Plans for building a Christian Science sanatorium in the Denver area began in 1946 with a small group of Christian Science nurses and practitioners. This group started its planning with prayer. Gradually a concept emerged and a way opened for the purchase of property at 8900 West 38th Avenue. Even though some of the group wished to begin operations as soon as possible, it was decided to pay off the property debt first. The $22,000 debt was retired and remodeling of an existing farmhouse on the property began. Thus, an old farmhouse was transformed into a nursing facility with accommodations for five Christian Scientists.
While the group waited for their funds to grow through additional contributions, they learned that a large bequest had been left to Mountain States Home, (incorporated in August 1946 and the original name of Wide Horizon, Inc.), which would enable them to build a new building with 30 rooms. More patience and prayer opened the way to buy additional land immediately to the west of the original property for $17,000. The building committee then decided to locate the new Christian Science nursing facility on the hill and centered on 23 rolling, partly wooded acres. They knew the city would grow, and they wanted to make sure that roads and traffic noise were kept at a distance. This location also insured that nothing would ever obstruct the magnificent mountain views.
In the Christian Science Hymnal, hymn 218 tells of “The wide horizon’s grander view….” The facility came to be named “Wide Horizon” in reference both to the spectacular vista views it offers of foothills and mountains and to the vision of Life it was intended to foster.
The original building was completed in 1950 and the first patients accepted in January 1951. Over the years, improvements were made to meet changing needs. A small “Nurses’ Cottage” was built to the north of the main building in 1954 to provide housing for Christian Science nurses. A large living room with floor-to-ceiling windows was added on the west side of the original building in 1965, which presented an even wider horizon to guests.
In 1972, a major construction program resulted in the addition of several new features: a more gracious main entrance; a larger dining room with moveable partitions; a modern kitchen with new equipment; a centralized Christian Science nurses’ station, and additional guest rooms which brought the total number of rooms to 30.
Over time, fewer Christian Science nurses used the Nurses’ Cottage. In 1987 it was remodeled into three independent-living units and renamed “Horizon House.” Each of the three 2-room suites shared a common kitchen and living-dining room. This arrangement never resulted in full occupancy, although Horizon House was continually occupied over the years by one or two guests.
As Wide Horizon and the community around it grew, there arose a need to care for more Christian Scientists who required only a small amount of help each day. It was decided to build a new building for patients requiring skilled Christian Science nursing and to retain the original building for the more independent guests. The new building, known then as “Wide Horizon North,” was completed in February 1990. It had 20 rooms for patients. The rooms were more spacious and had wider doorways than the original building, making it easier for patients and staff to move around. Like the original building, referred to as “Wide Horizon South,” it had its own living room and dining room.
Wide Horizon operated the North and South buildings at close to capacity for a number of years. During the latter 1990’s fewer Christian Scientists sought the services of Wide Horizon and fewer Christian Science nurses were available to serve. In November 2000, it became possible to consolidate all guests into the more modern North Building. It was modified to accommodate 24 people. The South Building continued to house temporary Christian Science nursing staff and the Christian Science nurses training facilities as well as a full-service commercial kitchen and the administrative offices.
In 1993, WH Foundation was incorporated under the laws of the State of Colorado to establish, manage and oversee endowment funds for the benefit of Wide Horizon. Gifts could thereafter be given either directly to Wide Horizon itself or to WH Foundation. In 2004, the WH Foundation was dissolved due to Wide Horizon being in a precarious financial situation (as a number of other sister organizations) and very close to closing.
During 1999-2000, Horizon House underwent another remodeling. It reopened in August 2000 with five cozy studio apartments. Guests and residents in Horizon House receive general supervision from the Christian Science nursing staff, meals, housekeeping and laundry service. In 2007, Horizon House was beautifully redecorated by a local Christian Scientist who was a professional interior decorator. Horizon House currently provides services for Rest and Study for Spiritual Renewal guests and Supervised Residential Living, as well as staff housing occasionally.
In 2011-2012, the “North Building” (now known as the Main Building) was extensively remodeled and expanded to accommodate several functions, including new commercial and auxiliary kitchens, a beauty salon, an activity room, a large dining room, a modern living room, new tub room, a reception area, and administrative offices.
Then in 2015-2016, Wide Horizon added three new “cottages” with six efficiency apartments for temporary housing of Christian Science nurses and a large maintenance building, before razing the original “South Building” on the hill. This continued unfoldment of progress was yet another sign of divine Love’s provision.
In 2017-2018, all the buildings on campus had new asphalt shingle roofs and rain gutters installed due to a catastrophic hailstorm on May 8, 2017. The main building and Horizon House also had new skylights installed and were newly painted. In addition, new concrete and a pergola were installed on the south patio of the main building.
Then in June 2018, after many years of prayer and related discussion about Wide Horizon’s status as a federally certified Medicare provider since 1974, and recognized as a Religious Nonmedical Health Care Institution since 1997, Wide Horizon took the spiritually progressive steps of “voluntary withdrawal” from the Medicare program. This significant decision occurred once alternative funding for Christian Science nursing services was established via the National Fund for Christian Science Nursing (https://nfcsn.org/).
In 2018-2019, through a very generous grant from a foundation, a new gazebo at inspiration point was added in addition to a new asphalt driveway and walking path. Other upgrades included: solar light poles, LED lighting throughout the campus, room sound speakers, audio system, and new mechanical nursing beds.
As you can see, Wide Horizon has demonstrated a grander view as a collective demonstration of Christian Scientists in Colorado and the Rocky Mountain region. Throughout its long history, Wide Horizon has responded, and continues to respond, to the needs of Christian Scientists in this large area of western states. Progressive changes have occurred as the needs of the community have changed, yet Wide Horizon’s core objective is to facilitate the Church Manual-based activity of the Christian Science Nurse and to maintain the high standard of Christian Science nursing for those we selflessly serve. This objective is ultimately for all mankind and will never change as long as Wide Horizon provides its services to the community!
D. Brian Boettiger