Muirdale Sanatorium

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Muirdale Sanatorium
Established 1913
Construction Began 1914
Opened 1915
Closed 1978
Current Status Preserved
Building Style Single Building
Location Wauwatosa, Wisconsin
Alternate Names
  • Muirdale Tuberculosis Hospital


In 1900, tuberculosis accounted for more than 11% of all the deaths in the United States. Muirdale Sanitorium, an isolation and treatment hospital for tuberculosis sufferers opened in 1915 on the County Institutions Grounds in Wauwatosa. The design of Muirdale, with a three story main hospital, was a departure from typical cottage-style sanitoria and soon served as a model for newer tuberculosis facilities. The hospital housed up to 700 patients in the main hospital and in individual cottages for ambulatory patients and children.

Over 10,000 tuberculosis sufferers were admitted to Muirdale between 1915 and 1936, a time when the only weapons against the disease were fresh air, bed rest and a controlled diet. When treatment with antibiotics and chemotherapy was introduced, the incidence of tuberculosis dropped dramatically resulting in the closure of Muirdale in 1970. The Administration Building later housed the Milwaukee County Nursing Home. Many of the smaller buildings on the grounds have been razed.

Muirdale ceased treating tuberculosis patients in 1970 and, although the main structure still remains, many of the outlying buildings and "cottages" were razed. It was renamed Rehab West in the 1970s and functioned as a care facility for elderly persons with mental illnesses but was permanently closed in 1978. The facility, which had been slated for destruction in June 1992, was saved due to the efforts of historical preservationists and is now being used as part of the Milwaukee County Research Park, a business incubator. It is now known as the "Technology Innovation Center" and is listed on a registry of haunted landmarks.