On This Day …

Included within the many photograph albums of Colorado Springs resident Sara Cartwright Jackson Loomis, is this 1918 photograph of Sara’s children, Barbara and Phillip Loomis, wearing face masks during the Spanish flu pandemic.

The 1918 influenza pandemic, the deadliest in history, infected an estimated 500 million people world-wide. State and local governments across the country advised wearing face masks, ordered home quarantines, enforced social distancing, closed public buildings and prohibited gatherings, to battle the spread of the disease. On October 4, 1918, Colorado Springs city health officer Dr. George B. Gilmore, announced “the most drastic and all-embracing closing order ever issued in Colorado Springs.” The ban closed all public buildings—from schools to movie theaters.   Recommendations by local physicians, printed in the November 25 issue of the Gazette, included continuing the ban, and the use of face masks by individuals with cough or cold.

Photo courtesy of Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum

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