An Exciting Plan is Underway for a Historic Colorado Property
In the late 1800s, tuberculosis was one of the leading killers in the country and across the world. Many people suffering from tuberculosis made their way to Colorado, where the high altitude and dry climate helped to make living with the infectious disease a bit easier.
Dozens of tuberculosis facilities opened in Colorado during the 19th and 20th centuries, and one of the sanatoriums here was even regarded as being the largest in the world at the time.
The Union Printers Home opened in Colorado Springs in 1892.
In that time period, a large number of union printers were suffering from black lung and tuberculosis caused by inhaling carbon-based inks. Former employees who worked as part of the International Typographical Union moved into the 200,000-square-foot complex to seek respite and care for these ailments. They were able to live at the UPH facility at no cost and were provided three meals a day. At one point, the UPH had hundreds of patients healing there so, in addition to the rooms, tents were set up around the grounds.
The sprawling and self-sustainable property also had its own post office, morgue, and dairy farm.
Upon the development of antibiotics, the Union Printers Home was able to accommodate people suffering from other types of illnesses besides just tuberculosis. In 2014, the institution began operating as a nursing home but according to Rocky Mountain PBS, the long-term care campus shut down in 2020 due to sub-par standards.
When the Union Printers Home permanently closed its doors, citizens were concerned that the historic 130-year-old building would be demolished.
Fortunately, a group of long-time local philanthropic and civic-minded investors, purchased Union Printers Home in 2021 with a vision to preserve the iconic campus and its historic buildings. A plan is currently in progress that will allow the structure to continue to serve as an important community resource. After a massive renovation takes place, the complex will include retail, residential, commercial, and office spaces. Bars, restaurants, and entertainment venues will help draw people to the iconic Colorado campus all year round.
Early on in the redevelopment project, crews uncovered vintage artifacts including maps, medals, telegrams, and old photographs of UPH and its residents back in the 1800 and 1900s. These items are being preserved, as are the existing buildings on the grounds.
The master plan is expected to take over 18 months.