About a hundred years ago, in March 1915, the Municipal Tuberculosis Sanitarium opened its doors to citizens of Chicago suffering from tuberculosis. Treatment was free to residents of Chicago.
The need for a public heath facility
In 1914, there were 10,000 registered cases of TB. The number of deaths due to TB in Chicago that year was 3, 384. Yet there were only 300 public beds available in the city for patients who could not afford to pay for treatment.
A model sanitarium
At the time of its opening, MTS was the largest Sanitarium of its kind, and the first to have a Maternity Ward and Nursery. There were 32 buildings completed when it opened, and the main ones were connected by an underground tunnel. More buildings were added in later years.
The TB Sanitarium was located on Chicago’s North Side, on the grounds of what is now Peterson Park and North Park Village. Some buildings are still standing, looking much the same on the outside as they did in 1915. The Sanitarium was designed as place of quiet and rest on the outskirts of the city. It is evident great consideration was given to the appearance of the buildings and grounds.
This blog is devoted to researching the Sanitarium’s history, recalling medical and administrative staff members, and sharing the stories of the people who were treated there.
This site is a work in progress. We’re starting with just a few bits of information, but hope to eventually provide a rich, detailed picture of this once famous public health institution. All contributions are welcome, especially photographs. If you’d like to share your story, use the contact form or leave a comment on the blog.
How to use this website
As new information is uncovered or received, it will be posted in the blog. You can use the category listing in the sidebar on the right to find blogposts on a specific subject.
Longer interviews with former patients and their family members, physicians and other staff will be published on separate pages. You can access pages by using the horizontal menu bar above.
Eventually a time line and links to other resources will be included. Check the About page for more information about the creator of this website. Use the Contact form if you’d like to submit a story, photographs or a correction.