Myron Stratton Home - CSPM

Myron Stratton Home

In an era before social safety nets such as Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and others, millions of working-class Americans were made destitute due to illness, injury, old age, or the death of a spouse. In Colorado Springs, a reclusive millionaire proposed a model solution. Before his death in 1902, Winfield Scott Stratton directed his multi-million-dollar estate be used to create the Myron Stratton Home, a place of comfort and care for needy children and elderly adults from El Paso and Teller Counties.

– From the CSPM Curator of History

Among a wealth of impressive philanthropic gifts in Colorado Springs’ history, the Myron Stratton Home ranks as one of the most unusual, as well as one of the longest-lived. The legacy of Winfield Scott Stratton (1848-1902), and named after his estranged father, the home nearly did not see the light of the world. Winfield Stratton was a carpenter-turned-multimillionaire, thanks to his discovery of gold in what became the Cripple Creek and Victor Mining District, but admittedly, he was burdened by the weight of his wealth.

After his premature death at 52, his will was contested by many—family, friends, the city, and the state. Even his mental competency was questioned. All this because it was his wish to apply the lion’s share of his fortune to fund “a free home for poor persons who are without means of support and who are physically unable by reason of old age, youth, sickness or other infirmity to earn a livelihood,“ rather than leaving his money to established private or public institutions, as was expected.

Naysayers predicted an influx of what they considered the least desirable subjects of society and the resulting reputation of Colorado Springs as “the poorhouse” of the nation. The legal hurdles took over a decade to clear, but the Myron Stratton Home finally opened its doors in the winter of 1913/14. Instead of living down to the low expectations of its opponents, the home became a beacon of hope for many, as well as a self-sustaining enterprise.

Mr. Stratton’s trustees invested in land south of town along South Nevada Avenue/Colorado Highway 115, land large enough to accommodate ranching, farming, a dairy, plus its own power plant. Each resident was expected to work according to her or his age and ability in order to contribute to the functioning of the home. The elderly resided in cottages, children lived in dormitories. They attended school on the premises, until the decision was made to enroll them in local public schools, and they were either taught a trade, or had their college education financed. As an outward expression of the home’s philosophy that emphasized a person’s dignity, residents had access to numerous pastime activities, including tennis, swimming, music, and books.

While the Myron Stratton Home has adapted to changing times and no longer cares for children, it continues to provide senior housing and services, according to Mr. Stratton’s original vision.

Generously Submitted by Tanja Britton, CSPM Volunteer Educator

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Additional Sources:

  • Book: Almost an Orphan: Living the Legacy of Winfield Scott Stratton by Doris “Dorie Lou” Dillie
  • Book: Bigwigs & Benefactors of the Pikes Peak by Heather Jordan, Tim Blevins, Dennis Daily, Sydne Dean, and Chris Nicholl (Editors)
  • Book: The King of Cripple Creek: The Life and Times of Winfield Scott Stratton, First Millionaire from the Cripple Creek Gold Strike by Marshall Sprague
  • Video: “The History of the Myron Stratton Home in Colorado Springs” by The Myron Stratton Home,
  • Video: “The Myron Stratton Home” by PPLD TV,