These Pieces of Medical History Have Been Preserved in Colorado
In the late 1800s, tuberculosis was one of the leading killers in the country. Many people suffering from the severe illness made their way to Colorado, where the high altitude and dry climate helped to make living with the infectious disease a bit easier.
Tons of tuberculosis facilities opened in Colorado during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and one of the sanatoriums in the Centennial State was even regarded as being the largest in the world at the time. At the height of tuberculosis treatment efforts, private huts and tents also began popping up in cities throughout Colorado. Gardiner Sanitary Tents were made of wood or canvas and had an opening at the top and several more around the base to let in the fresh air. Each hut or tent was steam-heated and included a bed, closet, chairs, washstand, and electric lights. The purpose of the tents was to keep TB patients isolated while they were recovering and also to prevent the spreading of the disease.
In the 1940s, antibiotics were finally developed which provided a cure for tuberculosis. As a result, the sanatoriums around Colorado permanently closed their doors.
However, many of the tuberculosis huts were sold off rather than demolished, which is why some can still be seen standing today.
Colorado's remaining TB huts are easily recognized by their small octagonal shapes, pointy shingled roofs, and small windows.
Some of the historic huts serve as landmarks and exhibits, while others have been put to public use.
In Manitou Springs, one local business took advantage of the former medical buildings. The Totally Nuts Company is housed in two former tuberculosis huts, conveniently located in the heart of town.
In other locations, like Colorado Springs, old TB huts have been converted into bus stops and one was even turned into a quaint café.
Many residents across the region also use these sturdy structures as storage sheds.