Washington Sanitarium and Hospital

From Asylum Projects
Jump to: navigation, search
Washington Sanitarium and Hospital
Established 1903
Construction Began 1906
Opened 1907
Demolished 1982
Current Status Demolished
Building Style Single Building
Location Washington, DC
Alternate Names
  • Washington Adventist Hospital


The Adventists, then headquartered in Battle Creek, Mich., bought the land after a Boston physician, Dr. Flower, spent $60,000 clearing the property for a medical institution but ran into financial troubles and had to abandon the project. The mortgage holder ‘‘gladly sold the land to the Seventh-day Adventist group for $6,000,” according to the Seventh-day Adventist Encyclopedia, Second Edition. Construction on the four-story building began in 1906 and it opened June 13, 1907, as the Washington Sanitarium and Hospital. At the time, Takoma Park was a resort community with homes dotted among trees. One of the hospital's first major investments was the purchase of a local dairy farm to obtain fresh milk for patients. The hospital provided training for nurses and medics during World War I and introduced ambulance services in 1924.

A nurses dormitory was built in 1909; the old hospital building in 1918; additions to the main building in 1920; the Lisner Memorial wing in 1940; a new $1.4 million six-story hospital expansion in 1950; a five-bed coronary care unit in 1967; and an addition to the coronary care unit in 1975. In 1970, the hospital launched its largest expansion project to date: a four-year $12.5 million project that added 180,000 square feet, increased hospital beds to 366 and provided a mental health unit with 43 beds.

In 1976, when the Joint Commission on Hospital Accreditation and the Maryland state fire marshal adopted new fire codes. Because the old sanitarium building was largely made of wood, it was no longer up to code. With renovation costs in excess of $5 million, the hospital sought to raze the building. Residents, however, opposed that plan. Over the next two years, in a series of well-publicized battles, residents fought the hospital to keep the building from being demolished, but eventually lost. In 1982, the historic building was torn down.