Blue Ridge Preventorium Timeline

· April of 1922:

It is suggested at a Meeting of the State Board of Health Committee for Blue Ridge Sanatorium that a separate building be set aside for the treatment of tuberculosis children.

April 6, 1922:

Minutes of the 36th Meeting of the State Board of Health Committee for Blue Ridge Sanatorium:

Moved by Dr. Williams, duly seconded and carried, that at the discretion of the superintendent and Medical Director one of the pavilions be set aside for the treatment of tuberculosis children. (Blue Ridge: Box #6, Folder #36).

· April 1922:

Dr. Brown (then director of Blue Ridge) receives a letter from Dr. Lloyd (director of the Monroe County Tuberculosis Sanatorium in
Rochester, N.Y.) concerning the potential of establishing a preventorium in Virginia.

April 4, 1922

(Letter from J. Lloyd, M.D., director of the Monroe County Tuberculosis Sanatorium in Rochester, N.Y. to Dr. Brown, director of the Blue Ridge Sanatorium:

Dr. Lloyd states: I believe, just as all the rest of them men in tuberculosis work do, that if we are going to get anywhere in the fight that we must provide not only sanatorium capacity for the curable and advanced cases, but early diagnosis and attention for children so that they might not break down with tuberculosis. I should like to see Virginia have a preventorium in each of the large cities and a sanatorium large enough to care for all the active cases in children (Blue Ridge: Box #6, Folder #6).

· June 29, 1922: The first separate building for children is established at Blue Ridge. The Thomas Pavilion is designated as the Children's pavilion.

· September 1922: formal proposals are made for the construction of a pavilion at Blue Ridge that is specifically designed for the treatment of children.

September 30, 1922: Statement made at the Meeting of the State Board of Health Committee for Blue Ridge Sanatorium:

The 'Thomas' pavilion which we are now using for children is of a type of construction that is not very well adapted for children's needs. It would be well to have a pavilion built especially for early, ambulant cases among chi8ldren with an adequate school room attached in order4 to give them the best possible advantages. The present children's pavilion could then be used as an infirmary where bone tuberculosis as well as the pulmonary type could be treated. Children on the infirmary with adult patients are often a source of annoyance to those around them (Blue Ridge: Box #3, Folder #24).

October 1, 1923: Letter to Dr. Ennion G. Williams, State Health Commissioner from Dr. Brown, Superintendent and director of Blue Ridge:

The Thomas Building, which had been occupied by men, was opened for the treatment of childhood cases. Since the opening of this pavilion, there has been an approximate average of thirty-five children under treatment and there is still a small waiting list…Up to the time of the opening of this pavilion, there was not an adequate place in the state for the treatment and care of children, suffering from tuberculosis. The prevalence of the disease and the demand for such a place was responsible for this move. Many children, who were only suspect or contact cases, in which a positive diagnosis could not be made, were admitted. These children were given the benefit of the doubt and were considered as suspicious, and treated until their general condition permitted their returning home…Every attempt has been made to create a homelike environment that would make for contentment and happiness (Blue Ridge: Box # 3, Folder #23).

March 10, 1923: Minutes of the 41st Meeting of the State Board of Health Committee for the Blue Ridge Sanatorium:

Moved by Dr. Drewry, duly and seconded and carried, resolved that it is the sense of this committee that a separate provision should be made as early as practicable for the special care and treatment of tuberculosis, orthopedic children and further resolved that the Superintendent is hereby instructed to submit to this committee a detailed plan meeting these requirements at the next meeting (Blue Ridge: Box #6, Folder #35)

· March 19, 1926: The Children's Pavilion at Blue Ridge opens. It is named
"The Garrett" in honor of W.A. Garrett of Danville, Virginia, who served in the
General Assembly of the state of Virginia.

Report of the Superintendent and Medical Director of Blue Ridge Sanatorium for the period from Feb. 11, 1926 to April 7, 1926:

On March 19, 1926, the children's unit was opened for occupancy. This unit has its own dining room and kitchen; and in this way the main dining hall has been relieved so that we can take care of more adult patients in that. We have found this unit to be of great help in caring for the children. The are kept under much better observation than we could previously give them, and their sunporch enables heliotheraphy to be given all in whom it is indicated. We find that children taking heliotheraphy assimilate their food better and make steadier gains in weight than those who do not (Blue Ridge: Box #6, Folder #31).

Blue Ridge History:

The Garrett Building was located away from the adult buildings and was designed as a preventorium for treatment of early forms of childhood tuberculosis. Forty beds, twenty for girls and twenty for boys, housed children from five to fifteen years old. Many of these children were 'underprivileged and undernourished' as Dr. Brown described them. Most were farm children whose parents had TB; they needed the fresh air, rest and wholesome food provided at Blue Ridge to prevent their contracting tuberculosis as they grew older. No 'open' cases of tuberculosis were admitted to the children's building. The Garrett Building had its own dining room and kitchen so that these children were never in contact with adult patients who had tuberculosis. Open-air school was also maintained for the children so that they would not fall behind in their education (Blue Ridge History: Chapter 4, pages 3 & 4).

Blue Ridge History:

Teachers lived in the center of the Children's Building on the second floor. The classroom and nurses' station were on the first floor…. Miss Alline Forrest (one of the two teachers, the other was Mrs.. McCann) stated, "I didn't' do much nursing though…If an accident occurred, we called the Main Building where the doctors were on cal. That happened rarely. These children were not ill with TB, you remember. Some came to us undernourished, but it was usually their parents who had tuberculosis (Blue Ridge History: Chapter 7, page. 4).

One room schooling was the method practiced. The children were from age 5 to 15 years old. The attempt was made to keep all the children on as nearly the same level as possible with their own school back home. (Blue Ridge History: Chapter 7, page. 4).

The children always gave programs at Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter and the Fourth of July. (Blue Ridge History: Chapter 7, page. 5).

June 30, 1926: Annual Report for Blue Ridge Sanatorium for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1926:

On July 15, 1925, contracts were let for the construction of a separate unit for the children. We had long felt the need of this, as we did not think it was advisable to have the children come in contact with the adult patients. This unit, which consists of a 40 bed pavilion and kitchen is constructed of hollow tile stucco. The pavilion has two open wards with a large open-air school room in the middle and two isolation rooms at the other end of each ward. I feel that we can accomplish greater good through this unit than we have been able to heretofore. The main purpose of the isolation rooms is to isolate all children when they are admitted for a period of 2 weeks in order to lessen the probability of introducing acute infectious diseases among the little patients. (Blue Ridge Box #3: Folder #20).

· 1940s: Discussion of closing the Preventorium begins:

1946 Blue Ridge Annual Report:

The "Garrett Building," now used as a Preventorium for children, has, for some time, been a source of concern to us. Whether the purpose for which it is used will justify continuing with it is the point involved.

Dr. Meyers, who ran the Lyman-Hurst School o f Tuberculous Children in Minneapolis, Minnesota, from his work, felt it was not usually necessary to hospitalize children with primary tuberculous infections, unless the infection was massive and unhealed, and unless there was also present a reinfection form of clinical tuberculosis disease….He maintained that removing from the home the source of infection of the child, or breaking the contact, was all that was necessary. Since the publication of Myer's work, many Preventoria for children throughout the country have been closed. There have been some who though that our Building was no longer needed for the purpose for which we are using it, but should also be closed and the facilities used for the treatment of adult reinfection types of cases.

During the last few years, there has been a noticeable lag in the number of applications received.

With the urgent need for treatment of ill adult patients, and considering the difficulty of getting suitable help to properly operate the Sanatorium, it is believed by us advisable to close the Garrett Building and use the personnel on other Buildings to help relieve the acute shortage. (Blue Ridge History: Chapter 7, page.6).

· In June of 1950, the Children's Preventorium closes.

Letter to Dr. L.J. Roper, State Health Commissioner from
Frank B. Stafford, Superintendent and Medical Director of Blue Ridge:

On June 1, 1950, the Children's Building, or Preventorium was closed. For several years there has been a steady decline in the number of applications received requesting this kind of treatment. Most of these cases formerly sent to us are now being cared for in the home by the physicians. It was finally decided to close the building and transfer the personnel to the main part of the sanatorium where it was badly needed. The building will be used for housing some of the nurses aides from the crowded nurses home and when the new nurses' home is completed they will be moved to it and the laboring class of white men employed by the sanatorium, and now located in the basement of the Trinkle building will be moved to this building (Blue Ridge: Box #13, Folder #15).

Go to back to Main Page