taken into account for services for low income individuals needing help. Funding comes thru’ in support from local Church groups and philanthropy for charity organizations, Sisters of St. Francis of Colorado Springs themselves, and Pikes Peak United Way, the It’s been this way for over 20 years now.

    When crisis heightened in the early 1990s, the FCC was brought heavily into my family’s lives and after several failings in counseling thru’ various “OTHER” mental health institutions within’ the city – i was placed with Sister Carole Jarecki ( OSF ).

    In time, Carole would serve not only as counselor & psychotherapist .. – in time she would become an advocate for various means throughout the city,during many times when i was hospitalized,a family interventionalist,pacifier during crisis, and even served on my advocacy in various struggles i had within the school systems here in the South of Denver and District – 11. She even went so far as to provide me with paying work among her, the campus , food bank and the sisters. Also she filled a role as a surrogate family member,mentor and friend.

    Carole was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis since she was still a teenager ( and while still studying on the campus at the Mount at that ) in the late 1950s and her career took her all over Colorado and the Western States – but primarily in the Colorado Springs area. Practically her entire life she served with the crippling illness and the entirety that i had known her. The challenges this presenter her physically every day was astounding yet she persevered and continued to serve in her duties to fulfill in her profession to the Sisters of St.Francis. The disease ended her counseling career in ’96. I was transferred to a different counselor ( whom i still see to this day ). Tho’ retired from the FCC – Carole refused to stop helping the community and continued to provide direction in the Food Drives, Marriage Counseling , and mentoring remaining very active despite the disease that would claim her. I last saw her in 2005, just before i would finally graduate. I talked to her in 2006 over the phone when my mom was still working at the Nursing Facility on the campus.

    She passed away in February of 2008. I believe she resides on the Sister’s Cemetery at the now main entrance of the Assisi Heights as you are going up Woodmen Road.

    While my career has been shaky at best, Carole had always ardently loved and supported my work in the arts and my fascination with the independent comics movement, animation, design, Mirage Studios and the TMNT. My seemingly hopeless & long term goals to see work of any capacity within the realm of TMNT and the arts seemed so very fleeting. Yet she still maintained i could do it. While i never fully believed it myself, she did. I perused my chaotic education despite the adversity stacked against me with her continued underpinning. She believed in me.

    She would not see the day however i would attain that goal as she died early the same year i was published in “TALES OF THE TMNT” in 2008.

    In part that work was dedicated to her.

    I believe in part, that gap was filled when she left with the friendships i have created and maintained with the alumni of Mirage Studios and Heavy Metal Magazine.

    Thanks for you time.

    ~ t

  9. tOkKa says:

    –>> The one tattered – back yard hut pictured, as you are going down the alley onto the Nevada bridge area is always a curiosity. And a bit sad it seems to just be rotting into disrepair. But it could simply be the owner is unable to maintain it.

    ~ t

  10. tOkKa says:

    –>> At 5:47 of the video.. that deffly is the old building/auditorium FCC is located in the former old school building for the sisters. The auditorium has the huge,old pipe organ .. at the time it was rented out or something by some organization. This organ player would come in and play these old Catholic hymnals .. and the sound would bellow and drone, at certain points on a warmer day if the windows were open in a therapy session – – one could still hear the player pounding on the organ during the appointment cuz it is veritably next door. A portion of the FCC is in the basement of that building. Early on when i’d help with the Food drives ; we congregated in the basement and sorted,packed and set up deliveries down there.

    At 5:53 or so of the video – – “Superintendent and Mrs.Swanger ( sp ) ..” – – the house in the background .. that’s one of the houses as your going up higher in the hills on the Mount. I believe this is the same house Sister Carole resided in. I’ve been to that house as well as a few of the other residence houses over the years.

    The Holsteins have been replaced with another four-legged mammal ; cervines & there is
    is’nt any corn lest it be in some organic garden at some residence.

    Hmm – i also had no idea that TB patients were such avid Rock Scramblers.. .. and i am remembering the old ‘Hidden Inn’ at the G.O.G. , they took that old place down when i was still working there.

    I believe the Pioneers Museum has a representation of some sort of a T.B. Hut .. and if memory serves correct – – they also obtained the toilet or something from the Hidden Inn after they closed it for reclamation in the late ’90s.

    Colorado Springs is weird.

    ~ t

  11. tOkKa says:

    –>> ..yeh yeh .. right there at 9:02 on video .. there is the old Hidden Inn on the left of that rock formation where the little Model – T pulled up to ( whatever the hell that car is called ).

    As you know that’s all been reclaimed for the natural balance and ascetic of the park. It was rather controversial to get rid of it, but i do feel the reclamation for the park and longevity of the natural habitat, wildlife and was an important step taken in the 1990s. Cuz as you know .. you can no longer drive right on through there like in the oldy timey days.

    In the long run, i believe this was the right thing to do. The Park has stood the test of time, and over the coarse of the past 100 + years we have changed it drastically. Reclamation is a good first step in helping to save Colorado Spring’s natural heritage. something that was here LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOONg before any of us were. Like millions of years before we were here.

    ~ t

  12. Cathy Reilly says:

    FASCINATING! Thanks so much and also thanks to tOkka for his comments! There also two huts in Palmer Lake, just north of town on the right side (as one heads north on 105), just before the intersection with Douglas County 105… My father was a doctor and I took him to see the exhibit at the Pioneer’s Museum in the mid 90’s and he loved it-he was from a generation when TB was a real threat and had lost an uncle to it. Noel, KEEP UP THE GREAT WORK!

  13. Mike Procell says:

    Tuberculosis huts! What’s next, H1N1 yerts? I love this stuff, Noel – here’s to your “health and future usefulness”…

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