Friday, February 16, 2007

Backroads: The Sanatorium

Don't ask me how I missed out on the fact that there is an enormous, abandoned tuberculosis sanatorium an hour from my house. Sitting on a ridge in the middle of piney woods, looking down on a little backwater town.

The Composer had to go there today on business and I could not pass up the opportunity to poke around in this evocative ruin.

The grounds were completely self-contained, because no one in town wanted to go up there with the sick people. It had its own water supply, fire station, chapel (burying grounds? I don't know), and below the hospital, rows and rows of tiny white cottages with screened porches among the pines. The fragrance of pines was thought to combat the disease.

The last patient left in 1973, but there are still paper towels on the side of the sink.


Every floor had special rooms for doctors and nurses.


Felix and I in the third floor foyer. The main hospital is Arts and Crafts style. Look at all that geometry: beauty for sick people.



But of course with no power we took the stairs.


Endless rows of doors. Every room held a human being: so many stories.


The x-ray light boxes were the most poignant things I saw.


A patient's tiny room:


A bathroom:


A glimpse of beauty:

19 comments:

clarice said...

Wow what an amazing bulding. Soo cool. Clarice

Susan said...

Amazing! It's almost like they just all walked out one day and left everything behind. Kind of haunting, but very interesting.

Baleboosteh said...

How impossibly romantic! I can't believe it is just standing there and that it hasn't been stripped of its fittings and vandalised by local hooligans. Maybe there are no local hooligans! In England I'm afraid it would have been dismemberd and built on long ago - or converted to luxury apartments. I want to buy it and live in it myself!

Alisa said...

that is amazing! I read your blog daily-you have a wonderful blog. It is so peaceful to read. I love your photographs. That building is haunting yet beautiful.

Brenda@CoffeeTeaBooks said...

My mother's first husband passed away in such a place (of TB), leaving her with seven children and no income. I just can't imagine what it was like for people in those places.

However, as a lover of architecture, the building is amazing.

Jodi said...

Fascinating - architecturally and sociologically. What a find!

Cheryl said...

I went to a school that was in an old TB hospital. It was very interesting as parts weren't able to be used for classrooms and were supposed to be offlimits but many of us wandered around the "forbidden" areas! That building is mostly gone and redone now, but back in the late 70's to early 80's it was wonderful also.

michelle said...

Wow, what an adventure. :)

Heather said...

Fascinating place. If the walls could speak...

Thank you for sharing your adventure with us.

Gena said...

That is just incredible. If there were a building like that here, I fear that it would be vandalized, as well. I, too, read your blog each day. It is just beautiful to look at (and read, of course). I did have a question for you - I have homeschooled for 14 years and am a little burned out. Would you mind sharing what you are currently using? I am still homeschooling my last 2 children - 7th grade and 2nd grade (12 & 8). Thanks so much!

Anonymous said...

I'm fascinated by the history of TB especially having read Charlotte Yonge's "Pillars of the House" recently.
Open air was also supposed to be good for consumption. My Great-grandfather died of TB in 1912 on his 33rd birthday. He wasn't taken into a sanitorium but sent home to the family farm for the open air and farm food. My Father still has his copies of CH Spurgeon's "Treasury of David" -the favourite volume faded by the sunlight -which he read in the garden during his illness.
Sarah

Carrie-Lee said...

My grandmother worked at a sanatorium when she was in her mid 20's. That was in the province of Saskatchewan, in Canada though. So it was neat to see inside another one. It is amazing how something as simple as the paper towels on the sink leaves a haunting feeling like the building is still being used.

Laura said...

Very interesting photographs -- reminds me of www.abandoned-places.com. It must've been fun to explore with your boys.

Heather said...

Wouldn't it be lovely to reclaim this building for some good purpose? I can't think what it would be suited to, exactly, but the Bible College I attended was once a retirement home for aging Monks. The rooms were sparsely furnished to become dorm rooms for the students, and the Chapel was well used. The prayer rooms were used for individual music practice rooms and the activity rooms became classes, offices and the on campus bookstore.
Any prospects for redeeming this lovely old building?

Margaret in VA said...

How moving these pictures are! You are right, so many stories...
Thank you for your blog, love it! love it!

Mrs. Pivec said...

To me this is sad... and just a wee bit creepy. :) But compelling at the same time!

The Composer said...

The building pictured here was the main hospital building. Half of the first floor is currently in use as administrative offices for a state residential facility for the mentally handicapped that occupies several buildings of the sanitorium complex. The remaining four floors and basement have apparently been vacant since 1973.

While the first floor occupancy seems to help prevent vandalism, the natural elements of moisture, heat and cold have taken their toll, as you can see.

Anonymous said...

There was a TB sanitarium on the hill overlooking the canal near the town I grew up in and it too was in ruins. As kids we wandered through it and there were still iron beds with the names of patients taped to them.

I love your blog...your photography is gorgeous, your sewing projects inspired and your life so seemingly peaceful....a breath of fresh air!

Rebecca in IL

Nancy Baetz said...

Hi!
I just stumbled across your blog. What a lovely collection of photographs!! I also loved this old building. I grew up in a hospital-turned-house which was quite fun. Not as big as this one, but still unique. It is now a municipal court building. I would have liked it to still be in the family. Sigh.
Have a blessed week!
Nancy

Related Posts with Thumbnails