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Hi, I'm Tamera, a professional wedding, portrait and boudoir photographer in Colorado Springs. But this blog isn't about my professional work; no, it's a daily love note to my beautiful city, where I've lived for most of my life. I love it here and I hope you enjoy seeing Colorado Springs through my eyes and lens!

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06 January 2017

Old Saint Francis Hospital

Saint Francis Hospital was closed in 2010 or so. It died a slow death, as its services were gradually taken over by a new hospital on the northeast side. One by one all the offices were relocated until the building stood empty. Other than the small clinic attached to a railway station that preceded it, Saint Francis was our city's first real hospital, originally built in 1887, then (apparently) torn down and rebuilt a couple of decades or so later. I don't have an actual date on that, and I'm not sure why the original structure was replaced, but I'll assume it was because it was too small for a growing city. In 1965 and 1973 a couple of major renovations replaced and "improved" two thirds of the hospital with a large modern wing, but a third of the old structure was left intact. That's what you see in the photos above and below. You can also see the modern wing butted right up to it. Visually it makes no sense. Whoever the architect was for the new structure, he was more concerned with function than form. It's terribly incongruous and, sorry to say, ugly. Why do architects do that? It's a pet peeve of mine. Surely there was a way to modernize the hospital while at the same time designing a new wing that harmonized with the old structure, rather then clashing with it.

At any rate, the old wing and the new one have been empty and abandoned for almost seven years now. It's a little depressing and a lot creepy (especially given that the old part of the hospital is reportedly haunted -- do you believe in ghosts?). Maybe it's because I live nearby, but it really bums me out that it's been empty for so long. I wish some developer or other would pick this property up and turn it around again. Look at that gorgeous Jacobean architecture! As far as I'm concerned, the 1960s/1970s wing can go, but the old structure surely deserves better than to just sit there, empty and unloved.
Here it is from the other side.
St. Francis Hospital in 1925, from the same angle (source: PPLD). It was huge! The middle section and left wing of the structure were torn down for the 1960s/1970s modernization, but the wing on the right was spared and is still standing today.
St. Francis in 1889 (source: PPLD). I don't know why it was replaced, but if you compare it to the photo directly above this one, you can see that they are definitely not the same building. Unfortunately I can't find any history on it. I'm sure the Pioneers Museum can tell me. I'll try and get some info and update this post when that happens.


Anonymous said...

Kind of reminds me of your post on the Lutheran Church on Cascade which has a non traditional nave, but also has on its grounds an elaborate old mansion.

William Kendall said...

What a difference. Hopefully some good use is made of at least the older wing.

Miss G said...

i love the spires on the oldest building!