Brawner's Sanitarium

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Brawner's Sanitarium
Opened 1909
Closed 1997
Current Status Preserved
Building Style Single Building
Location Smyrna, GA
Alternate Names
  • Brawner Hospital
  • Brawner Psychiatric Institute


In 1909 Dr. James N. Brawner, Sr. purchased approximately 80 acres, including an existing 1897 farmhouse, from Mary Taylor. Dr. Brawner immediately began construction of a 35-bed private hospital (later expanded by 10 beds) for the treatment of alcohol and drug addiction and mental disorders. The sanitarium was listed in the National Register at the state level of significance for the contributions of Drs. James (Sr.) and Albert Brawner. The hospital, which was at the time of its construction the only alternative to state facilities in Georgia, offered the newest in treatments for addiction and mental disorders. The progressive hospital focused on treatment and cure, offered a high staff-to-patient ratio, and drew patients from all over the southeastern United States. Dr. James N. Brawner, Sr. (1876-1959) served as medical director until 1955. Dr. Albert F. Brawner (1893-1960), brother of the founder, was a prominent psychiatrist associated with the Brawner Sanitarium for 40 years. Dr. James N. Brawner, Jr. (1904-1996), son of the founder, was medical director from 1955 until 1969. The facility remained open as the Brawner Psychiatric Institute until the late 1990s. In 2001, the City of Smyrna acquired the campus. The property, having been reduced to 11 acres, had an uncertain future. In 2005 the Taylor Brawner House Foundation, a group of approximately 500 members lead by CEO and Historian Mike Terry, spent 4 and a half years raising half a million dollars to restore both the house and hospital. The building's restoration was completed in April 2009 and dedicated on April 18th, 2009 and is now used by the city of Smyrna for offices and special events while the surrounding property is a public park. Mike Terry later published a book in 2012 detailing the history of the property titled "A Simpler Time: The Story of the Taylor-Brawner House and the Brawner Hospital." The hospital was renamed to "Brawner Hall" and the farmhouse to the "Taylor-Brawner House" and has been used for a variety of events both private and public including the ongoing "Food Truck Tuesdays" and as a popular wedding venue.