Cresson TB Sanatorium Remembered

History 10 Sanatorium Models at the 1915 Pan-Pacific Exposition in San Francisco

Just nine years after the devastating 1906 earthquake, San Francisco staged the 1915 Pan-Pacific International Exposition, celebrating the opening of the Panama Canal in August, 1914 and hosting more than 18 million visitors from around the world.  One of the exhibits housed in the "Palace of Education” featured displays created by the Pennsylvania Health Department which included large scale models of the three state TB sanatoriums at Mont Alto, Cresson and Hamburg and models of a Cure Pavilion and Patient's Cottage. 

The photos shown below were taken from the Pennsylvania Health Bulletin No. 77 published in Harrisburg, Pa. on January 1916, which was scanned as part of the Google Books collection.  The photos are interesting historically as they show the initial layout of the building at these three sanatoriums in 1915, which was just a few years after they were completed.      

1.  Scale Model of Mont Alto TB Sanatorium:  An interesting aspect of the Mont Alto complex is the large number of patient cottages, estimated to be approximately 70, which would accommodate 560 patients.  Cresson (Photo 2) had only 20 cottages and Hamburg (Photo 3) does not appear to have any, indicating that the majority of patients at these two sans were treated in the wards.
2.  Scale Model of Cresson TB Sanatorium:  The buildings in the left foreground are the original barn, chicken coops and pig pens.  The barn was required to house mules which hauled wagon loads of supplies and people up and down the dirt mountain road to Cresson. 

For some years, the san had its own poultry farm.  The poultry house, which had a capacity of approximately one thousand chickens, housed White Leghorns because they are good egg layers.  The object was to ensure a plentiful supply of fresh eggs, which were considered essential in the treatment of tuberculosis.  The poultry farm was expanded from year to year until it had a capacity of five thousand chickens.  The poultry farm was discontinued when delivered eggs became available at a cheap price from near-by farms.


About forty thousand pounds of fresh pork was produced annually at the san piggery.  This constituted the major portion of the fresh pork used in a year, and was the only part of the food supply produced on the grounds.  The piggery was started in 1914, near the barn, and was moved to a new location north of Route 22 in 1916. 


The Power House with its large smoke stack and Laundry, shown in the right background, were originally located near the men's cottages and the water tank.  However, once the chicken coops and piggery were eliminated, the Power House and Laundry were moved to the site near the barn.   

3.    Scale Model of Hamburg TB Sanatorium:  The Hamburg facility shows a marked similarity in layout to the Cresson facility in that there is a men's wing and women's wing separated by a cruciform shaped complex of buildings housing the administration building, dining rooms, etc.  One difference is the lack of any identifiable patient cottages at Hamburg.
4.  Scale Model of Open Air PavilionThe model  of the pavilion was complete with furnishings and patients wrapped in blankets sitting in rest-chairs taking the "cure."


5.  Scale Model of Patient's Cottage:  The solid board window coverings could be tilted out or pushed to the side on a rail to adjust the amount of air flow into the cottage.  It appears that the cottage skirting panels could also be tilted up to allow airflow under the floor.  Fresh air was thought to be of primary importance in treating TB.


6.  Cottage Floor Plan and Details:  Shows the patient bed arrangement, sun's rays and air flow patterns.