Rainbow Sanatorium

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Rainbow Sanatorium
Opened July 20th, 1910
Closed 1930
Current Status Demolished
Building Style Cottage Plan
Peak Patient Population 192
Alternate Names Lake Rainbow Sanatorium


On July 20th, 1910, the Rainbow Sanatorium was opened by the Independent Order of the Fosters on 600 acres of land in New York. The property, built on the shore of Rainbow Lake, was formerly run as the Rainbow Inn. The sanatorium consisted of eight buildings in total, including the original inn. The main building was powered with steam heat and electricity and was one eighth of a mile from New York Central's Rainbow Station. The property included dairy and hog barns, an ice house, a carriage house that stored the farm equipment, and porches on the main building to allow patients for fresh air. The main hotel building had 30 rooms for housing patients, and a second annex had another 20 rooms.

The physician appointed to look after the patients, Dr. Whipple, of Malone, also served as the first superintendent of the sanatorium. In the first year of operation, 102 patients were admitted.

After World War I, having a shortage of member patients, Rainbow accepted as many as 65 tubercular veterans as patients. When they had been in operation for ten years, a report showed that they had admitted 642 patients, 102 the first year, and fewer than seventy in succeeding years until 1919 and 1920, when 192 were admitted.

A medical report from 1921 states, "Since the Sanatorium opened 611 patients have been treated and discharged. Of these, 3 were extra-pulmonary and 14 non-tubercular, leaving 594 cases of pulmonary tuberculosis. Of these, nearly 100 per cent of the incipient cases were cured, had their disease arrested, or were improved. Only one case out of the 120 failed to improve, and this was distinctly the patient's fault."

The report calls tuberculosis "a rich man's disease, but the poor man has it. It is a disease which cannot be fought off by will power and physical activity."

In 1930, the institution was closed and the remaining patients were moved to the Forester's Sanatorium in California. The land was divided among several purchasers, and the sanatorium and the old Inn were razed.[1]

Images of Rainbow Sanatorium

Main Image Gallery: Rainbow Sanatorium


  1. Collins, Geraldine, and Janet Decker. the Brighton Story: Being the History of Paul Smiths, Gabriels and Rainbow Lake. 1st ed. New York, NY: North Country Books, 1977. Digital, Accessed 10/06/2013.