Tuberculosis Sanatorium

Tuberculosis was a considerable public health concern throughout the first half of the 20th century. In the Jim Crow-era South, tuberculosis ranked the highest among African-Americans living in poverty. As the Progressive Era called for an increasing level of government responsibility for public health, sanatoriums became the favored prescription for disease control and tuberculosis treatment. By the 1920s, tuberculosis was even the leading killer of young adults.

In 1936, with thousands of reported cases, construction began on a larger sanatorium. The new hospital opened in 1938 with 268 beds.
At the time, there was no cure for tuberculosis. Being diagnosed with the disease was essentially a death sentence. The sanatorium was vastly overcrowded to the point patient beds lined the hallways.
Due to a long waiting list, patient treatment was limited to 18 months. However, the most severe patients spent years in quarantine.


A cure was not developed until the 1950s. Tuberculosis became so widespread that almost every person in South Carolina had a family member afflicted with the disease.
This wood-framed Administration Building is one of the oldest buildings in the complex. In the early years, the sanatorium operated as a self-sustaining farm with 200 acres.
The first black patients were admitted with the opening of Palmetto Hall, later known as the Palmetto Division. The sanatorium remained a racially segregated institution throughout its history as a state-operated facility.


After years of a steady decline in patients, the sanatorium closed in the 1980s.

4 Replies to “Tuberculosis Sanatorium”

  1. I was wondering where this is located as well as I was told the middle school I attended was once a TB sanatorium. This one looks similar as much as I can recall.


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