(“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.

 

13 Responses to Tuberculosis Huts Then & Now

  1. Dave Hughes says:

    A very little known connection between the Tuberculosis Huts of the Woodmen of America and Evergreen and Fairview Cemeteries can be seen in the many grave markers made of wood, concrete, and sometimes metal which look like short trunks of trees with the limbs cut off, the stubs showing. When many woodmen union members being cared for locally died anyway and were buried in Colorado Springs, the Woodmen of America provided the markers. I once asked a meeting of today’s Woodmen Insurance company patrons what the symbolism was.

    The rare and local grave markers in both cemeteries in the stubs of the cut off branches denote a ‘life cut short’ of the Woodmen union member who died in spite of the huts and care given them. Many were destitute when they died, without family, so the Woodmen of America always provided a marker for them. That was it.

    And that ‘insurance’ by union dues metamorphised into the Woodman general Insurance Company today.

    I have such a marker of the same style in front of my house. Except it is in cast iron with a horse bridle tie down ring that came out of the Bock Museum in Colorado City that was closed in the 1930s. Same Woodmen symbolism, different purpose.

  2. Nathaniel says:

    I saw those huts in Manitou Springs and was not aware that they were once TB Huts. Fascinating information as always.

  3. boomer49 says:

    …..would love to insulate one of those and modify it as a little hermatige in the mountains…great design!

  4. Marcia says:

    This was fascinating! Thanks for posting, I’ve never heard of TB Huts. The video was very interesting, and the pictures are great. These are very cute huts, wish I had one! Would make a great kids playhouse or even a guest bedroom. Nice to see that so many have survived. Thank you, great job! :)

  5. Donna Meyer Erickson says:

    My grandfather, Maximillion Meyer, was at one of the Woodman sites near Colorado Springs sometime before 1916. I have a 36 x 12 framed picture of a tent city. It really belongs in a museum. Who can help me? Interesting film!

  6. Martha Friend says:

    My grandfather, John S. Whisenant, was also a patient at the Sanitorium at the time of the film. I have a few pictures of him and the hut.

  7. Martha Friend says:

    I was mistaken. My grandfather was at the Woodmen site, which is now Mt. St. Francis. I originally thought he was at the Cragmor site, now the home of UCCS. He may also have been at the one at the site of St. Francis hospital on Pikes Peak.

  8. Tom says:

    I have one of these huts in my yard that needs to be restored. Anyone interested?

  9. Michele Cox says:

    Anyone know of one for sale now?

  10. Jeff Berndsen says:

    I also would like to find one to restore , any one know of one for sale in Colorado , thanks 719-963-8405

    • Noel Black says:

      Hi Jeff,

      There was a man selling a really beatup hut down at a junk yard just east of Wahsatch on Costilla a few years back.

      Noel

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