West Mountain Sanitorium

Category Exploration Date Status Province / State Country
Schools and Institutions July 24, 2008 Abandoned Pennsylvania United States

Posted on: Thu, 07/24/2008 - 15:15 By: Mike


Built in 1903, this hospital primarily treated tuberculosis patients until its 1971 closure.

In a history written in 1952, the following was said about the institution:

One of the more beautiful West Scranton landmarks is the Lackawanna County Tuberculosis Hospital, commonly known by its older name, West Mountain Sanatorium. It was originally established in 1903, following the suggestion of the late Dr. J.M. Wainwright.

The 40-year-old institution is now under the supervision of the Lackawanna County Commissioners. Edward J. Rainey, present superintendent, was appointed in January, 1951. He succeeded Miss Theresa dela Plant, registered nurse, who served for 30 years. According to the best records available, a Miss Davis was the first superintendent. Dr. Paul C. McAndrew is present medical director and Dr. Frank C. Lavin, assistant.

The bed capacity in 1903 was between 18 and 20. In 1919, it arose to 29, while today it totals 100. The original land was donated by the `D.L.&W.' or purchased at a nominal price. Later additional land was purchased.

In June 1923, a $300,000 tuberculosis hospital was begun to replace the old institution. The sanatorium was taken over by the County Commissioners in 1923, following a plebiscite by the citizens to do so in 1921.

While the institution accepts patients in all stages of tuberculosis, over 80 per cent of the male patients are those with anthracosilicos and super imposed pulmonary tuberculosis in its advanced stages, according to institution records.

The X-ray department recently was completely remodeled and equipped with apparatus of the latest design. This includes a diagnostic table, motor driven cassette changer, fluoroscope, a new control panel and complete dark room equipment. A bronchoscopic unit also has been added.

The clinical laboratory has likewise been expanded and a number of new instruments have been installed, including binocular microscopes. Additional space has been allocated for use in research work associated with the newer drugs.

The hospital has a farm growing its own products. It also has a county owned water system with about a 60,000 gallon capacity, and an artesian well. It also has a fully equipped laundry which can easily handle daily all the washing and ironing for the 100 patients, staff and 40 to 45 employees.

Many folks believe it to be haunted, and it has been the subject of study by many "paranormal investigators". Reports of hearing footsteps, voices, and in one story, even being chased completely from the property by something unseen.

Personal Commentary: 

I arrived here following the impersonal directions of my GPS. It was easy to spot the main entrance to the property, but I felt it was far too obvious to simply park at the main gate. Instead, I looked for an alternate entrance.

I found another road and had a look at it, still not liking the look of things. At this point, I spotted a woman and her daughter coming from the property, and I engaged her in conversation about the place. She said she lived nearby, and often took walks around the old property. Clearly, the locals were used to some foot traffic in the area.

Daylight was getting short, so I decided to stay in town overnight and return in the morning.

The next day, I circled around the backside of the property, and simply parked on the side of the road. I walked back the way I had come for a distance before seeing a clearly visible path into the property.

I took the path and arrived exactly where I hoped. I was expecting significant damage, given what I'd heard about the place and the local teens. I had seen earlier pictures of the buildings and I admit, I was somewhat disappointed by what I saw.

Oh, and no boogeymen followed me, no weird noises, no strange happenings. There WAS a wild kitten living in the basement of the last building... BEWARE!


This article refers.to recordds available. Would such records include patient names? My Mom, deceased, told me she was sent there for a while as a child. I would love to know more about her time there.

In reply to by Betty (not verified)

Unfortunately, mention of the records was in a report from the 1950's.  I, personally, have not accessed any records from this institution.  I might suggest, however, that you contact archives for the State of Pennsylvania as they may have something on file that would help you in your search.

Good luck!

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