March 13, 2019

Landmark Designation Approved for Former Municipal Tuberculosis Sanitarium Complex

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The former Municipal Tuberculosis Sanitarium Complex in North Park was approved as an official City of Chicago Landmark by City Council today.

Opened in 1915, at 5801 N. Pulaski Road, the 160-acre complex was one of the largest sanitariums of its type when tuberculosis was considered one of the deadliest diseases in the nation. Designed in the Prairie style with Italian Revival elements by the architectural firm of Otis & Clark, the complex consists of 11 historic surviving buildings built between 1911 and 1939. Hundreds of thousands of Chicagoans were treated there over the course of its history. Led by tuberculosis specialist Dr. Theodore B. Sachs, it was the first sanitarium in the country to include a maternity ward and dedicated space for childhood cases. Doctors at the sanitarium were open to new procedures and conducted research into alternative and less invasive treatments, including using the first vaccine to be effective against the disease, according to the Landmarks Commission.

The sanitarium closed in 1974 after medical advances improved survival rates and made home treatment preferable. The designation was recommended by the Commission of Chicago Landmarks in November 2018.

Today, the site is home to the North Park Nature Center, senior housing, and Chicago Park District facilities.

 

 

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