Denmar Sanitarium

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Denmar Sanitarium
Established 1917
Opened 1919
Closed 1990
Current Status Active
Building Style Cottage Plan
Location Denmar, WV
Peak Patient Population 180 (1961 pop.)
Alternate Names
  • West Virginia Colored Tuberculosis Sanitarium
  • Denmar Correctional Center (current)


February 16, 1917, the legislature approved the establishment of a similar facility for African Americans. The West Virginia Board of Control purchased 185 acres of land and several buildings at Denmar in Pocahontas County from the Maryland Lumber Company. Denmar was chosen for it's high altitudes, which were beneficial to those with lung diseases. In January 1919, the West Virginia Colored Tuberculosis Sanitarium at Denmar admitted its first patients. However, the hospital accepted only those who could pay for their own care, creating hardships for many tuberculosis sufferers. Some patients arrived at the sanitariums by order of city or county governments, which were trying to contain the disease. The West Virginia Penitentiary also sent prisoners to the sanitariums to avoid infecting other inmates.

The number of patients at Denmar grew quickly and forced the state to add children's dormitories and a school . To alleviate overcrowding, the legislature funded a new building in 1937. Medical science gradually developed more effective means to diagnose and treat tuberculosis. In 1957, the state converted Denmar to a hospital for the chronically ill and moved the remaining tuberculosis patients to the newly integrated Hopemont facility. Between 1960 and 1961 Denmar saw it's population nearly double from 100 to 180. In 1965, the Hopemont Sanitarium also became a hospital for the chronically ill but continued to admit tuberculosis patients.

The Denmar State Hospital closed in 1990 and was converted to a correctional facility in 1993. During the 1993 session of the West Virginia Legislature, funds were appropriated to the Division of Corrections for renovation and occupation of the facility now known as Denmar Correctional Center. In December 1998, the Regional Jail Authority provided funding for a building project at Denmar. The project included a Multi-Purpose Building, a Correctional Industries/Vocational Building and a new roof for the Greenbrier Birthing Center. The building project was completed in January of 2000.[1]

Images of Denmar Sanitarium[edit]