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How Woodmen Road got its name

One might imagine that the origin of the name, “Woodmen Road,” involved burly lumberjacks hauling rough-hewn timbers on a dirt road from the mills in Black Forest to Colorado Springs, the beginning site of a brand, new city.It sounds reasonable, but it’s not true.According to the Web site, Woodmen Road was named for the tuberculosis sanatorium built in 1907 by the Modern Woodmen of America, a fraternal financial organization that still sells insurance today. The Modern Woodmen Tuberculosis Sanatorium was located on Woodmen Road, west of what is now Interstate 25.In its heyday, the sanatorium, which cost $1.5 million to build, had 155 employees and room for 245 patients.From 1909 to 1947, the sanatorium provided treatment, medicine, dental work, lodging, and food and laundry services at no expense to more than 12,000 Modern Woodmen members.”The sanatorium achieved a remarkable 70 percent recovery rate with rest, wholesome food, pure air, exercise and the right mental attitude – the treatment of that time,” per the Web site.When the sanatorium opened, tuberculosis was the leading cause of death among Modern Woodmen members. The sanatorium remained open until tuberculosis ranked eighth as the cause of death.Joseph Cullen Root is listed on the Web site as the founder of the organization. He established it in Lyons, Iowa, in 1883 as a fraternal benefit society to protect families and their financial futures following the death of a breadwinner.Cullen took the name “Woodmen” from a parable told by Rev. Sydney Crawford in a Sunday sermon. The parable described the good that comes from woodmen clearing away forests to build homes, communities and provide security for their families.Cullen added “Modern” to the organization’s name to indicate his fraternal society would keep up with the times, and he added “of America” to signify the society’s patriotism.Today, the sanatorium is gone, its individual cottages replaced by privately owned houses. But Woodmen Road has grown eastward and will soon become an expressway that ends in Falcon.

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