Boulder Church has a notable history dating back to Aug. 2, 1879, when the congregation was formed and became the first Adventist church in Colorado. But there is more to this history, and members take pride in the fact that Adventists in Boulder have made a distinct imprint on the city’s culture and its enthusiasm for healthful living. Museum of Boulder even includes a display of the Adventist involvement dating back to the late 1800s in the life and culture of the city.
Part of the exhibit showcases the various aspects of Adventist history, culture, social change, contribution to healthy living, and scientific discoveries. It also features Boulderians who made a difference—not only in Boulder, but for the betterment of society at large.
A photograph of the main Boulder-Colorado Sanitarium building is prominently displayed in the exhibit. This photograph, which was taken by a well-known period photographer named Joseph Bevier Sturtevant, shows the Upper Mapleton area sanitarium, a Boulder branch of the famous Battle Creek Sanitarium. It was opened in 1896, only 20 years after Boulder became part of the state of Colorado, and was the result of consultation with John Harvey Kellogg and Ellen G. White.
The Boulder-Colorado Sanitarium and Hospital was built at the foot of Mount Sanitas, which was named after the San, as the Sanitarium was nicknamed by locals in its early years. In 1990, the Boulder-Colorado Sanitarium and Hospital was moved to Louisville and renamed Avista Adventist Hospital.
The exhibit references Adventist lifestyle and a holistic approach to health, which made the San a famed institution. Adventists have been a good match for the natural, health-oriented culture of Boulder. Boulder is a well-known destination—both nationally and internationally—for those who care about a healthy lifestyle and respecting the environment.
One exhibit commentary refers to the sanitarium “as a retreat for tubercular patients … offering patients a nutritious diet of fruits, grains, and vegetables, while discouraging coffee, meat, and other such ‘poisons.’ Its location was selected for the presumed benefits of the mountain air. The facility was equal parts medical boarding house, hospital, religious retreat, country club and spa.”
For those interested in what was on the menu at this health institution, you can try spinach timbales or vegetarian roast, recipes showcased in the display. The Adventist institution and its established contribution to Boulder’s healthy lifestyle and vegetarian nutrition is placed alongside examples of healthy food products and organic food companies established in Boulder.
The Museum of Boulder (2205 Broadway) is a worthy place to visit and enjoy a glimpse of Adventist heritage.
Rajmund Dabrowsaki is communication director for the Rocky Mountain Conference.