|Opened||1899, (boarding school) 1939, (sanitarium).|
|Closed||1933, (boarding school) mid 1960s, (sanitarium).|
|Location||Rapid City, South Dakota's West Side|
The Sioux Sanitarium is a historical building that is now a public hospital in Rapid City, South Dakota. The buildings on the hospital campus may be demolished to make way for state of the art medical buildings, but construction is years away.
Located in Rapid City, South Dakota's west side, it started out as a boarding school for Indians in the 1898. The Native Americans from the Sioux, Cheyenne, Shoshone, Arapaho, Crow, and Flathead tribes were forced into the government institution to be taught the white man's way of life. Abuse and neglect were prominent, so was death. Runaways were caught and dragged back to the school. It has been reported that many children died due to abuse or neglect. It was closed in 1933.
The building remained empty for many years until the outbreak of Tuberculosis in the early 1900s. The building was then converted into a massive hospital called the Sioux Sanitarium for Native American TB patients in 1939. These years were the worst in it's history. Experimental procedures were tested on the patients. The disease spread like wildfire with no cure in sight. Despite being the "best" treatment for Tuberculosis, thousands died. After the patenting of streptomycin, the hospital closed in the 1960s.
The building remained empty for several years until it was converted into a public hospital and named the Sioux San Hospital (derived from sanitarium). The hospital still has numerous, unmarked graves around the campus; not only from the TB patients, but also from the Indian children. Nobody has dug to find the bodies yet. It has currently been renovated into a public hospital. Recently, reports have got out that the city plans to demolish the old and run down buildings to make way for state of the art medical buildings. As the buildings are so historical, debate was sparked almost instantly. Despite this, constrution is years away, maybe even a decade.