Sioux Sanitarium

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Sioux Sanitarium
Construction Began Late 1800s
Closed mid 1930s, (boarding school) 1960s, (sanitorium).
Current Status Active
Location 3200 Canyon Lake Drive, Rapid City, South Dakota
Alternate Names
  • Sioux San Hospital (current)
  • Sioux Sanitorium

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, it started out as a boarding school for Indians in the late 1800s. It has been reported that many children died due to abuse or cold weather. 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 TB patients. 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, almost all of the sanitariums (including the Sioux Sanitarium) in the United States were closed down in the 1940s through the 60s. 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. It has currently been renevated 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.

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