The Rise & Fall of the Boulder Sanitarium 1896 – 1950’s
Boulder has been a health-conscious haven since at least 1896, when Dr. John Harvey Kellogg, of cereal fame, established the Colorado Sanitarium at 4th and Mapleton. After being founded by Dr. Kellogg, the institution was a resort and health spa administered by the Seventh Day Adventist Church at the time. He promoted natural foods by combining nuts and grains to make corn flakes, granola, and peanut butter, among other items manufactured on the Colorado Sanitarium’s premises by the Colorado Sanitarium Food Company. Guests were progressively introduced to healthy eating habits by progressing from a “conservative” diet of meat, white bread, and caffeinated coffee and tea when they first came to a menu that featured meat but no coffee or tea. The final stage was a “radical” diet with no “food poisons” served at all.
The guests were invited to take use of the nearby hiking paths in the foothills. Among these trails was Mount Sanitas, so named because of the presence of “the San” at its base. They were also offered more daring therapies like as hydrotherapy and electric shock. In the 1950s, the sanitarium was replaced by Boulder Memorial Hospital, which has since closed, and the property is now being turned into a continuing care residential senior community.