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The Ghosts of Old Saint Francis

The older part of the building complex
The older part of the building complex
Julia Bauer

In the children's wing, a Xeroxed paper sign of Charlie Brown and Lucy announces " The doctor is IN" but, not anymore.

Officially closed since 2010 and not even a working hospital since the 1990s, the original hospital to the Springs sits abandoned and up for sale. Just off Institute and Pikes Peak near the School for the deaf and Blind, a grand piece of architechture spanning a hundred years of expansion from the brick and carved stone of 1887 to the pebbled stucco and glass of the 70's.

Rumours of the second floor hauntings do not help the case. Its rooms would be unsuitable for an apartment building, or any non medical business, and renovations would be far too costly.

Floors of sticky thick carpeting remind us of a time past when smoking was even allowed in hospitals. Chipped white and once sterile floors and walls rattle and echo as you walk through the halls. Choked with piles of abandoned medical equipment and beds as if for a bankruptcy audit.

But there are also still sounds of activity. The creaking of bedsprings where there are no beds, wheelchairs rolling in the halls, muffled conversations, and shadows flit behind the glass windowed doors in the dark.

A lifetime resident ( L.) of the Springs, remembers to me that she was born there. And also many doctors visits from checkups, to sore tonsils, to dog bites. She misses the place.

It was once a huge part of the community and brought in much income but later competition with it's new owner Penrose and the Memorial Hospital made it less feasable to keep around.

L. also remembers waiting alone in an exam room and a little girl playing 'peek' at the door with her and seeming to want her to follow. After her visit she asked if she could go play with the girl and the doctor told her No, she was their only child patient that day.

She thought about that many times over the years and claims it must have been a ghost of one of the TB patients from long ago because of the low waisted dress the girl wore, her funny loud shoes, like tap shoes, and her ringletted dark hair in a bow.

Many others have seen apparations of doctors from the waist down in doorways and hear conversations and wails of the sick that no longer reside in this world.

Perhaps one day it may open again as a clinic or medical school but, 'till then, only whispers are prescribed for the once beautiful piece of historical architecture.


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