Oakdale Tuberculosis Sanatorium
|Oakdale Tuberculosis Sanatorium|
|Building Style||Cottage Plan|
|Location||Iowa City, IA|
The Iowa legislature, pressed by physicians to do something about the alarming number of TB cases, appropriated $50,000 in 1904 to establish a sanatorium. In 1908, Oakdale Tuberculosis Sanatorium, which would remain in use until 1981, opened with an administration building and two cottage-style structures, one for men and one for women. A nurses' station connected the cottages. Bed rest, diet and fresh air were the only known treatments at the time, so the cottages were equipped with long open-air porches. The diet emphasized milk and eggs, and the Sanatorium acquired its own Holstein dairy herd and a large poultry house.
One hundred and five patients were admitted to Oakdale in its first five months. In 1910, the number rose to 506 and peaked at 814 in 1926. The largest proportion of patients were young people 20 - 25 years old. A patient's existence was strictly regimented, with lights out and radios off at 9:00 p.m. Daily naps with absolute quiet were enforced from 1:00 to 4:00. The stresses of homesickness and apprehension about health, in addition to the severe life-style, made life most trying for many patients.