In 1889 the State of Colorado established a home for aging Civil War veterans and their wives at Monte Vista, Colorado. The home would care for “honorably discharged soldiers, sailors and marines who served in the Union Army between the twelfth day of April, 1861, and the ninth day of April, 1865, and those dependent upon them, who have been bona fide residents of this State for at least one year.” Eventually the home’s admittance policy was broadened to accept veterans of other wars as well as former Confederate soldiers, although in the years prior to WWI the vast majority of residents were Union Army veterans.
Annual reports of the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Home for the years 1891-92, 1897 to 1908, 1913-14, and 1919-20 have recently been digitized and made available online from the State Publications Library. These reports provide an excellent genealogical resource because they include a roster or “muster roll” listing every resident of the home, along with their age, rank, Company and Regiment. Admissions, re-admissions, and deaths are also listed, as are the names of those wives living at the home with their husbands. In addition, the reports also discuss the home’s finances, governance, cemetery, hospital, and library. A few of the reports even include photos of the buildings and grounds.
More than 130 years later, the veterans’ home at Monte Vista exists today as the Veterans Community Living Center at Homelake. “Homelake, which believes in honoring its residents with compassionate, dignified care, has been preserving memories and honoring veterans from every major war in U.S. history.”