Cresson TB Sanatorium Remembered

59. Eleanor Evans

From: "Bruce D. Evans" 
Subject: Eleanor Evans  

Mr. Felton:


My Mother, Eleanor Evans, was a teacher at the Cresson Tuberculosis Sanatorium from 1958 to 1960.  I am one of her four sons. We lived on a farm about one mile West of Cresson. At the time she was working on her doctrate degree from Penn State.  How could I determine whether any of the former patients of the Sanatorium remember her?


Bruce Evans


 Bruce and his brother Geoffrey submitted the following story and photo of their mother Eleanor Evans and would enjoy hearing from anyone who knew her.  You can contact them as follows:                                                                 

Bruce              Goeffrey 


Eleanor Evans in January 1951

             Teaching at the San 

Our mother, Eleanor Evans, was a teacher at the San from about 1958 to 1960.  After her youngest son (of four boys) left home to pursue his education, Mother began to think about extending her own.  She was graduated from Goucher College in 1926.  She applied for and was accepted by Cornell for a master’s degree.  At that point she had a difficult decision, more education or marriage.  Marriage was the choice.

Her first bout of teaching was in West Virginia.  She taught English and Latin.   Her stories about those classes and her students clearly revealed how much she enjoyed that job.  After a number of years, her husband’s career returned them to his home town, Ebensburg, Pennsylvania.  They lived in Ebensburg and added two more boys to the 2 born while in West Virginia.

Another promotion for Dad transferred him to Pittsburgh.  Once again a move faced them.  Our parents believed that raising four boys on a farm was preferable to raising them in the suburbs.  They purchased a farm about a mile from Cresson.  Mother chose to run the farm.  Dad commuted weekly to Pittsburgh.

When the time came that the last of the four left the nest to pursue his education, Mother decided to return to the academic world.   With some anxiety, she began taking courses at St. Francis College in Loretto.   Soon she gained her confidence and applied to Penn State for a master’s program in counselor education.  She was accepted and completed the master’s and was encouraged by the faculty to pursue the doctorate.  She did very well and completed her course work quite rapidly.  That put her in the position of the informal “degree” of A.B.D. (All But Dissertation).  

While she was working on her dissertation, she wanted to return to teaching.  The San was looking for teachers.  She joined the staff, making the full complement of two teachers.   The requirement for those two teachers was that they teach whatever was needed by the patients.  Mother taught English (which she had taught before) as well as history, mathematics and several others.  When she would come back to the house at the end of the day she was tired and energized.

She talked about her students and how they wanted to tell her what they were struggling with both in the subject and in their lives.  She was gratified that they showed trust in her.  The time she spent at the San was special to her.

In the winter of 1960, Mother had a fall, which injured her knee.  Apparently the wound became infected.  The infection caused her great difficulty and she had to give up her San job.  Mother died in 1962 from complications caused by that infection.