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Ray Brook State Hospital
The New York State Hospital for Incipient Pulmonary Tuberculosis (as it was originally named), was commonly known simply as "Ray Brook." Opened in 1904, Ray Brook was the first New York State-operated tuberculosis sanatorium, and the second in the United States, after Massachusetts. After a protracted study of alternative sites, New York State chose to establish its hospital in the highly-regarded fresh air of the Adirondack Mountains, near the critical mass of tuberculosis experts in Saranac Lake.
Although medical developments made sanatoria obsolete starting in the mid-1950s, the State Hospital at Ray Brook continued to operate until the mid-1960s. The property was then transferred from the Department of Health to the new Drug Addiction Control Commission, combining enforcement and treatment; in 1971 the new facility opened as the Ray Brook Rehabilitation Center, housing 70 to 130 women addicts. However, it was judged a failure, and closed within five years. It was succeeded by a camp program for adult inmates, "Camp Adirondack". Working with the Department of Environmental Conservation, "campmen", as inmates were known, were employed in logging, sawmill, wildlife preservation, construction of campsites and snowmobile and cross-country ski trails, and construction of a toboggan run at the Mount Pisgah ski area. The camp also constructed the Ice Palace each winter for the Saranac Lake Winter Carnival. Click here for more...