World War II
brought sweeping social changes to Glenwood Springs as tourism, its prime industry, declined. The Hotel Colorado, the Glenwood Hot Springs Pool, and the Vapor Cave saw marked declines in patronage during these years.
However with the war
came the need for soldier rehabilitation facilities. The United States Navy sought out places where hospitals could be established. These hospitals aimed to restore "war-damaged minds and bodies" in a place providing a healthful atmosphere. The U.S. Navy found such a place in Glenwood Springs with the Hotel Colorado and the pool facilities.
The facilities required considerable renovations
in preparation for the thousands of patients who would be coming for treatment. The renovated hotel's space contained two large wards with single hospital beds and an operating room. This new hospital facility could accommodate 660 patients, including 20 officers. Additionally, the bath house was converted to living quarters for 100 hospital corpsmen and the pool was converted to a hydrotherapy unit. The vapor cave became the physical therapy department.
The first patients arrived
at the Naval Convalescent Hospital on July 1, 1943. From that date to Dec. 31, 1945, 6,525 patients received treatment there. Some of them stayed to make
Glenwood Springs their new home.
We have specialized in human restoration. Yampah, newspaper of the United States Special Hospital, February 14, 1946
The United States Naval Convalescent Hospital was established in the Hotel Colorado to rehabilitate soldiers suffering the effects World War II.
Right: The 1944 hospital staff.