High on Union Hill in the City of Colorado Springs stands one of the most beautiful buildings in the country, known as the “Castle on the Hill.” Erected in 1892, by members of the International Typographical Union, The Union Printers Home has served as a haven for more than 25,000 sick and indigent printers for the past 100 years.
The Home led in the development of extended nursing care services and was a pioneer in the treatment of tuberculosis to develop services for the aged as well as the afflicted. The Home gave the members of the International Typographical Union a new start on life. The Home provided complete medical services, surgery, therapy, speech, dental, and optical needs to its patients.
The average age of printers in the early 19th Century was 28 years. This was caused by filthy working conditions and long working hours, often 11 hours per day, seven days a week.
The National Typographical Union was formed in 1852. In 1869 Canadian printers joined to form the International Typographical Union. In 1886 two Philadelphia philanthropists, George W. Childs and Anthony J. Drexel, each donated $5,000 as seed money to build the Home on 80 acres of land, donated by the Colorado Springs Board of Trade. Construction was begun in June 1891 and completed on May 12, 1892, at a cost of $71,144.14.
The Home developed a dairy farm, 200 acres of wheat, raised chickens, pigs, gardens and other services as necessary to provide for the needs of the patients.
In 1908 the Home constructed the Library addition, which has the capacity to contain 8,000 copies, as well as a 300-seat Auditorium.
The leadership in many fields of labor and social changes has been continued by the Union Printers Home.
In 1987 the International Typographical Union merged with the Communications Workers of America, thus enabling the Union Printers Home to continue its leadership and tradition that has existed during the last 100 years. Today, the Home has opened its doors to the General Public to extend its expertise as “care givers” to others who may benefit from the services provided by this great facility.