Madisonville Tuberculosis Hospital

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Madisonville Tuberculosis Hospital
Established 1944
Construction Began 1946
Opened 1950
Current Status Preserved
Building Style Single Building
Architect(s) Gillig-Hartstern and Wilson
Location Madisonville, KY
Architecture Style Art Deco
Alternate Names
  • District One State Tuberculosis Hospital




History[edit]

The Madisonville Tuberculosis Hospital, also known as the District One State Tuberculosis Hospital, individually meets National Register Criterion A. The former sanatorium is significant for its association with Kentucky's public health campaign to eradicate tuberculosis, as detailed in the MPS historic context, "The Anti-Tuberculosis Movement in Kentucky, 1907 - 1975."

Although Kentucky formed a tuberculosis commission in 1912, sanatoria largely remained in the hands of local and county organizations for the next three decades. The state's construction of five 100-bed tuberculosis hospitals in the late 1940s marked a transition from smaller county-operated sanatoria to larger modern district hospitals. Plagued for decades by a large percentage of tuberculosis cases, Kentucky sprang into action after World War II health inspections exposed the poor health of its citizens. In 1945, Kentucky initiated a state-wide effort to curtail tuberculosis deaths in the Commonwealth. Aided by the 1940s discovery of the antibiotic streptomycin, the sanatoria offered a modern cure to thousands of TB patients.

The effective triple therapy drug treatment of tuberculosis eventually led to the decommissioning of the tuberculosis hospitals in the mid-1970s. The Madisonville Tuberculosis Hospital illustrates Kentucky's mid-twentieth-century response to the tuberculosis epidemic and is a valuable piece of early modern hospital architecture in the Commonwealth.