|City/Town: • Booneville|
|Location Class: • Church • Hospital • Residential • School|
|Built: • 1863 | Abandoned: • 1973|
|Status: • Abandoned • Endangered|
|Photojournalist: • Michael Schwarz • Eddy Sisson • James Kirkendall|
Located 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.
The 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