The West Mountain Sanitarium… No Ma’am, I’m Not Lost

It surprised me that an old sanitarium was within a private neighborhood.  As soon as one of the structures came into view I cautiously pulled to the side of the road as it was on the edge of a steep hill.  Stepping out of the truck, I put my foot on the step bar, and started tying one of my shoes.

A vehicle came down the road and slowed to a stop alongside my truck.

Finished tying, I turned to face the driver.

She was an elderly woman, in her seventies by my guess, with her wrinkles enhanced by the shadows cast from the sun shining through the sun roof.

In a pleasant manner she asked, “Are you lost?”  Now remember, I was in a remote and private neighborhood, which was likely why she asked.

‘No ma’am, I’m good.’

‘Wait, I do have a question for you. The old sanitarium that’s down the hill, is it okay to take pictures there?’

She replied.  “There’s posted signs around the corner, and the man that lives in that new house is a police officer, so you might want to check with him.” She pointed to his house.

Telling her I would check with him first, she went on her way.

Having the green light from the officer, I was all in.  The location has been the center of many paranormal investigations, and sunset was fast approaching.

Walking among the buildings, or what’s left of them, you could tell that they were in fact built around 1903 as stated.  From the fuse boxes to the slat and plaster, it told you it was old.

Not much remains of the original buildings.  Only the two story chimney, porch, and rusted boiler remain of the main structure.  While walking alongside the building I discovered that what I thought was up-heaved ground was in fact the former roof covered with debris, moss, and dirt.  I quickly, and gingerly stepped off as it was covering the basement.  I was alone and couldn’t afford an oops moment.

In 1974 it permanently shut its doors to tuberculosis patients.  Since then it has seen arson in the 1990’s, graffiti artists, and paranormal investigators.

According to a CNN report the following is apparently well-known.  Composer Richard B. Smith wrote the popular Christmas song ‘Winter Wonderland’ while he was a patient at the sanitarium.

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