W.T. Edwards Sanitarium
|W.T. Edwards Sanitarium|
|Building Style||Single Building|
|Alternate Names||W.T. Edwards Tuberculosis Hospital Sunland Hospital at Tallahassee.|
Though information is vague, Florida archives note W. T. Edwards as an important figure in state healthcare, donating significant amounts of money to various medical facilities. When a new series of state-of-the-art tuberculosis hospitals opened in roughly 1952, they were named in honor of W. T. Edwards. The hospitals were located all over the state of Florida, including Tampa, Lantana, Marianna, Tallahassee, Miami and several other cities in south Florida.
All of the hospital buildings were constructed in the same basic way. The main buildings were all very long and thin, consisting of 5 floors with a few smaller wings branching off from the main building. At the time, it was thought that fresh air was the best treatment for TB, so the buildings were riddled with multi-pane windows which could be opened by cranks. The back side of each building was a wall of windows, while the front windows were more evenly spaced apart, especially in sections that did not house patients.
It is also rumored on various fanmade websites, but not confirmed officially, that the deceased TB patients were incinerated in the basement furnaces. This is quite likely, since due to the contagiousness of the disease, bodies were often burned rather than buried. This would give way to stories of hauntings in later years.
When the vaccine for TB was discovered, there was no longer a need for tuberculosis hospitals and the W. T. Edwards Hospitals were all closed by the start of the 1960s. The facilities fell under the jurisdiction of the Florida Department of Health and it wouldn't take long for the hospitals to reopen as Sunlands across the state.
In 1967 the hospital reopened under the Sunland system and admitted it's first ten residents. However, very early on in it's second existence, the center was plagued by a lack of funds and staff leading to rumors of neglect and abuse. The center was soon closed in 1983 where it lay abandoned until it was demolished in 2006.
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