Remembering the Municipal Tuberculosis Sanitarium




I didn’t set out to research the history of the Municipal Tuberculosis Sanitarium. I was just curious about the strange place across the street from the house where I grew up on Chicago’s North Side. I called my first post  Forbidden Places, because that’s how I remembered thinking of  it as a child.

There was so much more to this story than I expected. I wrote another post and then another.  Here is the series:


When I started receiving poignant emails from former staff, patients and the children of former patients, I realized the Municipal Tuberculosis Sanitarium deserved its own blog, where I hope to continue publishing stories about the San, as it was called by the people who lived and worked there.


About twice a year I conduct  tours of the grounds to share the history of this remarkable institution and its place in Chicago history. The tours are sponsored by the North Park Village Nature Center. Here are highlights from the Fall 2012 tour.

I also give private talks with slideshows to groups. Here’s a testimonial from one speaking engagement:

“Many thanks to Frances O’Cherony Archer for her program about the Municipal Tuberculosis Sanitarium–a fascinating story about a holistic and nurturing model of healthcare that, unfortunately, no longer exists. I had a personal interest in the story since my grandfather used to work there as a physician. We had great attendance at the program, including some visitors who are now living in condominiums for older adults on the grounds as well as one woman who was an actual resident. Frances’s presentation was truly engaging and lively and extremely well received by our audience.  The story is a very important one in both the history of Chicago and the history of healthcare.”

–Chuck Freilich

Director of Repriorment and Lifelong Engagement

Mather Lifeways

“Your presentation to my class from National Louis University was extremely enjoyable for all. It is amazing that this area still exists–walking through it feels like being in a time warp. Your research including the historic photos and newspaper articles, first-hand accounts, and delivery were both illuminating and absorbing.Thank you for your commendable efforts to remember these heroes, their achievements, and the unfortunate victims and their families who deserve a place in our Chicago history”

Rosalie Dixler, Coordinator
Lifelong Learning Institute
National Louis University


If you’re interested in booking me to speak to your group in the greater Chicago area, send me an email via my contact form.

Photograph of the service entrance gate to the Municipal Tuberculosis Sanitarium courtesy of Jennifer A. Stix.



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