Ray Brook State Hospital

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Ray Brook State Hospital
Opened 1904
Current Status Active
Building Style Cottage Plan
Location Ray Brook, NY
Alternate Names
  • New York State Hospital for Incipient Pulmonary Tuberculosis
  • State Hospital for Tubercular Patients, Ray Brook, New York
  • Adirondack Correctional Facility


The New York State Hospital for Incipient Pulmonary Tuberculosis (as it was originally named), was commonly known simply as "Ray Brook." Opened in 1904, Ray Brook was the first New York State-operated tuberculosis sanatorium, and the second in the United States, after Massachusetts. After a protracted study of alternative sites, New York State chose to establish its hospital in the highly-regarded fresh air of the Adirondack Mountains, near the critical mass of tuberculosis experts in Saranac Lake.

Although medical developments made sanatoria obsolete starting in the mid-1950s, the State Hospital at Ray Brook continued to operate until the mid-1960s. The property was then transferred from the Department of Health to the new Drug Addiction Control Commission, combining enforcement and treatment; in 1971 the new facility opened as the Ray Brook Rehabilitation Center, housing 70 to 130 women addicts. However, it was judged a failure, and closed within five years. It was succeeded by a camp program for adult inmates, "Camp Adirondack". Working with the Department of Environmental Conservation, "campmen", as inmates were known, were employed in logging, sawmill, wildlife preservation, construction of campsites and snowmobile and cross-country ski trails, and construction of a toboggan run at the Mount Pisgah ski area. The camp also constructed the Ice Palace each winter for the Saranac Lake Winter Carnival.

With the selection of Lake Placid for the 1980 Winter Olympics the inmates worked on the Olympic trails at Mount Van Hoevenburg. The camp facilities were used for Olympic staff housing, which led to renovation of the water treatment plant, sewage system, housing and food service areas. During the games, the inmates were relocated to other prison facilities in the state, and were replaced by 900 State Police and 300 U.S. Customs Bureau personnel, National Guard and security forces of foreign governments who provided security for the Games. Two hundred acres of the Camp Adirondack was used as the site for the Olympic Village; after the games it became a new federal prison, the Federal Correctional Institution, Ray Brook.

The newly improved facilities allowed a substantial increase in the prison population, which led to the erection of the first security fence around the perimeter of the complex. In 1981, Camp Adirondack was designated a medium-security facility and renamed the Adirondack Correctional Facility. It presently is rated as a 700-man, medium-security prison, and employs 311.[1]