Gardner Sanitarium

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Gardner Sanitarium
Established 1900
Opened 1901
Closed 1923
Current Status Preserved
Building Style Single Building
Location Belmont, CA
Alternate Names


On 18 Aug 1900, Dr. Alden Monroe Gardner, medical superintendent for the State Asylum for the Insane at Napa, purchased the Ralston estate in Belmont for $35,000 from the Union Trust Company of San Francisco. This was to be the home of the Gardner Sanitarium, the state’s 1st private mental sanitarium. As advertised in the California State Journal of Medicine in 1904, the sanitarium specialized in nervous disorders, including substance abuse and also served those recovering from serious illness. The Report of the Commission of Lunacy v.6 (Sacramento: 1908 California Commission of Lunacy p106) - Gardner Sanitarium- Belmont stated that the minimum rate for care at the sanitarium wass $125 a month. There were at that time 33 patients with a maximum bed count of 60. Nurses did not wear uniforms, so patients would not stand out. The 79 acre estate allowed patients to roam without interacting with the public.

Although Dr. Gardner died as a patient in his own sanitarium in 1913, his son P.S. (Sherman) Gardner continued to run it until 1922. In 1923 the Ralston property was sold to the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur. They had been looking to relocate their college from San Jose. Today, ninety years later, Ralston Hall, mainly closed as funding is sought for seismic restoration is still a part of Notre Dame de Namur University.