A year of celebration honoring "A Century of Sanctuary" came to a close with a final tribute to Myron Stratton Home's 100-year history of helping the young and the old. The contribution was celebrated at a Nov. 6 luncheon at Cheyenne Mountain Resort with residents, former residents, community supporters and second-grade students from Stratton Elementary School.
The students, led by Principal Julie Anne Edner and the staff, had learned through music, art and reading why their school was named Stratton. They shared their story and music with the guests and presented the home with art they had created.
The school is named Winfield Scott Stratton Elementary School for the mining millionaire son of Myron Stratton, an Indiana carpenter and shipbuilder who taught his son about hard work and about caring for those who had less than he did. Winfield Scott Stratton came west in the 1860s, and, in 1891 made one of the richest gold and silver finds in Colorado history, the Independence Mine on the south slope of Pikes Peak. He also was a businessman who helped build Colorado Springs.
Winfield Scott Stratton died in 1902 and left his wealth to what would become a home for the indigent. His will set out that the home, never to be called an institution, be named for his father. Myron Stratton Home opened in 1913 and continues today as "a free home for poor persons who are without means of support and who are physically unable by reason of old age, youth, sickness or other infirmity to earn a livelihood."
At least 7,000 people have called it their home, including photographer Don Jones, who has officially chronicled the anniversary and was the photographer for the luncheon. Like so many, he came to the home as a child. Some were orphans, others had parents unable to care for them. "Myron Stratton Home is a huge component to what I became," he said. Another who lived at the home as a child was Price Strobridge, Colorado Springs' poet laureate.
Stratton used his endowment of what in today's dollars would be a half-billion dollars to make miracles.
However, those miracles didn't exactly come true for any of the 37 women who stepped forward at the reading of Stratton's will to say they were his wife, said the home's board president, Bob Baker, chuckling.
As stipulated in his will, Stratton's endowment is controlled by trustees. Mark Turk has been executive director of the home since 1988 and helped guide Stratton's legacy through the addition of a consortium of human service nonprofits on the home's beautiful wooded acreage on South Highway 115.