Monday, June 1, 2015

Pleasant View Sanatorium Then & Now

I was sent this postcard of the Pleasant View Sanatorium by the webmaster of the Oberlin In The Past Facebook page, who thought it might make a good subject for the "then and now" treatment. I thought so too, so my thanks to her for her suggestion.

The facility opened in December 1931. A front page photo and caption from the Lorain Times-Herald from December 15, 1931 (at left) stated, "The event awaited for many weeks by residents of Lorain County will take place Wednesday, when the Pleasant View sanatorium between Lorain and Amherst is opened to the public for the first time.

"The new structure, which cost the county $425,000, will be open for inspection by the public between the hours of 2 to 4 p. m. and 6:30 to 9:30 p. m. tomorrow. At that time visitors will be shown through the building, which is modern in every detail and has the most advanced facilities for treatment of tubercular patients.

"The first patients will be admitted to the sanatorium Thursday and it is expected that about 50 men and women will be housed by the end of the week. The sanatorium has a capacity of 76. A staff of between 25 and 30 attendants began their duties in the building Monday."

According to one online source, by the end of the 1930s, more than 800 TB patients had been treated at the facility.

Pleasant View Sanatorium closed on January 16, 1967. Today, the facility is home to Golden Acres Nursing Home.

Here's my "now" shot to correspond with the vintage postcard.

As you can see, since the time of the vintage postcard, a large addition east of the main entrance has altered the building's exterior view. 
You can see the addition better by comparing two aerial views from two time periods. Below is an undated vintage aerial shot of the facility from the Amherst Images of America book.
And here is a modern view, courtesy of Bing Maps.
Special thanks to Rick Kurish for sharing his research for this post.
Of course, many of us local Baby Boomers remember sledding on the property just east of the sanatorium. We also mistakenly thought the building was an insane asylum!

UPDATE (June 8, 2015)
I received a nice email from Peg H., whose father was employed at the Sanatorium. She also sent me a nice digital "souvenir" related to his employment.

She wrote, "My father worked as a custodian at Pleasant View in the late 50's/early 60's.  I have attached an old pay stub (at left) found that was being used as a bookmark when we sold our old home."

"I recall stopping here with him on his days off if he needed to check something or drop something off."

Peg also reveals something that I didn't know about the building. She noted, "I recall there being an underground tunnel from the garage building (furthest building from Leavitt Rd where my dad's "office" was) to the hospital building."

Thanks, Peg, for taking the time to email me with your reminisce!


Silver Spring: Then and Again said...

Hi Dan,

I was in Lorain earlier this week and took lots of photos of this structure (fearful that it will be torn down). Do you know who the architect of this unique art deco structure was? I know a developer who specializes in adaptive reuse of historic structures and want to tell him about the property. Thanks!

Jerry A. McCoy

Dan Brady said...

Hi Jerry,
I'm still upset that the Lorain County Commissioners closed it.

It looks like Frank Wooster Bail was the architect:

Hope you enjoyed your visit to Lorain!

Brian Navalinsky said...

I just photographed it as well. I have lived out of state for over half my life, seen architecture all around the world, built some great buildings myself and still marvel at how this building always moves me with its simultaneous simplicity and complexity. Lorain County has lost so many great buildings, they can't lose this one.

Iris Siefert said...

My father, Anatole Krupenas, was a doctor at the Pleasant View Sanatorium between around 1956 and 1965. We lived on the grounds in that little building that housed the boiler room, upstairs. So many memories, I was between ages 4 and 11 or 12. The building was glorious. I remember it would turn a bit of a gray color at times, then they would sandblast it and it would return to the amazing sandstone hues. I've been reading about it's closure from San Diego, and also felt worried that it would just be torn down, probably to build some cheap big box retail buildings with zero character. I remember sledding on the hill every year, and skating on the pond. People would build a bonfire in the middle where there was a mini-island. such a unique place to grow up, just magical.