Cresson TB Sanatorium Remembered
History 1
Andrew Carnegie Land Grant
The several  hundred acres of land on which the hospital was built was originally purchased by steel magnate and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie in the early 1900's.  He had planned to build a mansion there for his mother where she could enjoy the health benefits of the clean air at the 2000 foot elevation of the property.  However, she died before she could make the move.  Carnegie then sold the land to the state of Pa. for $1 if they would agree to build a TB sanatorium on the property.  The state gladly accepted for it was thought the location ideal with its abundance of clean air and serene surroundings which would greatly benefit TB patients.  A copy of the agreement between Carnegie and the State of Pennsylvania signed in 1911 is shown at the right.  Construction was started in 1912 and completed in 1916.  The original administration building was built in the European style with gargoyles on the tower and the crests of Scottish clans cut into the sandstone as a reminder of Mr. Cargegie;s heritage.
In December of 1956 the facility was incorporated into the Lawrence F. Flick State Hospital being run by the Department of Public Welfare to treat the mentally retarded.  The name was later changed to the Cresson State School and Hospital and remained in operation until December 1982.  In 1983 the facility was converted into a state correctional institution under the Bureau of Corrections.

Dr. Lawrence Francis Flick
The official name of the TB sanatorium at Cresson, Pa is "The Lawrence Flick State Hospital".  It was named in his honor in December 1956.  (Four months after I was discharged.  Chuck Felton)
Dr. Flick, 1875-1938,  was the son of German immigrants who settled in Cambria County, Pennsylvania.  He was educated at St. Vincent's College at Latrobe, Pa and at Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia, graduating in 1879.   After his own bout with TB he adopted the eradication of TB as his cause.  His studies concluded that the diseased was not hereditary but contageous.  He founded the Pennsylvania Tuberculosis Society, the first state organization in the country devoted to the elimination of TB.  He championed case registration and education about the contageous nature of the disease. 
Dr. Flick was a tireless physician who practiced until the final year of his life.  He was a scholar, organizer, auther and historian.  The legacy of his crusade to eliminate TB is the improvement of the care of TB patients and the dramitic reduction in cases and deaths due to this disease.
We owe both Andrew Carnegie and Dr. Lawrence Flick a debt of gratitude for their generousity and efforts on our behalf.
For those who might be interested in doing scholarly research into Dr. Lawrence Francis Flick's life and work, his papers are held at the American Catholic History Research Center and University Archives.
Contact Information:
Mailing Address: The Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C. 20064

Telephone: 202-319-5065



Descriptive Summary

Repository:The American Catholic Research Center and University Archives
Creator:Lawrence Francis Flick, 1856-1938
Title:The Lawrence Francis Flick Papers
Extent:45 linear feet; 31 boxes, 3 oversize boxes
Abstract:The Flick Papers consists of two series, one of bound volumes of chronological correspondence, with index cards, divided into five subseries and the other a smaller group of alphabetical subject files. Some 100 volumes of Flick's strictly medical material was donated by his family to the Library of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Philadelphia and the numbers assigned to these may account for those missing below. Flick's primary concerns of combating Tuberculosis and promoting American Catholicism permeate throughout.
Collection Number:ACUA 40


This official Pennsylvania Historical Marker was placed by the Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission (PHMC).  It is located just south of Carrolltown, Cambria County, on US Route 219. 

Above is the Executive Order transferring Cresson Center to the Bureau of Corrections on February 1, 1983.

TB community mourns the loss of research pioneer Sir John Crofton

4 November 2009 - Edinburgh - Sir John Crofton passed away peacefully at his home yesterday. He was 97.

Widely considered one of the world's pre-eminent physicians, Sir John was responsible for breakthrough research that led to the first effective combined treatment regimen for TB.

Sir John was thrust into the thick of Scotland's post-war TB epidemic when he returned after serving in battlefield hospitals. Placed in charge of 400 TB hospital beds, he was determined to cut the TB rate in Scotland -- one of the few European countries where the disease was still on the rise.

In 1952, when Sir John became chair of tuberculosis at Edinburgh University, he put together a team who demonstrated that, with meticulous bacteriology and use of a combination of three separate drugs (streptomycin, isoniazid and para-aminosalycilic acid), a cure rate for TB approaching 100% was a reasonable objective. Between 1954 and 1957, Crofton’s team halved the TB notification rates in Edinburgh -- a goal previously considered unimaginable.

To further test the validity of the ‘Edinburgh Method’, The International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease launched an international trial of the treatment protocol. The study involving 23 leading centres was a success, and Edinburgh Method became the gold standard for TB treatment.

Sir John’s work, together with that of the Union and other scientists, laid the groundwork for subsequent development of the DOTS strategy for TB, which formed the basis for WHO's current Stop TB Strategy.

"The whole world owes a debt to Sir John for his landmark research, which laid the foundation for effective TB treatment," said Dr Mario Raviglione, Director of the WHO Stop TB Department. "We mourn his passing, but his work will live on."

Sir John was professor of respiratory diseases and tuberculosis at the University of Edinburgh for 25 years. He was vice principal between 1969 and 1971 and retired from the university in 1977, the same year he was knighted for his work. He also served as President of the Royal College of Physicians.