Otter Tail County Sanatorium

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Otter Tail County Sanatorium
Established 1912
Opened 1913
Closed 1954
Demolished 1979
Current Status Demolished
Building Style Single Building
Location Amor Twp., MN
Alternate Names


In 1912, the Otter Tail County Commissioners voted to purchase land and erect a building for the care of tuberculosis patients. The building was located on the Northwest side of Otter Tail Lake. A frame building was erected in 1913, and dedicated in October of the same year. There was room for 37 beds in the original building.

An addition was added to the kitchen on the north end of the building a few years later, making the overall length of the building 126 feet long by about 50 feet wide.

History that was made by people who served as doctors, nurses and people helping in any way to help serve the patients seems to be lost at this time. Many persons were healed and went out to live active lives, but others died at the Sanatorium and had families, relatives or friends that saw to their burial. At least five patients died that had no one to claim their bodies, so were buried in the field west of the sanatorium, across the road. No records of who were buried out that have been found at present. However, something may come to light some day. (Addition: In 2009 Signe Boyesen's name was added to our list of known burials at this site based on her death record. She died May 11, 1917.)

Kenneth Peterson who lives in the area, went with the writer to the place where the patients were buried and gave this information: When Kenny was in his teens, the doctor at the sanatorium hired him to do odd jobs. On the jobs was to help build a coffin, dig the grave and bury the last patient (a man who died at the sanatorium without relatives and friends). Wooden crosses made of 2x4's marked the graves. It was Kenny's job to paint the crosses white every other year as long as the doctor was in charge. We found one stake in the ground with the cross piece laying on the ground. Now a steel post with a red top marks the site. Depressions in the ground mark the other four graves.

By 1954, with the knowledge of new drugs and methods of treatments, only a few patients were left in the big building. Consequently, the patients were moved to the sanatorium in Walker, MN. The old sanatorium was used for a county nursing home for a year or two until a new nursing home was built, between the old sanatorium and county road 1. The old sanatorium was sold to the Osher family on August 1, 1979. The building was torn down and so ends its history. A marker was placed at the end of the old sidewalk that led to the front door of the Sanatorium by efforts of the Historical Society with approval of the County Commissioners who appropriated money for the cost of the marker."

In 2012 the nursing home (most recently known as the Golden Living Care Center) closed and was sold to a private company. We are unsure of what happened to the monument. [1]


There is a small cemetery that remains on the property, it contains 127 graves, none are marked.