Marketing The City of Sunshine - CSPM
Winning Health Comfortable living and Sunshine and Energy

Marketing The City of Sunshine

by Leah Davis Witherow, CSPM Curator of History

With no known cure for tuberculosis in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries – favorable climates alone seemed to alleviate symptoms of the disease. Within a few years of its founding in 1871, Colorado Springs gained a widespread reputation as a health resort for invalids. Promotional pamphlets declared the region “the World’s Greatest Sanatorium” and described the area’s unique climatic conditions and natural attractions.

However, Colorado Springs was in competition with communities across the country, including Dr. Edwin Livingston Trudeau’s famous Adirondack Cottage Sanatorium near Lake Saranac, New York. A consumptive himself, Dr. Trudeau popularized the sanatorium treatment for invalids. Trudeau prescribed healthy food, fresh air, plentiful rest and sunny climates in order to give tuberculars their greatest chance of recovery.

Colorado Springs’ boosters employed an array of physicians, educators, business-leaders and former patients to extoll the virtues of our region as a health resort. The earliest published description featured the area’s numerous economic benefits: a ten-mile-long irrigation canal, sixty buildings, roads, parks, rich soil and proximity to the Colorado mining districts. Additionally, the climate was described as “…mild as Italy, and the healthiest in the world. Asthmatics recover rapidly. Consumptives in the early stages generally get well. Ague and its kindred diseases are unknown.”

Marketing materials for the region have often carried the tagline, “Over 300 days of sunshine a year…” In the 1920s the Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce hired prolific local photographer Harry L. Standley to capture daily images throughout the winter months to prove that despite occasional wind, rain and snow, invalids and residents alike could enjoy the numerous natural and built amenities of the region year round. Boosters declared the cool refreshing breezes sweeping down the flanks of Pikes Peak to be 100% aseptic, the lack of humidity essential to healthy living, and the soil composition so pure that the streets of Colorado Springs were never dusty or muddy. Eventually, Colorado Springs earned a new moniker that was pure marketing genius – the City of Sunshine.
Booklet distributed by the Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce, 1916.
America’s Greatest Sanitarium - No Accession Number
Booklet compiled and published by V.Z. Reed and J.A. Sprague, ca. 1890-1900.

Hoping to attract potential students to the fledgling Colorado College, school President Edward Tenney published Colorado Springs and Manitou as a Health Resort in 1883. The pocket-size promotional brochure described who should and should NOT chase the cure in Colorado Springs:

  1. Persons in advanced stages of quick consumption, with lungs softened, ought not to go to Colorado. The rarity of the atmosphere will only hasten the crisis.
  2. People suffering from chronic consumption are likely to live longer and more comfortably by residing in Colorado.
  3. There is absolutely no need of dying of consumption if one will try the climatic prevention.

Marketing materials for the region have often carried the tagline, “Over 300 days of sunshine a year…” In the 1920s the Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce hired prolific local photographer Harry L. Standley to capture daily images throughout the winter months to prove that despite occasional wind, rain and snow, invalids and residents alike could enjoy the numerous natural and built amenities of the region year round.

Boosters declared the cool refreshing breezes sweeping down the flanks of Pikes Peak to be 100% aseptic, the lack of humidity essential to healthy living, and the soil composition so pure that the streets of Colorado Springs were never dusty or muddy. Eventually, Colorado Springs earned a new moniker that was pure marketing genius – the City of Sunshine.

History of Tuberculosis Treatment

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Leah Davis Witherow, Curator of History

719.385.5649 | Leah.Witherow@coloradosprings.gov