Cresson TB Sanatorium Remembered
Email 8
From: marie knisley <>
Subject: Unclear memories from Cresson Sanitarium
Date: May 2012

In the early 40's my sister and I were taken to Cresson Sanitarium along with my mother and father. My father, Harvey Carroll, had tried to join the military and was diagnosed with tuberculosis. Most of this story is only what was told to me. My sister, mother and I did not have TB. I was only 2 and my sister was 4, so the memories are vague.

I remember large communal bathtubs with "shower heads", short uniform-like outfits, a mean nurse, a large playground where if my sister remembers correctly, a child was hurt badly or was killed. My father served cocoa at night (I think) to patients.

I don't know if we were there a month or a year. It was later discovered that my father had scar tissue (not TB) only on his lungs and we all were released. My parents both died very early (not of TB) and my sister and I never got the whole story and we have these horror stories in our heads.

We would like to know if there are any records kept of the years from around 1942-1944. I recently found this picture of my father serving at the sanitarium.

I am now 72 years old and I feel I need some closure to that part of my life.
Sincerely yours,
Marie Carroll Knisley
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1.  Harvey Carroll on the left and another man working at the san.  The stainless steel tubs and mobile food tray rack behind them indicate they worked in the kitchen.

2.  Harvey and Marie Carroll at Ohiopyle, Pa. in 1936 during their honeymoon.

3.  The Carroll family.

From: Barbara Hastings
Sent: Jun 27, 2012 
Subject: Cresson
Hello Chuck,
Last evening as I was flipping through the television channels I came across a story on WQED (Pittsburgh).    It was your story on Cresson.   I was amazed at what I learned.

My mother, Alice Walutes Dobrosky, had been a patient at Cresson a few years before I was born in 1950.  She lived in Avonmore, Pennsylvania which is about 1-1/2 hours from Cresson.  As told in your story at that time you didn't really talk about people with TB and when I was old enough my mother used to have me tested every year for the disease.

She had several photos from her time there and as soon as I locate them I will share them with you and people on your website.  I would be interested to see if anyone in the pictures remembers my mother.  I have always wanted to learn more about the San but just didn't know where to start. Thanks to you I have found a way.

I live near Indiana Pa which is only about 1 hour from Cresson and my husband and I go by there quite often when he travels for his job. I also did not know the San is now a prison.  I always wondered what happened or if was being operated as a hospital.
Once again thank you for allowing people to communicate through your website.
Barbara Hastings   


Left:  Alice hams it up for the camera with a cloth on her forehead and a thermometer in her mouth while getting her pulse taken by a nurse.

Right:  A fellow patient and Alice on the porch.

From: Judith Gnibus
Sent: Nov 22, 2011  
Subject: Cresson TB Sanatorium Remembered

Hello Chuck,My name is Judith Gnibus and I am another person who spent time at the Cresson TB Sanatorium.  I did not have TB but my mother was diagnosed with it at an early age. I was quite young at the time, around two years old.  She was admitted to Cresson and because I was in daily contact with her I too had to be admitted and spent time in the Children's Home.  I remember it as being a very traumatic experience for me in that I was taken from my mother and in a strange place.  My father was devasted when my mother had to leave to go to Cresson and then even more so when I had to go.  My father visited as often as he was allowed and I can remember wanting very much just to be with my mother.  When my father would come to see my mother and me he would take me out of the Children's Home and over to the building where she was so I could see her from the window in her ward.  I remember the day when he came to get me and I asked when I could be with my mother.  He told me that she had gone to heaven to be with God and the angels.  I remember I started to cry and wanted to go to heaven so that I could be with her.  I was discharged from Cresson shortly after she passed away and it was determined that I had not contracted TB.  As young as I was, I have never forgotten my experience at Cresson and I have often wondered about some of the other people who were there during the time that I was there, in particular at the Children's Home.   

I watched the program on the Cresson TB Sanatorium that was aired on WQED.  It was quite meaningful to me as I'm sure it was to others who spent time there.  I'm glad that you recovered and have had a most productive life.  I'm also happy that you created the website that is not only informative but helps to give those of us who were there an opportunity to get to know others and share our thoughts about the experience. 

I would like to continue to keep in touch with you.  You have quite a few people listed on your website that I think I would like to share some of my thoughts as well.  I am a resident of  Western Pennsylvania and live in a community that is close to Pittsburgh. 

My professional background is in education and public health.
 I look forward to hearing from you. 

Sincerely,Judith Gnibus 

From: Madolin Edwards
Sent: Aug 23, 2012
Subject: Saw Cresson Sanatorium

Hi Charles,
This is Madolin Edwards from Meyersdale in Pennsylvania. We received a press release at our newspaper about the TV show on the Cresson TB Sanatorium being aired and I remembered seeing the story last year in the Tribune-Democrat about the reunion you had. I cut it out at the time and sent it to my Uncle Dick in Shade Gap, PA. My mom was in the sanatorium around 1935. Her name was Dorris Jaymes. Their mother had died of TB and mom, who was 6 at the time, was sent to Cresson as a precaution.

Mom died 20 years ago of cancer, but I remember her telling us only of 2 things about her stay there. She was in quarantine and remembered seeing the other kids looking in the window at her one day. She didn't know why until later when her dad and brother Dick, who was 8, came to see her to tell her that her mother had died. She said after they left, she went to tell the other kids and they already knew. She figured that was the day they were staring at her in her room. She was very hurt they knew her mother had died before she did.

She also remembered after quarantine that the kids were in one big room of beds. Mom didn't get along with one of the other girls so after the bed check one night, my mom crawled under everybody's bed to this other girl's bed. She laid flat on her back on the floor and all at once pushed up on the mattress with both her hands and feet, jarring the girl in bed who screamed. By the time people came running, mom was innocently back in bed and the girl got in trouble for causing a disturbance. Mom laughed at that.

The only thing my Uncle Dick Jaymes said about the article after he read it was that he remembered going to Cresson to tell mom their mother had died. He said their dad wanted in the worst way to take her home with them, not leave her there devastated and alone to deal with her grief, but the administration wouldn't allow him. Uncle Dick said that was the only time he had ever seen his dad cry.

When I saw the press release I decided I would get in touch with you. I read one of the articles on your site submitted by somebody who was there in 1935, but he was older so he probably wouldn't have seen my mom. When I have more time I'll look through some of the others. It is kind of hard because I don't know if I want to know what mom went through, but yet it might tell me a little more about why she was the person she turned out to be (the best mom ever by the way!).

Madolin Edwards
Home and Family and
Community News editor