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Cragmor Sanitorium Patients


Cragmor Sanitorium Patients

From 1913 until the Depression many prominent people came to Cragmor for 'the cure' and became permanent residents of Colorado Springs. The community of Colorado Springs was permanently changed by the commitment to the city many of the Cragmor patients felt. Community planning, economic development, and cultural activities were effected by these individuals who decided to live in Colorado Springs upon knowing they had recovered from tuberculosis.

Famous individuals came to Cragmor for the best in medical care and the therapeutic environment. Publisher Joseph Pulitzer's daughter, Constance recovered her health at Cragmor. Upon her father's death she gained half of a 1.5 million dollar trust. She promptly invested her fortune in several Colorado Springs businesses. Constance married and resided in the historic Wood Avenue area of the city. Noted artists, musicians, actors, and writers were successfully treated and remained in Colorado Springs. The lively cultural scene was improved by the presence of painter Russell Cheney and author H. Phelps Putnam. Both individuals regained their health at Cragmor Sanitorium and continued to live in Colorado Springs where they could lead and support the burgeoning art life. The opera, symphony, and the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center received significant benefits both aesthetic and financial from Cragmor patients turned residents.

The city developed a remarkable cluster of clinics, hospitals and doctors due to the many physicians who came to Cragmor Sanitorium with tuberculosis and continued to practice medicine in the community. The physicians who benefitted from the Cragmor 'cure' included Drs. Crouch, Hartwell, Rider, Mullett and Gardner. Each of these physicians opened practices in the city and mentored the next generation of physicians to provide health care for the local citizens.

Perhaps one of the most remarkable Cragmor patients who impacted the city was Chase Stone. Chase Stone spent 10 years at Cragmor and became an important community leader. Stone eventually lead the First National Bank, served on the boards of the El Pomar Foundation, the Broadmoor Hotel, Colorado College, and was president of the Boy Scouts International and the Boys Club. There is no doubt that Stone's most powerful and long lasting contribution to Colorado Springs was his 1941 visit to Washington D.C. Stone's lobbying of Congress resulted in the city being chosen as the location for a U.S. Army base named Camp Carson (now Fort Carson).

In the last decade of Cragmor as a sanitorium, George Dwire transformed the institution into a rehabilitative facility for Navajo Indians. The newly formed United States Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (HEW) awarded a contract in 1952 . This contract enabled Cragmor to provide for the Navajos' tubercular needs and vocational training. Once again Cragmor became the focus of national interest as scholars and collectors of Indian Arts came to Cragmor to purchase the arts and crafts of the resident Navajo's. Between 1952 and 1961 several dozen Navajo were successfully treated for tuberculosis and returned to their home with literacy and job skills. December 28, 1961 eighteen Navajo, the last of Cragmor Sanitorium's patients, were returned to Window Rock, Arizona. Cragmor Sanitorium was without patients and funds. Tuberculosis was no longer a major health threat to Americans. On June 15, 1964, after several conversations between Dwire and Governor John Love, the Governor authorized the University of Colorado to acquire the Cragmor property for educational purposes. Immediately the University transferred funds to begin the conversion of Cragmor Sanitorium into the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs.

The palatial dreams of Solly, MacLaren, and Forster hover in the ivy covered walls of Main Hall and Cragmor Hall (Cragmor Manor). The academic community and local citizens rediscover their city's history in Cragmor as new life enters these two buildings. Main Hall and Cragmor testify to the visionaries and founders of this city. These buildings will inspire future generations of dreamers to lift their eyes to the highest elevation and to treasure the legacy embedded in each structure. Main Hall and Cragmor Hall are fingerprints upon the soul of a community. Each is unique.