Health Mecca of the West: The Archaeology of a Tuberculosis Sanatorium

Author(s): Karin Larkin; Michelle Slaughter

Year: 2017


Eighty years ago, Cragmor Sanatorium in Colorado Springs was a celebrated asylum for wealthy tuberculars and one of the premier facilities in the West. The history of the sanatorium is colorful and perhaps legendary. It includes housing movie stars, Mafioso and millionaires in the 1920s to 1930s and later Navajo patients in the 1950s. Once it became part of the University of Colorado system in 1965, much of the original history was subsumed under the growing campus. This project seeks to recover some of the ephemeral features of the sanatorium that could help us put the history in context and better understand the fanciful stories that surround the sanatorium through the material culture. As part of a survey and inventory of the cultural resources of UCCS funded by the Colorado State Historic Fund, we identified, recorded and tested several features and sites associated with the original functioning of the sanatorium. Although this project is in the beginning phases, we illuminate institutional practices and failures as well as suggest alternative healing strategies employed by physicians and patients.

Cite this Record

Health Mecca of the West: The Archaeology of a Tuberculosis Sanatorium. Karin Larkin, Michelle Slaughter. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 429638)

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Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 15868