Arkansas Tuberculosis Sanatorium

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City/Town: Booneville
Location Class: SchoolResidentialChurchHospital
Year Built: 1863
Year Abandoned: 1973
Status: AbandonedEndangered
Photojournalist: Michael SchwarzEddy SissonJames KirkendallLuke Gramlich




cover_story1-13Located on the hill just a few miles outside of Booneville Arkansas stands the imposing campus that was once known as the Arkansas Tuberculosis Sanatorium. The entire campus is approximately 800 acres and was constructed in 1909 by Haralson & Mott, Erhart & Eichenbaum. The main hospital building was named after Senator Leo Nyberg who was a tuberculosis patient himself. At it’s peak the campus was at a larger population then the city of Booneville with over 1,000 patients and 300 staff members.

It has been discovered that Tuberculosis has been around for thousands of years from evidence of a mummified corpse dating back to approximately 2000 B.C.. One of the first Sanitariums to be built in the United States was the Adirondack Cottage Sanitarium. It was ordered to be built by doctor Edward Livingston Trudeau. Edward took care of his brother James who was infected with Tuberculosis and died within three months. Edward Trudeau had the idea to construct the Sanitarium where there was access to cold air to help treat Tuberculosis. The Adirondack Cottage Sanitarium (Little Red) was constructed in 1885 and was a one room facility. The Adirondack Cottage Sanitarium was added to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places in 1995.

ahc_1019_fThe National Tuberculosis Association’s mission was to set a network of Tuberculosis treatment facilities throughout the United States. Tuberclosis infection was specifically high in young people and those who lived in areas of poverty. Doctors and nurses were sent out to diagnose both the well and sick to determine Tuberculosis infection. Pneumothorax was performed under local anesthesia to collapse the lungs in order to treat tuberlosis patients. Rest, sunshine, and a milk and egg diet was also believed to be a remedy for the disease. Sanitoriums were constructed in locations to catch a breeze during all hours. Most notibly the Waverly Hills Sanitorium was constructed at an angle to catch the draft. The sanitorium still stands today and is under renovations.

In 1935 the city of Fort Smith donated land for the Wildcat Mountain Sanitorium to be constructed just a few miles outside of town. This was a sub branch to the Arkansas State Sanatorium. In 1937 the first patients arrived and soon the facility reached its full capacity. The Sanitorium was close on December 1st 1958 and is now demolished.

The city of Booneville donated more then 800 acres to construct the Arkansas Sanitorium which was 76 buildings. The price of patient admission was $10.00 a week. At the time it was its own city and was equipped with its own indpendent telephone system,  masonic lodge, chapel, water treatment plant, dairy farm, dormitory, and even a fire department. As more Tuberclosis  vaccines were invented the decline of patients caused the closure of The Arkansas Tuberculosis Sanatorium in 1973. Today the campus is owned by the state and the patients of Booneville Human Development are housed in some of the buildings. The Nyberg buildings first floor is completly renovated however the remaining four floors and basement are vacant. The Arkansas State Sanitorium was added to U.S. National Register of Historic Places on October 5, 2006.

See also the McRae Sanatorium/Alexander Human Development Center

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93 Comments
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Charles
Charles
1 month ago

My grandmother workered the switchboard the day Kennedy was shot. I believe she went by her maiden name at the time Owens. Possibly Maxwell.

Jennifer Hendrix
Jennifer Hendrix
1 month ago

My Aunt, Martha Maxine Henderson died here in 1961. She did not die of TB, she was 2 years old and died unattended in a bath tub of scalding water. My family and I are trying to find out what happened. If anyone has any information or could help send us in the right direction we would really appreciate it.

PHyllis
PHyllis
3 months ago

My grandfather and granny both were there. His name was Tom McCourt, hers was Anna. I don’t know dates, I wish there was a way to search records.

Brian Lassley
Brian Lassley
Reply to  PHyllis
1 month ago

Are there no records for former patients? What happened to them?

Ze Griffin
Ze Griffin
Reply to  Brian Lassley
1 month ago

The record were probably destroyed or moved else where

Hubert Dunlap
Hubert Dunlap
Reply to  PHyllis
9 hours ago

My grandfather was there in the mid to late 50’s. I’m not sure if he was a patient or worked there. I’m trying to find out more information. If you find a way to search records, please let me know.

Brenda Summers
Brenda Summers
5 months ago

Can you tell me about a patient Clarence Morgan Copeland please? I am an old relative. Thank you! God Bless!

Ze Griffin
Ze Griffin
Reply to  Brenda Summers
1 month ago

I couldn’t find anything on the archives of her

trackback
6 months ago

[…] Arkansas Tuberculosis Sanatorium, at abandonedar.com/tuberculosis-sanatorium. The advent of the coronavirus pandemic adds extra resonance to the digital exploration of this […]

Wanda Jones
Wanda Jones
4 years ago

My mom entered this facility in 1952. In January 1953, my brother just older than I, my baby brother, baby sister and myself entered the facility. We all left in October 1953 and moved to Arizona on order of my mother's physician. My mom had surgery in 1952 for TB and passed away in 2003. Her mother died of TB in 1925 or 1926 from TB leaving nine children including a newborn. Would like to see post from others who were there.

robbie guereca
robbie guereca
Reply to  Wanda Jones
1 year ago

My father was in the Nyburg Hospital and my sister,brother and I were at the Masonic children’s hospital in 1951 . Our mother was at the nurse facility. I would like to see photographs of the children s Masonic physillity at that period of time
My email isrobbie.guereca@yahoo.com

Rhonda
Rhonda
Reply to  Wanda Jones
1 year ago

I was here about three or four weeks ago and I made contact with what I believe was a little boys spirit named Joshua, age 7. I have researched to find anything to further verify this but haven’t found anything yet.

Robert
Robert
Reply to  Rhonda
2 months ago

Any way to go in without just breaking in?

Joe Mama
Joe Mama
Reply to  Wanda Jones
10 months ago

can I break in easily ?

Kimberly
Kimberly
2 years ago

Is it haunted? Will they let you explore it?

Baby
Baby
2 years ago

I was born there in 1964, and then put up for adoption. I was told that very few babies were born there. Is there any way to access those old records?

Linda V
Linda V
3 years ago

Is there anyway to get old files of patients that were there and when exactly they died. My grandfather and his brother were there in the early 1930s

Joan Hilliard Keaton
Joan Hilliard Keaton
3 years ago

My grandfather was there sometime in the 1930's. His name was Luther Beam.

Shelley Blanton
Shelley Blanton
3 years ago

There is a book entitled "History of the Booneville Sanitorium". It may be available at the Fort Smith Public Library or possibly in Booneville somewhere. There IS a copy at the University of Arkansas-Fort Smith in the Pebley Center, this I know.

Jennifer Cruts
Jennifer Cruts
3 years ago

What happened to the bodies of the patients who died? My aunt would like to know where her aunt is buried.

Joanne
Joanne
Reply to  Jennifer Cruts
3 years ago

Jennifer, im sorry about the passing of your aunt. There is a website you can go to to locate Graves by town, state, name. It is findagrave.com. I live in booneville area I was raised here then moved back after living in texas. I have always been interested in the history. The facility is still open. It now houses patients for the state who are incapacitated in some way. Unfortunately mostly mental development. I have relatives and friends that work at the facility. Yes, some buildings are not in the newest renovated state, but they are still beautiful. The grounds… Read more »

Virginia Oliver
Virginia Oliver
4 years ago

I am searching for information on my great grandmother Delilah Holmes. Someone has said that she died in a tuberculosis sanitarium in Arkansas just outside of Fort Smith. I do not know iif there was one closer than Boonville. Someone said she died in 1920, others have said she died in 1923. Are there medical records available that could be accessed to learn if indeed she lived and died there? Help

Penny Oliver Almond
Penny Oliver Almond
Reply to  Virginia Oliver
2 years ago

I’m penny jo Oliver. Is this my aunt Virginia ? My grandfather Miles Duncan was in this hospital as well.

Brittany E Losoria
Brittany E Losoria
Reply to  Virginia Oliver
2 years ago

There was a TB sanitarium outside of Fort Smith. It is not the same as Booneville. It was demolished in 1958, I believe.

Kay
Kay
Reply to  Virginia Oliver
1 year ago

I’ve been told that the booneville library has a book with records

Casper Green, Jr.
Casper Green, Jr.
4 years ago

I grew up outside Booneville in Earl Prairie. I've been to the San many times during the late 1930s and 40s. My sisters and I sang for the patients on a couple of occasions. We sang inside one of the buildings but I don't remember which one and we didn't wear masks – obviously – if we were to sing. The San played a major role in helping stamp out the dreaded disease of TB in the US and the people of Arkansas should be proud of the role they played. Everyone dreaded to enter the TB hospital but the… Read more »

Vincent Pittman
Vincent Pittman
Reply to  Casper Green, Jr.
3 years ago

My MOM BILLIE DAVIS-PITTMAN was there in the 1940s. She ran around with HATTIE DAVIS. And she lived until 1996!

tracy
tracy
4 years ago

wow what history that they are letting ruin…they should get some of the things out of there for a display. .so many neat things…so many people lost thier lives there and was treated.they need to get those things out before it is totally destroyed

kayla
kayla
4 years ago

What this article doesn't tell you though is the basement is used for a haunted house every year and some of the stuff pictured are props like the blood smears and creepy jars…it's still a cool and creepy place…when I worked at bhdc my class got a tour of the top floors

Regina Clack
Regina Clack
4 years ago

My grandpa was there, and grandma and mom both worked there.

Margie
Margie
4 years ago

My aunt Ethel Herbert died there in 1957 or 1958 . Does any one know or remember her ?

Margie Pate Riney
Margie Pate Riney
4 years ago

My Aunt Ethel Herbert died there in 1957 or 1958. Does anyone remember her or know her ?

Hailey
Hailey
4 years ago

Why is there always a random tricycle in abandoned hospitals/asylums ?

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