Iola Sanatorium

From Asylum Projects
Jump to: navigation, search
Iola Sanatorium
Established 1909
Opened 1911
Closed 1964
Demolished 2013
Current Status Demolished
Building Style Cottage Plan
Architect(s) Charles F. Crandall
Location Rochester, NY
Architecture Style Georgian Revival
Alternate Names
  • Monroe County Tuberculosis Sanatorium


In Monroe County the growing number of tuberculosis cases at the local hospitals during the first decade of the twentieth century led to the effort by the County Board of Supervisors to establish a sanatorium for tuberculosis treatment. The Board of Supervisors engaged in a protracted debate to determine whether the facility should be operated by the County or the City of Rochester.

After that issue was resolved, the County’s Public Buildings Commission undertook a survey of sixty-two potential sites. Despite opposition from some of the Town of Brighton community, use of the Westfall Road site was initiated in 1909 when a tent was erected to temporarily house a handful of patients. Through the winter of that year the tent was heated by kerosene burners. The following spring a portable house was erected on the site.

In 1914 school classes were begun on the campus. Classes were originally held in two tents furnished by Mr. and Mrs. Williams Bausch. Four years later, the campus underwent a major expansion. The three-story Infirmary was built near the center of the site and increased the sanatorium’s capacity to 200 patients. At the same time, a service wing was added to the north side of the administration building to provide kitchen and dining facilities. A short time later, a large one-story surgical wing was added to the north side of the infirmary. The growing number of tuberculosis cases required continued expansion of the sanatorium. By the mid 1920s the facility was treating nearly 600 patients a year.

As the facility grew the original leach field was replaced by a small waste water treatment plant, located on county land south of the complex, just north of the Erie Canal. The now demolished sewage plant was expanded over the years to serve the expanding sanatorium and the new Monroe County Community Hospital constructed across the street. A steam power plant was built in conjunction with the hospital. The power plant is linked to the buildings of the Iola complex as well as the Monroe County Community Hospital complex by an extensive system of concrete utility tunnels. Small flat-roof ventilators, serving the tunnels, are scattered around the complex grounds.

In 1928 a four-story medical wing including x-ray facilities was added to the infirmary. In the late 1920s, with over 400 patients, the Iola Sanatorium was the largest county tuberculosis facility in New York State. A debate over the future use of the facility began in the Monroe County Board of Supervisors before the tuberculosis facility closed its doors in 1964. Beginning in the mid 1960s, most of the existing buildings on the site were converted to office space and storage areas for county departments. The less easily adaptable administration and infirmary buildings were left vacant. Early in the 1970s the County began to develop the southern undeveloped portion of the property. The first building constructed was the Children’s Detention Center located at the base of the slope just east of the former Children’s Building.

During the 1980s several large public works buildings, including the Pure Waters Operations and Storage Facility and the County Fleet Maintenance Garage were built on the site of the former waste water treatment facility. In 1975 the Administration Building was demolished and the area it occupied was converted to parking serving the county offices located in the former Children’s Building. The Infirmary was demolished in 1982. In 1999 Monroe County, citing high maintenance costs and the desire to consolidate county offices, relocated the county departments housed at the site to leased space in downtown Rochester. [1]

The remaining buildings on the property were demolished in the summer of 2013.