Ohio County Tuberculosis Sanitarium

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Ohio County Tuberculosis Sanitarium
Established 1922
Opened 1928
Closed 1972
Current Status Closed
Building Style Cottage Plan
Location Roney's Point, WV
Alternate Names
  • Roney's Point Sanitarium
  • Roney's Point Tuberculosis Hospital
  • Ohio County Poor Farm



History[edit]

On March 16, 1922, a survey of Tuberculosis in Ohio County began. This survey was a joint venture between numerous organizations whose main goal was combating Tuberculosis. It was conducted under the direction of the WV State Board of Health with the cooperation of the following agencies; United States Public Health Service, West Virginia Tuberculosis Association, Ohio County Medical Society, Wheeling and Ohio County Health Departments, Ohio County Tuberculosis League, Women's Club of Wheeling, and the Wheeling Chamber of Commerce. The plan of the survey was to get in touch with every known case of Tuberculosis and establish clinics for the discovery of more cases. The total number of cases reported during the survey was 1316. Of this number, 240 were found to be active cases, 44 were inactive, 332 were suspect and 30 died. The rest were either negative or surveyors were unable to locate.

The 1928 "Christmas Seal" money was used to help the county commission open a 14 bed, fully equipped sanitarium on the Ohio County farm which was located on Battle Run. This original Battle Run site was operated until 1934, when need for a larger facility and the means to obtain one became available. At this time the building which housed the sanitarium was turned over to the Fresh Air Farm, to be used as a summer camp for poor children and for the children of those suffering with Tuberculosis.

In September of 1936, a 40-bed sanatorium was opened on the county farm location. The cost of the institution was $188,000. It was financed in part by the Anti-Tuberculosis League, Federal WPA and funds provided by the county. In October of 1942, a fund was started by Mrs. J. D. Merriman in memory of her husband to build a Nurses' Residence at the Roneys Point Sanitarium. The league added $3,010.00 to the project in February 1943, but the project was abandoned in November 1943 due to insufficient funds.

From September 1944 to June 1945 the League supplemented the salaries of persons working at the sanitarium. The supplement was 10 percent of their monthly salaries. If the League had not done this the sanitarium would have closed, as the county did not have the money to give pay raises. The league also subsidized the cost of patients staying at the sanitarium until 1948. Over the years the League bought and maintained equipment and provided supplies for the sanitarium. Clothing for the patients was provided and milk was purchased to be delivered to the homes of persons suffering from Tuberculosis to help prevent their children from contracting the disease.

On April 10, 1951, the name of the organization was changed to the Tuberculosis Association of Ohio County. The change in name reflected the changes that were occurring in the treatment and control of Tuberculosis. As the war against Tuberculosis waged on, other drugs were being used to help those suffering with this formerly fatal disease. Isoniazid and pyrazinamide were being used on strains that were now resistant to streptomycin. The TB Patch Test became available as a screening mechanism in 1952 and was provided by the Association for all Ohio County school children. Ohio County ranking 9th in population state wide, had the lowest death rate from Tuberculosis of any of the 13 largest counties. The rate was 8.4 deaths per 100,000 population, while the rate in West Virginia was 16.0, and in the United States, 16.1.

Ohio County stopped operating the poor farm in 1962 and abandon the estate in the mid 1960's. The County sold the property to the State of West Virginia in 1967 at this time the state built a hospital that served as a drug and alcohol, mental behavior treatment center and later a boys and girls detention hall. This building closed in the 1970's and the property transferred back to Ohio County.

Cemetery[edit]

The County Farm Cemetery was established in 1932, and it is no longer active.