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Unearthing The Hidden Stories Inside A Former Colorado Springs Tuberculosis Treatment Facility

Castle front
Darin Zaruba
Front of Union Printers Home building in Colorado Springs

In the 1800s, tuberculosis was a leading cause of death in the United States and around the world. Known as the “white death” or “consumption,” the disease had no vaccine or antibiotic. But, one treatment that was thought to be effective was relocating to parts of the country with drier air, higher elevation and sunny skies — making Colorado the perfect location for TB patients.

The influx of TB patients didn’t just mean a higher population of people suffering from the disease — it also drew more doctors to the state. This led to the creation of multiple treatment facilities and resort spas. Colorado’s role as the “World’s Sanatorium” actually helped to put the state on the map.

Early postcard of Union Printers Home
Darin Zaruba
Early postcard of the gateway to the Union Printers Home in Colorado Springs.

One of those treatment facilities, the Union Printers Home in Colorado Springs, was once the world’s largest care facility for printers suffering from tuberculosis and “black lung.” The property, which first opened in 1892, was recently sold to an investment group, All Pro Capital, and five local families. But when renovation to turn the facility into a community-centered hub began, fascinating historical documents were quickly unearthed.

Colorado Edition spoke with businessman, consultant and ad-hoc documentarian Darin Zaruba to discuss the Union Printers Home and the stories found inside.

As a radio producer, I help make the Colorado Edition program come to life. I help to schedule guests, produce interviews, edit audio, and write for our weekly newsletter.
As host of KUNC's Colorado Edition, I work closely with our producers and reporters to bring context and diverse perspectives to the important issues of the day. And because life is best when it's a balance of work and play, I love finding stories that highlight culture, music, the outdoors, and anything that makes Colorado such a great place to live.