Lake County Sanatorium

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Lake County Sanatorium
Established 1907
Opened 1909
Closed 1972
Current Status Closed
Building Style Single Building
Location Waukegan, IL


In the early 1900s, when Lake County doctor, W.H. Watterson contracted TB, he discovered that there were no facilities in the region to treat it. After his cure, Watterson organized the Lake County Tuberculosis Institute. By 1909, a sanitarium was located on 16 acres on Grand Avenue, east of Greenbay Road in Waukegan. "Lake Breeze Sanitarium" cared for 66 patients. Residents lived in cottages or tents and paid a monthly fee for housing and food. Stays at the facility could last years, but in many cases this treatment of fresh air and a good diet was ineffective.

In 1939, a 90-bed sanitarium was constructed on Belvidere Street in Waukegan, adjacent to today's Belvidere Park. The building was modern in design and became nationally known for its unique architecture. By the 1940s, the emphasis on the need for fresh air was gone, and patient rooms looked much as they do today. Beginning in 1974, the TB Sanitarium building was used by the Lake County Health Department for offices and clinical visits.