Hillcrest Sanitarium

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Hillcrest Sanitarium
Current Status Closed
Building Style Single Building
Location La Crescenta, CA
Alternate Names


The sanitarium in La Crescenta, California, that housed Japanese American tuberculosis patients during World War II. Hillcrest was one of a number of facilities run by the War Relocation Authority (WRA) for patients who were either too ill to be removed to concentration camps or who needed to be segregated due to having readily communicable diseases. Of the 500 Japanese American tubercular patients in Los Angeles County before the war, the ones deemed too ill to be moved to concentration camps were moved to two facilities: Hillcrest Sanitarium and Maryknoll Rest Home in Monrovia. Hillcrest held between 100 and 200 patients. An armed sentry guarded the inmates despite their illnesses. In mid 1943, Los Angeles County called on the WRA to remove the Japanese American patients, since it claimed it needed the beds for "our own citizens." In the summer of 1944, Japanese American patients at Hillcrest published a sixteen page booklet titled "The Time," which included stories of the patients and staff. Rev. Herbert Nicholson and his wife Madeline were frequent visitors to Hillcrest, where he described the patients as having "become one large, generally happy family," while also reporting that he officiated at 35 funerals of Hillcrest patients/inmates during the war. Hillcrest continued as an exclusively Japanese American sanitarium even after the war.