Woodlawn Tubercular Sanitarium, Dallas County, Texas

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(Updated November 7, 2002)











Dallas County and City of Dallas Will
Maintain Woodlawn and Are
Responsible For Its

     People of Dallas county drove home a body blow to the deadly white scourge of tuberculosis, Saturday afternoon, when the Woodlawn Union Tuberculosis hospital was officially declared open for patients.
     So far as actual numbers were concerned, there was not a large meeting, but it was forced home to the earnest group of men and women who were present, that the opening celebration was significant as the first step towards the prevention and cure of consumption, not only in Texas, but in the entire South.
     Speeches were brief and to the point. Editors, physicians, philanthropists and city and county officials congratulated the citizens of the county on their enterprise in establishing a public institution for the sole purpose in aiding the weak and suffering.
     There was a tinge of sadness, also, amid the rejoicing over a task well done. This was expressed aptly by County Commissioner C. D. Smith, who urged everyone to be happy during their first visit to Woodlawn, since other trips would result in the viewing of pain and illness.
     "When we come here again, these white cots will be filled with men and women, mostly sick beyond recovery. During this visit, we can rejoice that the great heart of Dallas county has resulted in this pioneer step towards general human happiness," he said.
     Woodlawn well merits its pretty name. Nestling on the side of a wooded hill, with a pretty lake of green water nearby, the view of the broad verandas and porches of the hospital is superb. Far to the southeast, the towering sky scrapers of the city can be seen, while on other sides, green foliage of thick woods and grassy slopes make a pretty comparison.
     Physicians say that the spot selected by the city and county officials is ideal for invalids, and with good fresh air, rest, and sunshine, recoveries almost startling in their nature, may be expected.
     Perhaps one hundred Dallas and Dallas county people were present at the opening ceremonies. Matron L. R. Minifee met the party as they arrived in automobiles and conducted them about the big, roomy buildings.
     After a trip of inspection, the visitors gathered in one of the main wards and sat upon beds and chairs, while many of those present were called upon for short talks.

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Many Surprised.
     The majority of the party were making their first tour of the institution and expressed surprise at the spacious grounds and buildings, and in the complete manner in which they were equipped.
     Lying in two large wings, the hospital contains four wards, destined for the use of male and female, colored and white. Each ward contains, at present, ten beds, making the present capacity of the institution, forty patients. This can easily be increased to sixty or even eighty patients. The beds are arranged in rows along the enormous verandas, which face the south, in order to secure the benefit of the sunshine. As shelter against inclement weather, big glass windows can be drawn down. Every inch of the tubercular quarters and the quarters for the matron, nurses and help, is screened to afford protection from flies and insects. The entire hospital is electric lighted throughout, with a telephone system extending into every ward and room. The most sanitary of bath rooms and dressing room and lockers are provided for the use of patients.

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Fire Places.
     Two large sitting rooms with great open fire places will afford comfort in the winter, while far warmer weather, the stretch of ground between the two wings, will be marked off for a lounging enclosure. The kitchens are spick and span and sanitary in every particular, as are the pantries and dish washing rooms. Another feature is a large sterilizing plant, into which mattresses, bed clothes, and any other prerequisites of the wards can be placed and subjected to the action of steam. The process kills all germs. Fire protection is afforded by hose lines from special hydrants connected with the big well, which provides the water supply for the building.
     Patients will be taken to the hospital Sunday, and the institution is now working permanently. The hospital is for the benefit of all indigent tubercular patients. To secure admission, they must be bona fide residents of Dallas or Dallas county, and have lived in this district for at least six months.

* * *

Mayor Holland Talks.
     Mayor W. M. Holland called the meeting to order and made a short talk. In part, he said:
     "Eighteen months ago, the city government conceived the idea of erecting a commodious and modern sanitarium to be built and maintained jointly by the city and county governments, for the treatment and care of unfortunate and indigent consumptives of this city and county. For many years, indigent consumptives in the city limits had been placed in one of the wards at the city hospital, and indigent consumptives in the county had been put on the poor farm. We believed that the city and county had attained such prosperity and wealth that our people would be more than glad to maintain, at the public expense, an institution of this character. We suggested this matter to the county government at that time, but were informed, that owing to lack of funds, they could not join us in this worthy enterprise. About twelve months ago, the question of a joint hospital or sanitarium was again revived, and at this time, the county government saw its way clear to finance its half of the expense incident to the construction of a modern sanitarium, and by unanimous vote of the county commissioners' court, this body decided to co-operate with the city in the undertaking. The United Charities of Dallas, the Texas Anti-Tuberculosis association, and especially the newspapers of this city, rendered invaluable services in promoting and insuring its success. The city government did me the honor of appointing me a committee of one, with full power to represent the city and the county government [and] conferred like authority on County Commissioner Miller. I am happy to state that we have, at all times, worked in complete accord and harmony.

* * *

Large Investment.
     The buildings represent an investment of about $38,000. If, to this is added the value of the grounds, our splendid artesian well, the sewerage system, etc., the total investment will reach the sum of about $60,000, one-half of which was borne by the city and one-half by the county. Only indigent consumptives who are bona fide residents of the city or county will be admitted to this institution. At a joint conference held this morning between the board of commissioners and the county commissioners, it was decided that the county government should have complete control and management of the tubercular hospital, and the city government should have complete control and management over the Union hospital, for the treatment of smallpox patients, but, that in both cases, the expense of maintenance should be divided equally between the city and county governments. I regret that it is not possible for every citizen in our city and in our county to be here today and inspect these beautiful grounds and the modern, well-equipped buildings, and I hope this institution will be an example for other cities and counties in Texas.
     The city of Dallas is the wealthiest and most prosperous city in Texas, and Dallas county is the wealthiest and most prosperous county. It is proper that our city and county should lead the rest of the state in making war upon this terrible enemy of mankind. The entire civilized world is fighting tuberculosis on a broader, more comprehensive and scientific manner than it has ever done in the past, and I am glad that we are doing our part in this work for humanity."

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Mr. Dealey's Speech.
     Mayor Holland then introduced Geo. B. Dealey, vice president of the United Charities. He praised him for his whole-hearted work towards securing the Woodlawn hospital. Mr. Dealey spoke as follows:
     Speaking for the directors and for the social workers of the United Charities, the good women who are doing so much to relieve, and especially to prevent suffering and misery in this city, the opening of Woodlawn hospital creates an epoch of sincere rejoicing and congratulation, for this is the realization of a dream. Some three years ago, the United Charities workers came across a good woman, without means, living in South Dallas, suffering from this dreadful disease, tuberculosis. She was placed in a tent and treated for some eight or nine months, improving so rapidly that the board of directors of the United Charities felt that something practical should be done in behalf of the sufferer from this dreadful malady. Then began the agitation and the education to show the necessity of doing what has now been done. As part of the educational campaign, the organization ran, for a period of ten days, during the Fair, a year and a half ago, a tuberculosis picture film, which was visited by many thousand people. It is the intention of the United Charities to put a tuberculosis nurse in the field this fall to help take care of the advanced cases and to locate undiscovered incipient cases, that they may get the benefit of the treatment at this sanitarium.
     Tuberculosis is the great enemy of mankind. Almost every person one meets, 80 or 90 per cent, are affected with it in some form or other, or have been at some time or other.
     In this country alone, a half million of people, it is estimated, are continually ill of the disease. It snuffs out more than 150,000 lives each year, and the economic loss by reason of this dreaded malady is estimated at fabulous sums, even as high as a billion dollars a year. To thinking people, it has seemed strange that the citizenship of an enlightened country, such as the United States, should permit such a condition to develop. Possibly, there are some diseases which cannot be cured or prevented, but all medical authority insists that tuberculosis is entirely and absolutely preventable, and notwithstanding that its ravages are infinitely more serious than the ravages of any other disease, the people in the past have been comparatively indifferent to it. They will run from scarlet fever, from diphtheria, from typhoid or smallpox, and smile complacently at tuberculosis. Never in the history of this country has there been so much discussion, so much publicity, so much effort, being made along the lines of prevention and cure, as at the present time.
     Let us hope the day is not distant when the average citizen will realize his duty in doing those things which will eradicate this curse from our fair land.
     In behalf of the organization I represent, it gives me very great pleasure to acknowledge the sympathetic help and progressiveness of our city and county governments in the inauguration of this splendid institution, and it may not be out of place here to acknowledge the effective assistance given to this project by the Texas Anti-Tuberculosis association and to the Anti-Tuberculosis committee connected with the United Charities.
     Finally, congratulations are in order on the location and general environments. Here, the patients will have isolation, thus rendering the spread of the disease impossible. Here will be found those things indispensable and necessary for the eradication of the disease, good scientific attention, fresh air, good food and rest.

* * *

Urges Interest.
     County Judge Quentin D. Corley followed. He declared that he believed that the people of Dallas county had made a profitable investment in constructing the Woodlawn hospital. He urged all people to take an interest in the enterprise and visit it when they wished to see the progress of the work.
     County Commissioner James Miller declared that when he was first approached on the subject of building the hospital, he was opposed to the project. He said that he was afraid that tubercular patients from adjoining states would come to Dallas and flood the institution. He said that he had now changed his mind. He declared the building of the hospital to be a greater achievement than any so far undertaken by the county or city.
     Former City Commissioner J. E. Lee spoke on the value of the hospital from the standpoint of isolating tubercular patients. He said that life insurance experts had exploded the old-time theory that consumption was hereditary. He said that the disease was infectious, and was caught from contact with sufferers.
     Commissioner W. T. Henderson told of the existence of hospitals before the time of history. He told of the erection of the first hospital alms-house in Philadelphia in 1730, which brought the first hospital to this country. He rejoiced that the people of the city and county had joined hands in a great humanitarian enterprise.

* * *

Commissioner Smith.
     County Commissioner C. D. Smith, of Lancaster, told of the sadness which would be evidenced during future visits. He said that the utmost publicity should be given to the fact that the hospital was for Dallas County people only. He spoke of the hospitals on the county farm, and urged the people not to stop in their fight against the white plague, but to wage their campaign vigorously.
     Dr. G. K. Leake, chairman of the city board of health, spoke briefly, dealing with peculiarities of tuberculosis. He said that many people in the audience doubtless had tubercular germs lurking in their systems, but that their constitutions were strong enough to overcome the effects. Dr. Leake emphasized the value of segregation of tuberculosis victims.
     County Physician K. W. Field stated that he would have charge of the Woodlawn hospital, and said that everything would be done in a scientific line for the patients.

* * *

The Star Catcher.
     Dr. A. W. Nash was introduced by Mayor Holland as "star catcher for the City Hall baseball team." He made a few remarks, assuring the county authorities of the waiting aid of the city health department whenever they thought it necessary to call on them.
     Dr. Field then requested the mayor to call on Dr. M. M. Carrick for a short talk. Dr. Carrick told of the work of the anti-tuberculosis committee of the United Charities.

* * *

Thank Judge Kendall.
     The party then left for home in automobiles, after a vote of thanks to Judge Kendall, owner of adjoining property, for allowing the hospital to run its sewerage lines through his land. Miss Kendall is starting a subscription list to provide a piano for the hospital.

- July 20, 1913, Dallas Daily Times Herald, p. 9, cols. 1-3.
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     Prominent Dallas business and professional men are giving their hearty indorsement to the plan of P. P. Martinez for the establishment of a tubercular school and hospital for children, to be conducted in connection with Woodlawn hospital. Practically $6000 have already been raised for the institution, $5000 of which was given by Mr. Martinez. It is estimated that there are at least 300 children in Dallas needing the benefits of such an institution.

- July 16, 1919, Dallas Daily Times Herald, p. 2.
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Extensive Improvement at Woodlawn
Hospital to Be Completed This Year

     The [accompanying] sketches show the buildings that will be completed and ready for occupancy during the year of 1920 at the Woodlawn hospital grounds, north of the city on the Maple avenue road. These grounds have been recently surveyed and laid out to take care of all future buildings that will be needed later as necessary for our fast growing community. The driveways, walks, fences and gates are now being replaced and changed to suit these requirements and conditions of the future. The buildings to be built at a near future, as well as those just completed, are so arranged as to be readily connected to a large central heating plant to be installed during the year 1920.


     The two-story and basement sanitarium shown above is nearing completion at a cost of about $65,000, and is located at the south side of the grounds. This building will take care of sixty-five additional patients, bringing the total capacity to one hundred and twenty-five patients. Complete equipment and conveniences are to be installed so as to allow those in charge of this institution to give patients the most modern and thorough treatment known to medical science.

Description of Sanitorium.
     A diet kitchen on the second floor will furnish the food for the bedridden patients. An electric push-button, noiseless sanitorium elevator ascends from basement to second floor. All patients' rooms, as well as the large open-air sleeping porches on the ground floor, face the south breeze and individual dressing rooms, medicine rooms, bath and toilet rooms are on the north side of the building. A nurses' signal system and house phones are to be installed on all floors. Large public waiting and reception rooms for visitors are to be located on both floors. This building is arranged so that the patients may be segregated or separated, male from female, and convalescent or ambulant patients from the very sick or bedridden, for patients on the way to recovery, or practically cured, should not be placed in the company of those with extreme cases of tuberculosis. Quarters for the superintendent, resident physician and nurses will be located on the west end of this building.


Dining Hall Planned.
     The construction of the two-story and basement dining hall, shown above, will be started within the next few weeks and will cost about $40,000. This building will be of capacity to take care of the feeding of all ambulant patients and also tray service to bedridden patients. A most modern kitchen will installed at the north side of this building, with patients', staffs' and employes' dining room on the south and east side. Large store-rooms are located in basement and first floor, so that food supplies may be purchased and stored in large quantities, thereby reducing cost of same. The large general dining room will be so arranged that it can be readily converted into a recreation or lecture hall. The entire second floor will be occupied as servants' or employes' quarters and all conveniences are to be incorporated so as to assist the superintendent in keeping the help in habitable, sanitary quarters. The matter of having and retaining competent help around an institution of this kind has always been a great problem and its importance has not been disregarded in the development of this institution.


Complete Laundry Plant.
     The laundry above shown has been recently completed at the cost of about $10,000, and is electrically equipped throughout with the most modern and sanitary laundry machinery. A large sterilizer at the rear takes care of all bed clothes, mattresses, wearing apparel, etc., of the patients, which must be thoroughly sterilized very frequently to avoid any unnecessary contagion. Preparation has been made in the construction of this building for the addition of the future boiler machinery and fuel rooms to take care of the central heating plant later.
     The above three buildings are all absolutely fireproof throughout, permanent in construction, and it is the intention of the city and county officials to replace all the present frame buildings as quickly as possible with modern and fireproof structures.


Children's Building.
     The construction of the proposed children's building shown will probably be started this year and will be paid for by public subscription headed and fathered by P. P. Martinez, who has given a great deal of time and money to the cause of tuberculosis work. It is planned to locate this structure a distance away from those occupied by the adults, with playgrounds, open air recreation rooms and all other environments helpful to the recovery of the little ones afflicted with this terrible plague.
     As soon as the patients are moved into the new sanitorium, some of the present buildings will be remodeled for the use of local negro tubercular patients. It is also planned to later construct on these premises, a medical building and a nurses' home.


Ornamental Entrance.
     The gates shown will be erected at once and this, as well as all present and future buildings on the grounds, are carried out in harmonizing exterior appearances, using the same brick and stone trimming throughout. The Munn Construction company is building the present sanatorium building. The architects, F. W. Woerner & Co., who have been employed to design the future buildings, have made a thorough study of this particular class of building and with the assistance of Dr. H. F. Gammons, superintendent and medical director, Mrs. J. V. Wright, matron and superintendent of nurses, the city and county officials plan to develop an institution par excellence.

History of Woodlawn.
     About six years ago, the city and county of Dallas started a tuberculosis sanatorium on a tract of several acres of land off of the Maple avenue pike, about two miles north of the City hospital, with Dr. J. H. Bernard as the first superintendent. In October, 1917, through the efforts of the county commissioners and Dr. T. C. Gilbert, county health officer. Dr. J. V. Wright was secured as superintendent. Through Dr. Wright's efforts, the sanatorium was developed up to a high point of efficiency and the above sanatorium building in process of construction was planned. Dr. J. V. Wright died just at a time when his dreams of an up-to-date sanatorium were being realized. Before his death, he was instrumental in securing a modern fireproof laundry.
     The present superintendent, Dr. H. F. Gammons, was engaged after Dr. Wright's death and most of the nurses and employes who served with Dr. Wright were kept. Dr. Wright married Miss Hattie Ott, who was matron and superintendent of nurses, and still remains in the same capacity.

Nurses Specially Trained.
     The nurses have all had special training in tuberculosis work and have every interest of the patient at heart. The position which they occupy is a hard one to fill and there are probably none who could do the work as well in every way as have the present nurses.
     The sanatorium is operated by the county commissioners and the buying is done through the county auditor. The expenses thereto are borne jointly by the city and county. Porter Cochran was appointed by the commissioners' court to have supervision of the institution, and through his efforts, coupled with those of the mayor and other commissioners and the county judge, much has been done and much is being planned. Charles Gross, county auditor, has co-operated in every way in his line to make this institution a success as far as furnishing good food and equipment is concerned.
     Regarding the hospital, Dr. Gammons says:
     "The people of Dallas city and county have been exceptionally interested in the welfare of the patients. It can be truly said that the people in this vicinity cannot be surpassed in their kindness and charity toward the institution. The patients are admitted in rotation and must be citizens of Dallas county and the state of Texas. Unfortunately, there is not room at present to take all patients the day they apply for admission, and it is necessary for them to wait their turn. A great many patients are kept at home or stay at home until they are hopelessly advanced before seeking admission. Some of the patients pay, but if they are not able to pay, they are admitted and treated just the same as the pay patients."

Treatment of Patients.
     The treatment used at Woodlawn is the same as is used in every up-to-date sanatorium. The physician makes the rounds of all patients twice daily. Patients are examined on admission and discharge and at two monthly intervals, unless there are reasons to examine more often. Patients with throat infections are treated and examined three times a week. There is an abundance of fresh air and food for all. Patients entering the sanatorium, if there is much activity, are put to bed absolutely. If their condition warrants, they are allowed to walk to the dining room for their meals. Every Friday, the charts are gone over and patients are given exercise and sitting up time, according to their condition. The usual laboratory tests are given here, with Reverdy Scott in charge. Dr. Avann, former city dentist, has been engaged to make weekly visits to look out for the teeth of the patients, for patients with tuberculosis need much attention to the teeth.
     Every Saturday morning, the physician in charge lectures to the patients on the different phases of tuberculosis. They are instructed how to take precautions against infecting others; how to take the treatment and how to live after leaving the sanatorium.
     For entertainment, the patients have moving pictures, music, light games and recreations.

- January 11, 1920, Dallas Daily Times Herald, Sec. II, p. 3, col. 1-3.
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     ENOUGH HAS BEEN SAID, as a result of the grand jury investigation, to convince the public that conditions at Woodlawn Tubercular sanitarium, an institution operated jointly by the city and county, are not as they should be, and that shortage of funds must not be the whole cause of the trouble.
     Very likely, the hospital is allowed to drop into a state of neglect for two chief reasons: it is too far out of the city to be frequently visited by citizens who do not have relatives in the institution; and, as it is operated jointly, neither the County Commissioners' court, nor the city commission, has felt directly responsible.
     If the city and county are to maintain this hospital for victims of this terrible malady, they should maintain it, so that those who go there, will be benefited. The grand jury report indicates that the institution is worse than valueless. The authorities have announced that conditions will be remedied.
     When the hospital is put back in proper condition, the county and city officials might well visit it occasionally, without waiting for action of the grand jury. In fact, the taxpayers who finance the institution might drive out once in a while to see how conditions are. Just another case of what is everybody's business is nobody's business.

- June 3, 1928, Dallas Daily Times Herald, Sec. II, p. 4, col. 2.
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