Cresson TB Sanatorium Remembered

Katherine and Eddie Naperkoski

I received the following information from Bonnie Longo of Altoona, Pa in July 2010.  Her email address is  

Subject: The Cresson Center

Mr. Felton:


I read your story in the Altoona Mirror.  I also visited your website briefly.  I intend to read every word of it.


I write you because I have memories of being a little girl and visiting my Grandmother there.  I was born in 1954 and my Grandmother spent a good many years at Cresson.  My Mother passed away about 5 years ago and in some of her photos were photos of my Grandmother in the Cresson Facility.  My Grandmother's name was Katherine Naperkoski.   "Kackie" as we called her always talked fondly of being there like it was another "family" to her.  She would tell us about listening to Pirate baseball on the radio and she did that until she died in November of 1991.  She was a wonderful, loving grandmother.  She was my best friend.  She was beautiful and kind.  She would very often speak of the Cresson Center and her life there but I had never seen the pictures until after my Mother's death. 


My Mother told us stories of her whole family contracting TB from a family that lived below them in their apartment.  Somehow, Kackie had a flare-up of TB and went there to recover so that she would not infect anyone in our family.  My Mother was then pregnant with me.  I have memories of visiting Kackie one Christmas.  I was only about 3 and I took my new baby doll to show it to her and one of the women in the center wanted my doll.  The woman cried so hard that my Dad told me to give her the new doll and he would buy me another one.  I didn't want to part with it, but I did. 


The pictures show Kackie and other women patients in their pajamas and robes, sitting on the floor of a room and a nurse is standing beside them and they are all smiling and you'd never know they were in a hospital.  It looked as if they were at a pajama party.  There are other pictures and she is smiling in all of them.  Some of them are what you would call a little "risky" for the times.  Many women are just in their bras and panties.  LOL. 


What a great story and a piece of history that you have created.  I want to read it all.  Each and every story.


I will locate the pictures I have and scan them and email them to you as soon as I can and maybe you will recognize some of the people in the photos.  I recognize my Grandmother but none of the other women in the pictures.  Maybe some of the women have visited your website.   Thank you and God bless you for thinking of the web site.  My Grandmother would have so enjoyed talking with you.  She often talked about getting in touch with some of the people she spent the years with. She would have loved this story.   Kackie would have been 96 this year had she lived longer. When she was released she went on to become a waitress at the Heidelberg in Altoona and we took her there on her last Mother's Day she was with us.  A man that ran the place at the time brought out a photo album that he had found in the back room and many of the pictures were of her and my Aunt when they were waitresses and she helped name people that were in the photos. Kackie loved seeing the old photos and would comment about how that was after being in the Cresson Center. I had the best Grandmother and Mother a girl could ever have.


I also want to tell you that I admire the people of your generation that made the best of your misfortune.  Your generation can find good memories in the midst of misfortune, which is lost with the generations living now.  People of the generations today would strive to be "victims" of their misfortunes but your generation looked at it as a part of your life and kept the fond memories alive.


Thank you for the great stories and the learning experience.  You should write a book about this. 


Best Regards

Bonnie Longo



1.5  A group photo taken in the Woman's Ward at Christmas.  Katheryn Naperkoski is standing 2nd from the left in the blue robe with glasses.



1.  Left to Right:   Mable, Mary, Pauline, Mort, Barb, Kackie (My Grandmother Katheryn Naperkoski) and Esther(?).  The women all appear to be patients, while lucky Mort could be a visitor or a patient on "meals".  The photos was taken in the ward in1952.
3.  Kackie is on the left and the other women are unidentified.  The women are in the locker room with its tile floor and the perforated doors of the individual locker stalls, which provided good air circulation.  Kackie always called that place the "Cresson Sanitorium". 

5.  Janet Turner in the ward standing next to Christmas window decorations in 952.   



7.  This photo was taken in 1958 when these women were on meals and living in the Women's Unit.    Katherine Naperkoski
is the one in the middle.  That's the Entertainment Hall behind them..


      9.  Eddie later served in the Army in Korea.
2.  The people in this photo are unidentified. The patients decorated their ward at Christmas including its own Christmas tree and winter scenes painted on the windows.  These women each have a poinsettia plant on their bedtable to add to the festive atmosphere.
4.  This one is a little "risque"  (lol)  The one on the right is my Grandmother Kathryn Naperkoski (Kathy).   Bonnie thinks that's her "board buddy" beside her.  Her name looks like it could be "Mary or Macy", but can't tell for sure.  (Chuck Felton Note:  Your "board buddy" was the person on the other side of the low wooden partition that separated two adjoining beds.)
6.  Janet Turner in 1952 standing on the second floor open air sun porch on the women's East Wing. 

8.  Katherine Naperkoski's son, Edward (Eddie) Naperkoski, Jr. was born in 1932.  As a youth he was in the Boy Scouts and attained the rank of Eagle Scout.  




10.  Eddie was subsequently diagnosed with TB and sent to Cresson San.  He is pictured above with his Great Uncle Jess during a visit.  It's not known the exact dates Eddie was at the san, but it is definitely known that he was there in 1956.  Eddie died in 1959 at the age of 27 due to complications of TB.