A little more than a century ago, a horrendous description of an Adirondack village appeared in newspapers, including the Mail and Express published in New York City. At issue was the placement of a yet-to-be-built tubercular sanitarium. Feelings ran so high at the time, you’d swear they were selecting the next Supreme Court justice. But taking sides is nothing new, as proved by use of the written word back then to describe one of the candidate locations. As you’ll see, it’s hard to believe they were talking about the same place. [Read more…] about The Most Negative Sales Pitch Ever: An Adirondack Story
Very little is documented about medicine in Schenectady County during the 19th century. There are few hospital records to review; Ellis Hospital was not founded until 1885; and the Schenectady County Medical Society did not meet between 1843 and 1869.
We can however, glean some insight into this period from old newspapers, a wonderful book on the 134th NY Volunteer Infantry, minutes of the Schenectady Common Council, and old stories from the Efner Center and the Schenectady County Historical Society library. [Read more…] about Medical Practice in 19th Century Schenectady
Edward Livingston Trudeau was born in 1848 in New York City to a family of physicians. During his late teens, his elder brother James contracted tuberculosis (TB) and Edward nursed him until his death three months later. At twenty, he enrolled in the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia College (now Columbia University), completing his medical training in 1871. Two years later, he was diagnosed with TB too.
Following current climate-therapeutic theories that promoted the relocation of patients to regions with atmospheric conditions favorable to recuperation, he moved to the Adirondack Mountains. Seeking as much open air as he possible could, almost continuously living outside, he subsequently regained his health. In 1876 he settled in Saranac Lake and established a small medical practice. It was the beginning of a remarkable career and a new chapter in American medical history. [Read more…] about Modernist Architecture, Literature, and the Adirondack Cottage Sanatorium
The site of the present Sampson State Park in Romulus, Seneca County, NY was formerly the site of the Sampson Navy Base. As the United States found itself at war following the attack on Pearl Harbor in late 1941, the U.S. Navy had an immediate need for sailors. Basic training bases, or boot camps, were constructed across the country to meet this emergency requirement. [Read more…] about Sampson State Park’s Remarkable Military, Education & Public Health History
Living at “Homestead,” Saratoga County’s Tuberculosis Sanatorium, was never easy – especially in winter.
In December of 1914 the first patients were admitted to the newly built facility. The site, located on land in the Town of Providence donated by Horace Carpentier years before, was in an extremely rural part of the county. There was no public transportation and the access road was impassable during winter. [Read more…] about Loneliness: Winter At Saratoga County’s Tuberculosis Sanatorium
The Grant Cottage State Historic Site, a 19th century residence where U.S. President Ulysses S. Grant completed his memoirs shortly before his death, has been named a National Historic Landmark by the National Park Service. [Read more…] about Grant Cottage Named National Historic Landmark
Saranac Lake, NY’s history is full of professionals in medicine and science who had a passion for learning and an intense curiosity about the natural world. [Read more…] about Doctors in the Garden of Science
During the era of TB in New York State the fresh air cure wasn’t all a bed of roses.
First-hand accounts left behind in letters, photographs, diaries, and memoirs paint a picture of life in Saranac Lake during the TB years. It’s an incomplete record that can lead us to believe curing was an overwhelmingly positive experience. It takes energy, time, and a degree of mental and physical well being to leave behind a personal record. People who were very ill, illiterate, or struggling with poverty did not have the same opportunity to create, or later preserve, accounts of their experiences. [Read more…] about Sad Side of TB Treatment History Has Echoes Today
As autumn approaches, schools are thinking about ways to keep students safe by maximizing time outdoors. The concept of outside instruction is not new.
Leading up to the Second World War, open air schools were built in the United States and Europe to protect children from tuberculosis.
In Saranac Lake, in the heart of the Adirondacks, where temperatures in the winter tend to stay well below freezing, some children attended unheated, open air classrooms. [Read more…] about Fresh Air Schools: Teaching Outdoors For Public Health
This week on The Historians Podcast, Amy Catania of Historic Saranac Lake explains how that upstate New York community became a center for the treatment of tuberculosis. [Read more…] about A History of TB Treatment at Saranac Lake