Arkansas Tuberculosis Sanitorium
At the first semi-annual meeting of the Arkansas Tuberculosis Association in Little Rock on January 26, 1909, the Association deliberated on a “Bill for an Act to provide for the location, erection, organization, management and maintenance of a State Sanatorium for the treatment of tuberculosis in the State of Arkansas…” The bill had been prepared by Senator Kie Oldham at the urging of Judge Joseph M. Hill. (Hill had been diagnosed with tuberculosis in 1905, and moved to Arizona as a result. It was the move to Arizona that convinced him that Arkansas needed its own sanatorium.) The bill, which was Act 378 of the Legislature, was approved by Governor George Donaghey on May 31, 1909, and appropriated $50,000 for the establishment of a tuberculosis sanatorium and $30,000 for two years of maintenance. Unfortunately, due to a lack of funds in the treasury for the project, the Board of Trustees had to wait until the following fiscal year to begin work on the facility.
The site chosen for the Arkansas Tuberculosis Sanatorium echoed the locations chosen for sanatoria in the eastern U.S., especially around Saranac Lake, New York. The site was in a mountainous area away from large cities where the air would be fresher, supposedly bringing better relief from the disease. A pamphlet issued by the Arkansas Tuberculosis Sanatorium c.1925 touted the facility’s location by saying:
"The site of the Arkansas Tuberculosis Sanatorium near Booneville is a beautiful one, 900 feet above sea level, among the pines, high enough for refreshing breezes in summer and not high enough for the cold fogs of winter; with a bountiful supply of excellent water and perfect drainage. The climate the year round is unexcelled by any in the South or West, free from the winter’s dampness of the Gulf coast and from the sand storms and enervating heat of the South arid regions, and the blizzards of those farther north." Click here for more...