Cresson TB Sanatorium Remembered

History 18 Miscellaneous San Items

The following are short historical items regarding Cresson TB San found in books scanned by the Google Project.

                                                The Survey, Volume 23   1910
                                  By Survey Associates, Charity Organization Society of the City of New York 


Andrew Carnegie lias shown his interest in the anti-tuberculosis fight by offering to Pennsylvania through Health Commissioner Dixon, a valuable tract of land at Cresson, Cambria county, about 100 miles east of Pittsburgh, for a sanatorium. 

The last Legislature granted $2,000,000 for tuberculosis work. As it permitted the construction of a sanatorium or hospital Commissioner Dixon has looked for a suitable site in the western end of the slate. He considered the Carnegie property at Cresson and wrote Mr. Carnegie, asking what price he would take for it. Replying, Mr. Carnegie said:

If the commonwealth of Pennsylvania will promptly erect and undertake to maintain a sanatorium on my land at Cresson, I shall be delighted to make a free gift of it for that purpose. I have had an offer for it, and another party is looking at it, but I shall hold until I hear from you.  I know of no healthier place in the state nor one more beautiful.

The tract contains 450 acres and has an elevation of 2.400 feet. An investigation made at the instance of Governor Stuart shows that it is suitable for a sanatorium, and has in addition sufficient timber and sandstone to erect the necessary buildings. The governor and Dr. Dixon on behalf of the state have accepted Mr. Carnegie's gift. Work will begin in the near future on Pennsylvania's second sanatorium.

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Official documents, comprising the department and other reports ..., Volume 8 1911
                                        A MUNIFICENT GIFT.

The law making an appropriation to the Department for the suppression of tuberculosis contemplated the establishment of several sanatoria in different parts of the State. The site at Mont Alto having been selected as the first and the work having been satisfactorily carried to a point where it was possible to accommodate a considerable number of the class of sufferers, designated by law, who were already pressing for admission, 1 turned my attention to discovering favorable localities for other colonies. The western part of the State naturally had its claims and higher altitudes of the Allegheny ridges suggested themselves as available. Among other sites one near the former health resort of Cresson attracted my attention and finding upon inquiry that it was the property of Mr. Andrew Carnegie, 1 addressed him, asking what price he would be willing to place upon it. To this request I received the following reply:

Skibo Castle, Dornoch, Sutherland.
October 7, 1909.

My dear Mr. Dixon:—Glad to hear from you. If the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania will promptly erect and undertake to maintain a Sanatorium on my land at Cresson, 1 shall be delighted to make a free gift of it for that purpose. I have had an offer for it and another party is looking at it but I shall hold until I hear from you.I know of no healthier place in the State nor one more beautiful.

I immediately conferred with your Excellency as to the propriety and legality of the Department accepting a gift of Ibis kind, and with your entire approval, after careful consideration, telegraphed the following reply:"With appreciation, accept Cresson property for Pennsylvania."The telegram was followed by a formal letter expressing the appreciation of the Department for the generous gift. This tract consists of 400 acres on a mountain crest having an elevation of 4,200 feet, the greater part of it forest land. I at once visited the spot with our chief engineer, Mr. F. Herbert Snow, and decided upon the exact location for the Sanatorium and made plans for commencing work early in the Spring. The tract is well drained with a good water supply, and is most conveniently situated on the main line of the Pennsylvania Railroad.

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                                                      Public health movement
                                                  By American Academy of Political and Social Science 

Tucked within the forest and thus protected from the winter winds, but enjoying the full benefits of the high altitude, the new State Sanatorium for Tuberculosis, at Cresson, is being constructed by the State Department of Health, on the property given the commonwealth by Andrew Carnegie. It is so planned that four wings may be constructed, one at a time, as needed, utilizing the same central building. Each wing or ward will accommodate 160 patients, giving a total capacity of 640 for the finally completed institution. The first story of the entire structure is of sandstone found on the property. The second story is of asbestos boards timbered, and the roof will be of asbestos shingles. The layout permits of the maximum amount of sunlight, with the wards so arranged as to accommodate the varying demand of advanced and incipient cases. The central building will provide a dining room, reception and examining room on the first floor and apartments for the doctors, nurses and help on the second floor.

Connecting the east and west wards with the central building are corridors that have enclosed basements through which the patients can walk to the dining room in stormy weather, and a first floor to be used for the open-air treatment. Here the patients may sit in their rest-chairs and enjoy the sunshine, and thus is overcome the necessity of porches that would block out the sun from the patients' rooms. Into this sun-corridor also the patient's bed can be wheeled. To economize by using the same foundation and roof for as much as possible, a second floor of each connecting corridor will accommodate twenty beds for hospital cases.

The sanatorium site, about 2,400 feet above the sea level, is sufficiently far from all industries to have pure air for the patients to breathe. The summers are cool and the winters long and unbroken.

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Official documents, comprising the department and other reports ..., Volume 8   1911
                                                                            By Pennsylvania

"Spunk," the little monthly periodical published by the patients of the Sanatorium has proved a valuable agency in keeping up the spirits and aiding the recovery of the patients. A State Senator in communication to the editor truthfully says: "It is comparatively easy to do one's duly when the eyes of many are upon us— many frequently act fearing they would otherwise be thought cowards, but to do a brave thing when few know of the sacrifice is really greatness and the prompting to do it, and the act of doing it are the property of the soul."  It is an ably edited journal, with many interesting contributors and is a benefit alike to those who write and those who read.

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Journal of the American Medical Association, Volume 60, Issues 1-13   Jan 1913
                                                           By American Medical Association

Patients Admitted to Cresson
The first two patients were admitted to the State Tuberculosis Sanatorium, Cresson, January 2, transferred from Mount Alto. The resident physicians of the institution are Drs. Ellenberger, Altoona, and Gross, Philadelphia

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                                                      Report, Part 1   1914
                                                                   By Pennsylvania. Dept. of Health

A very active baby saving show was organized at Johnstown extending from the 20th to 29th of July.  The Assistant Chief Medical Inspector  and the Lecturer with the Department's Tuberculosis Exhibit both assisted the citizens of this town. Dr. W. G. Turnbull, the Director of the Tuberculosis Sanatorium at Cresson his deputy, Dr. S. H. Rinehardt, and one of the resident physicians, Dr. R. V. Zabarkes, each gave lectures at frequent intervals, Dr. Zabarkes talking in a number of foreign languages.

Requests have continued coming from time to time during the year from points outside of the State for the bulletin on "How to Organize a Baby Saving Show" and for samples of the literature which we distribute in connection with our infant welfare campaigns. For a very well organized "Pure Food and Better Baby Exposition" in Dallas, Texas, the Department was requested to send material and did exhibit all that portion of our loan display that we have blueprinted and samples of all of the literature which we distribute here in Pennsylvania.This Infant Welfare work of the Division might well be extended and the campaign might be organized more actively with profit.

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Patients who go to sanatorium at a considerable distance from their homes seem better contented and do remain longer than those in institutions near home. We find that at Mont Alto patients stay in direct relation to the distance from which they come. Those who live farthest away stay the longest. This we have shown to be, as a rule, geometrically true; and as an illustration, in a series of one year's cases, 418 in all (investigated by me), who went to Mont Alto from Philadelphia the average length of stay was seven and a half months, while the average length of stay of all cases for the same year was four and a half months. So striking is this that the medical director of Cresson Sanatorium, who has investigated it for his institution, and who finds it equally true, has suggested that patients would stay longer and even better results be obtained if Mont Alto took the cases from the western part of the State and Cresson those from the eastern part of the State.

The above I think are convincing practical arguments against the efficiency of small local sanatoria, even granting for the sake of argument, that this system ever really would have amounted to anything or could have supplied the immediate need of Pennsylvania. It never could possibly have done so, for in Pennsylvania the counties are too poor. Had Pennsylvania attempted to handle the problem in this disassociated and incomplete manner we could not have had in twenty-five or in fifty years the facilities we have today; and, indeed, we could never have developed the cohesive* interrelated, and effective system in the close relationship between dispensary and sanatorium that we have to-day.

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        The district reports of cases decided in all the judicial ..., Volume 24, 1915
                                                                     By Pennsylvania. Courts

The Department of Health, under the heating contract for the sanatorium of Cresson, Pennsylvania, installed two Wainwright generators. It was found that they did not furnish sufficient hot water for the wash-tubs in the laundry. Changes were made to supply the necessary hot water. It does not appear that the extra storage tank was supplied when the Wainwright generator was installed at Cresson. This, no doubt, explained the shortage of hot water. In the Patterson generator the hot water storage, as we understand, constitutes a part of the system, but in the Wainwright, if large quantities of hot water are required, this is provided by an addition to the system not needed for the proper operation of the heater. Whether, however, the type of generators that work according to the Patterson system is more desirable, where large quantities of hot water are required, is a subject upon which there may be room for a difference of opinion. But the objection that applies to the Wainwright generator, just suggested, would apply with equal force to the Wheeler, which was named in the specifications as one that could be selected by the bidders. Mr. Anderson under his bid, naming the Wainwright generator, was bound to furnish a storage capacity of 500 gallons.

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                                    Engineering & contracting    Jan 1915
Harrisburg. Pa.—Following contracts have been awarded by the State Health Department for work in new wing at the Cresson Sanatorium:

Plumbing, Evarts & Overdeer, Lancaster, at $13,310
Ventilating, Barclay O'Neill. Philadelphia, at $10,080
Electric wiring, Lancaster Electric Supply & Contracting Co., $8,800;
Heating, Evarts & Overdeer, at $22,650.  

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                    Proceedings of the annual convention , Volume 68, Parts 1908-1917
                                                                   By United Lutheran Church in America

Rev. S.J. Taylor, D.D., reported on the pressing need of a Union Chapel at Cresson Sanatorium.

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The American journal of nursing, Volume 21  1920
By American Nurses Association,

Esther Anderson is supervisor of the Pennsylvania State Sanatorium, Cresson, Pa.

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Smull's legislative hand book and manual of the state of Pennsylvania 1921
By John Augustus Smull (1832-1879, comp)
Pennsylvania State Sanatorium for Tuberculosis No. 2, Cresson
                                    Staff 1921

 Medical Director—William G. Turnbull, M. D.,  Philadelphia.
Chief of Medical Service—M. E. Cowen, M. D., Quechee, Vermont.                  
Assistant Physicians—С. R. Weirich, M.D., Washington                                   
С. C. Custer, M. D., Cresson  
onsulting Laryngologist—S. P. Glover, M. D., Altoona

Visiting Dentist—G. С Robb. D. D. S., Altoona, 
Head Nurse—Miss E. С. Allison, Philadelphia 
Housekeeper—Miss Mary Moore, Altoona,
Secretary—Max Polonsky, Philadelphia.       
Stenographer—Miss Irene V. Young, Williamsport                  
Clerk—Miss Minerva Greenaway, Wilkinsburg.
Storekeeper—Frank Christly, New Castle


One thousand strikes of Government employees
By David Ziskind 

Similar strikes of kitchen and laundry workers occurred recently in Indiana and Pennsylvania.  The culinary and other “domestic” help in the Union Hospital in Terre Haute, Ind., struck on April 5, 1937, for higher wages, shorter hours and a closed shop.  They were granted only improvements in wages and hours.  The laundry workers in the State Sanatorium in Cresson, Pa., refused to work on Saturday afternoons.  They remained out from April 24 to 26, 1937, and returned without success.

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Dr. William Turnbull published a paper in the Theraputic Gazette on May 15, 1922 entitled, "Heliotherapy in the Treatment of Tuberculosis".  The paper describes 2 years' special effort to use sunlight in the treatment of tuberculous patientS AT THE PENNSYLVANIA STATE SANATORIUM AT CRESSON. 



Dr. Turnbull Appointed Director

Dr. W. C. Trumbull, of Philadelphia, has been appointed medical director of the new Cresson Tuberculosis Sanatorium of the State of Pennsylvania. The Cresson Sanatorium will be opened about the first of the year and will have a bed capacity of 320. It is the second of Pennsylvania's three State sanatoria for the free treatment of indigent sufferers from tuberculosis. The first was the Alt. Alto institution, which was opened five years ago, and has grown in that time until it is now the largest institution of its kind in the world. A third sanatorium is in course of construction at Hamburg, Berks County.

                                         Hospital Nearly Ready

Cresson, Dec. 5, 1912

Dr. Turnbull, resident physician of the state tuberculosis sanatorium, arrived Tuesday to remain permanently.  He was accompanied by his wife.  Miss Celia Conrad of Johnstown, who will be stenographer at the sanitarium, also arrived Tuesday to remain permanently.  The nurses have not arrived and the head nurse has resigned. The sanatorium officials do not know when the institution will be ready to receive patients. The boilers were fired for the first time Tuesday.

By WILLIAM G. TURNBULL, M. I)., Medical Director.

(A detailed annual report of Cresson San operations in 1914 including many tables of statistical data on patients)

                                     Dr. Samuel P. Glover

Dr. S. P. Glover is a well-known specialist in diseases of the ear, eye, nose and throat.  A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania Medical School with the class of 1884, he made special preparation for his work at the class of 1884, he made special preparation for his work at the University of Vienna, Austria.  For five years, before coming to Altoona in 1891, he taught in the American College at Beirut, Syria. With the opening of hostilities in the Spanish-American War, Dr. Glover entered the service of the United States as an assistant surgeon.

The Pennsylvania Railroad Company engaged him as a surgeon on their medical staff, and he retained that post for fifteen years. At present he leads in his specialties here, and is laryngologist at the Cresson Sanitarium.

                                        Library Work for Blind
A nucleus for a library for the blind tubercular patients at the State Sanitarium at Cresson, Pa was started early in July by members of the social services committee of the Pennsylvania Association for the Blind.  Officials of the Pennsylvania Association for the Blind are expecting to send to Cresson the books they have at the association headquarters and efforts are being made to gather several collections belonging to private persons who are willing to donate them.
                                                              Richard E. Acciavatti

*  Richard E. Acciavatti after having received his B.S. and M.S. in  
Psychology and Guidance at Pennsylvania State University has accepted a position as Direct:r of Rehabilitation at the Cresson Sanatorium, Cresson, Pa.

a new personality, Richard Gerard, was announced by Mr. and Mrs. Richard Acciavatti on June 12. The father is Director of the Rehabilitation Department, Tuberculosis Sanitorium, Cresson, Pa. 

*  Acciavatti, a daughter, Diane, borne Oct. 17 to Mr. and Mrs. Richard E. Acciavatti.  Baby Diane joins two brothers, Bobby and Ricky.  September 1954.
           Jacobsburg Society Accepts Bequest
July 23, 1989|by LORNA WEIL,
The Morning Call

A Bushkill Township woman, the last descendant of a history-making Northampton County family, has assured preservation of her family heritage.In her will, Mary Henry Stites gave her 22-acre property, including her 19th century home, to the Jacobs burg Historical Society "for house museum purposes," along with an endowment of $200,000 for its "maintenance, care, upkeep, repair, security and preservation."    

All family papers to Eleutherian Mills Historical Library - now the Hagley Museum and Library of Wilmington, Del

April 2, 1913
State Tuberculosis DisTensary No. 21, in Philadelphia.

The 8th Annual Report on TB Sanatoriums by Health Commissioner 1913

This report contains many items about the construction of buildings and systems at Cresson San.


A Glimpse at the Colorful History of TB: Its Toll and Its Effect on the US and the World.   In TB Notes 2000 by Dan Ruggiero. (Pages 4 thru 10)


Bed Rest Does Not Contribute to the Cure of Tuberculosis, and the Shifting Tuberculosis Care Out of Sanatoria

BY James Hirsch
April 2012

Authorization To Raise Donations To Build Grace Chapel

Authorizing the Commissioner of Health to accept a private donation or private donations for the purpose of erecting union WSJ at tuberculosis sanatoria number two and number three, located at Cresson and Hamburg in this Commonwealth, and further authorizing said Commissioner of Health, after reviving such donation or donations for such purpose, to erect or cause to be erected on the said sanatorium properties or either of them, a suitable building or buildings for such purpose, under plans and specifications to be approved by the Commonwealth and the said Commissioner of

Section 1. Be it enacted, &c.. That the Commissioner of Health of this Commonwealth be, and he is hereby, authorized and empowered to accept a private donation or private donations for the purpose of erecting union chapels at tuberculosis sanatoria number two Donations tor «ec and number three, situated at Cresson, Cambria County and at Hamburg, Berks County, Pennsylvania, or either of them.

Section 2. The said Commissioner of Health is hereby further authorized and empowered, after receiving sufficient donation or donations for the purpose set forth in section one of this act, to have plans and specifications prepared for a building to be used as a union chapel, which said plans and specifications shall be submitted to the Governor of this Commonwealth for his consideration and approval; and, upon the approval of plans and specifications for such building by the Governor of this Commonwealth and the Commissioner of Health, to have such a building or buildings erected under said plans and specifications, at a suitable place or places on the property purchased and owned by the Cresson and Hamburg Commonwealth for sanatorium purposes at Cresson and Hamburg, or at either place: Provided, however,

That the entire cost of the construction and equipment of said chapel or chapels shall be covered by the said donation or donations, and no plans shall be prepared or building done until such donation or donations have been received by the Commissioner of Health.
Approved—The 28th day of May, A. D. 1915.

Herald and Presbyter
 Volume 91   Feb 1920

At Cresson, Pa., the First Church, Rev. J. S. Helm, pastor, received at communion sixteen on profession of faith and nine by letter. Mr. Helm, who is chaplain of the Tuberculosis Sanatorium at this place, a few Sabbaths previously received ten residents of that institution on profession of their faith into Grace Interdenominational Church, and one hundred and nineteen were served at the communion in the chapel and sixty-four in the wards.

 The Film Daily was a daily publication that existed from 1915 to 1970 in the United States. For 55 years, Film Daily was the main source of news on the film and television industries. It covered the latest trade news, film reviews and equipment breakthroughs.  The following item is from the Friday January 2, 1942 Issue  (Bottom of page 8).


Elects Simplex Equipment

Cresson, Pa. — Simplex Four-Star

Sound has been selected for the

Cresson Sanatorium here. Super

Simplex Projectors, Simplex Lamps

and National Rectifiers completed

the job. Installation was made by

the Pittsburgh Branch of National

Theater Supply Co.