Cresson TB Sanatorium Remembered
Newspaper 19

The following article was published in the Wellsboro Gazette on Wednesday July 21, 2010 as a Letter to the Editor.    My thanks to Jason Przybycien for publishing it.  Click the following link to go to the newspaper website: 


Remember TB?

Published: Wednesday, July 21, 2010 2:49 PM CDT

To the editor:

I’m a Penn State graduate, Class of 1962, now retired and living in the Hill Country of Texas. But this story begins back in 1955 when I was 17 years old and a senior at Towanda Valley High School. I was looking forward to graduating from high school and enrolling at Penn State that fall. But my plans suddenly changed when in March 1955 I was diagnosed with pulmonary tuberculosis and was sent to the State TB Sanatorium in Cresson where I spent 16 months recovering.

About six months ago I decided to document that experience on a small personal Web site with memories and photos of my time at the sanatorium. However, within a few weeks of publishing the Web site on the internet, I started receiving e-mails from people who had a past connection to the sanatorium. These people included former patients, medical staff and kitchen workers, plus children and grandchildren of former patients seeking more information about a family member who had been a TB patient at the sanatorium. Many of the people who have contacted me have allowed me to add their personal stories and photos to my Web site, so that over the past six months the Web site has become less about my story and more of a memorial site to remember loved ones and how their lives and those of their families were affected by TB.

I was also interested in re-creating the history of the sanatorium and contacted many of the local historical societies in the towns around the Cresson area for information, which they gladly provided. The State Archives was also an invaluable source of photographs documenting life at the sanatorium from the perspective of both patients and staff. The resulting compiled data on the Web site represents a unique visual historical record of life at the sanatorium.

The sanatorium, which was opened in 1913, was closed as a TB facility in the mid 1960s when it was no longer needed thanks to effective drugs which conquered the disease. In three years, the sanatorium will celebrate its 100th anniversary and some of the local historical societies are contemplating an anniversary celebration. In addition, the possibility of a reunion of the sanatorium “alums” is being explored, which would be a unique event in itself.

TB was a dreaded killer in this country in the first half of the 20th century, affecting many families from all walks of life. So I’d like to give an open invitation to anyone who has information, photos or a personal story concerning Cresson sanatorium to contact me and submit material for publication on the Web site. Or maybe you would like to e-mail me with a general comment or question about the site. The information on the site is for public use and anyone has my permission to download items of interest. The site is located on the Internet at the following link:

Chuck Felton
Lakehills, Texas