East Tennessee Sanitarium Opens in 1891

[Transcriber’s Note:  The property described below was formerly the home of the Coxe family, known as “Crescent Bluff.”  The premises burned about 1912.  H. L. Dulin built his home on the site in 1915.  The Dulin home still stands in the 3100 block of Kingston Pike, just west of the University of Tennessee campus.]

It’s just Perfect.  A Visit to the new East Tennessee Sanitarium.  Its Beautiful Location.  Handsome Grounds and Well Appointed Building.  A Haven of Rest for the Sick.  Asheville’s Health Resorts Must Fade into Insignificance

The average citizen of Knoxville may not know that there is such an institution as an East Tennessee sanitarium, and if asked where it is located, would not be able to answer the question, so recently has it been instituted.

There is, however, just such an institution located immediately west of the city of Knoxville.

Some may ask what is a sanitarium, and what are its objects?

It is, in brief, a medical hospital where people are supposed to be given certain climactic advantages in addition to receiving treatment after the most approved scientific methods by skill ed and trained physicians and nurses.

Clinatology [?] is always an interesting study and is an important consideration in the location of a sanitarium.  The points to consider in this feature are altitude, latitude, the mean conditions of temperature, humidity, etc.  The proper place for the location of a sanitarium is to strike, as near as possible, a happy mean between the rigors of a southern climate and the extreme heat of a northern climate.

Readers of the Journal know some thing of how people flock to Asheville, North Carolina, from all sections of the United States.  Some 60,000 people visited that place the past season to seek the benefits of its justly reputed sanitary conditions.  But the result of practice has led eminent physicians to conclude that while, it is located in a favorable point as between the extremes of northern and southern climates, it is at an altitude much too high to benefit certain classes, if not all, of patients seeking treatment there.  This is said without prejudice or any object of decrying the sanitary conditions of Asheville, for they are excellent in every other respect but in the one mentioned, and that is a conclusion reached by the medical profession.

Thousands of people no doubt are benefitted at Asheville, and, we might add, particularly the citizens of Asheville, for creditable information gives it that no less than $2,000,000 a year is left there by those seeking benefits at her health portals.

As The Journal has always been something of a crank on sanitary matters and knowing that recently certain eminent physicians and capitalists had combined in the purpose of operating a public sanitarium at this point, a reporter was sent to ascertain some information concerning the enterprise.

He found Mr. Robert A. McConnel, who is a prominent stockholder, and he very kindly invited the reporter to ride out to the sanitarium and see for himself, and invite all others through The Journal, who may be interested, to do likewise.

A short and delightful drive out Kingston pike, which takes one through a portion of the city that displays some of its famous palatial residences, brings the visitor to the property of the East Tennessee sanitarium.

It is certainly a superb location and cannot possibly be excelled.  It is situated on a high bluff, that juts abruptly up to the grand old river.

From the upper balconies of the sanitarium building one is treated to one of the grandest and most picturesque views obtainable anywhere.  It stands opposite the point of a great bend made by the river thus presenting a view of the stream and its bold and heavily timbered bluffs for a distance of several miles; while beyond looms the dark forms of the Alleghenies, forty miles distant.

To the east is a splendid view of the western residence portion of the city, a mile and a half to two miles distant, and House mountain looms up beyond, while a long range of woodland rises to the north and west running to the river.  Just a stone’s throw beyond the pike that leads by the grounds runs the greatest of all southern systems, the E. T. V. & G. road.

Nature has shaped the grounds to perfection, sloping gently in every direction except on the river side, which is very abrupt.

Near the river, at the foot of the bluff, gushes forth one of East Tennessee’s famous springs, which is furnished with a hydraulic self-pumper that drives the purest water to all portions of the grounds and to every room in the sanitarium.

It will be observed that the distance is such as to make the sanitarium free from any epidemic that may break out in the city.

The altitude of this place is 1,400 feet above sea level, a high altitude, but nearly 2,000 feet lower than Asheville.  High mountain ranges to the north-west and south-east renders protection against great inland storms.  The fact the climate here is mile and equable to a maxed degree is supported by the indisputable evidence on record at the United States Signal Service office for over twenty years.  Nowhere are cloudless skies more constant, the atmosphere purer, and malarial poison so absolutely unknown.

The following items of interest have been kindly furnished by the United States Signal Service officer, stationed here:

The mean relative humidity at Knoxville from Sept. 1, 1872, to Jan. 1, 1885 was 70.8º.

During the winter months, for the same period, it was 67.6º.

During the summer months, fr the same period, it was 73º.

Average dew point, for the same period, was 47.9º.

During the years 1871-1888, inclusive, the mean annual number of days, clear 120, fair 138, cloudy 108.

The mean annual temperature 1871-1888, inclusive, was 57º.

December to April, inclusive, during the same period, 48.5º.

June to September, inclusive, during the same period, 73º.

The temperature rose above 97º only three days in eighteen years.

As a visitor is taken about the premises he will note that opportunities for light out door exercises are exceptional.  The spacious lawns handsomely decorated, will sport two fine fountains by spring time and is a delightful place to stroll.  The river will afford fishing and boat riding at will and a splendid steel bridge now in process of construction by the Cherokee land company, gives easy access from the east end of the grounds to the beautiful suburb of Cherokee on the opposite side.

However, while patients may enjoy to their heart’s content the unsurpassed scenic beauties of this place, these are by no means the most important considerations in favor of the East Tennessee sanitarium.

Its sanitary conditions in the way of sewerage, is perfect.  Hot and cold water is taken to every floor; on every floor is a bath room and every appointment known to science that goes to make a perfect sanitarium.

The house is the object that is a most pleasant consideration of this enterprise.  It is a place fit for a queen to live in and preside over.  It has an interior finish unequalled by any of the best residences in the city.  The hall ways on both floors are spacious and are kept pleasant in the colder seasons of the year by open grate [illegible] although they are only ornaments of cl___fullness, for the entire sanitarium ca___ and is abundantly heated by steam.

Each room is finished in different kinds of hard wood, in artistic designs and the work was by men of rare skill in the profession.

Each room is finished off in different colors, are abundantly lighted and open into a spacious hallway.

The floors are all of inlaid hard wood and fine Brussel’s rugs decorated each room.

The furniture is particularly to be noticed.  It is the very finest to be purchased and of the style of the sixteenth century.  It is massive, plan and grand.  It is needless to say that every other appointment is in proportion.

In short the house has been fitted and furnished in elegance throughout and is adapted to the care and reception of all cases.  Every hygienic appointment has been provided.  A spacious sun parlor is reached from the main entrance.

The dining hall is in good keeping with the rest of the house and the kitchen is furnished with the best and every appliance and convenience procurable.

An abundance of garden truck is grown close at hand and  good milk is obtained from a herd of cows known to be non-tubercular and the table is always plentifully provided.

Nursing aid, massage, the rest cure, electricity, operative facilities and all needful appliances receive special consideration.

The patients admitted to the sanitarium are limited to three classes; and each of these are distributed among as many departments each of which receives the personal attention of the physician in charge.

The present capacity of the sanitarium is for twenty-five patients, but other buildings will be provided from time to time.

But we now come to the most important considerations of this institution.

A corps of trained and experienced nurses have been procured from the east whose time will be given not only to the work at this sanitarium, but for the homes in the city.

Every modern appliance, apparatus and facility for the most careful investigation and scientific treatment of patients are provided for the classes of patients for which this institution is designed.

The authorities of the East Tennessee medical college, in conjunction with the sanitarium expect, if possible, to establish a nurse training school, an event of extreme importance to the citizens of Knoxville, as it affords a large number of respectable women an opportunity to secure an education to a lucrative and honorable living, and permit those moderately well to-do to have the advantage of trained and qualified nurses in cases of their sick, who always do better work, and whose labors are always attended with better results than the ministrations of members of the family, though prompted by affection and zeal.

The idea is that the trained nurses, with their methods, system, experience and tac__ faculties for observation and accurate history of the case during the interim of the physician’s visits, must of necessity accrue more to the patients’ benefit than the demoralized, disconcerted and oft times ignorant efforts of some member of the family, prompted by affection and love.

Although just starting under a new management, patients have signified their intention of coming from New York, Iowa, Pennsylvania, Georgia and Tennessee.  Several of Dr. Bailey’s patients now here are progressing nicely with their treatment, one being from Atlanta and the rest from the city.

As before stated, there are three departments.  First, diseases of the eye, ear, and throat, under the care of Dr. J. M. Masters, who is professor of the same department in the Tennessee Medical college, and who was the originator of this enterprise.  We understand he received his medical education in Cincinnati and located in this city some six or seven years ago.  He is enjoying a large practice and is well known as a skillful opthmalic [sic] surgeon.

Second — Diseases of the Chest and Lungs

This department is under the direction of Dr. Wm. C. Bailey.

The reporter will say here that there is a common law among physicians that made it impossible for him to learn from these physicians in person, who they are, what they are, etc., but, it is a poor newspaper man that cannot learn from some source and a little pamphlet at hand tells the tale of Dr. Bailey’s professional accomplishments as follows:

“Professor of the principles and practice of medicine, and clinical medicine, in the Tennessee Medical college; recently instructor in clinical medicine, and physician in charge of experiments with Professor Koch’s method of treating tuberculosis in the post graduate medical school and hospital, New York; and formerly pupil in Professor Koch’s Laboratory, Berlin, during a part of his investigations with tuberculin.”

Third — Diseases of Women.

This department is under the supervision of Dr. Charles Meigs Wilson, and from this same work we learn that he is “Professor of Diseases of Women and Children, and Gynacic Surgery in the Tennessee Medical College; formerly Surgeon to the Lying in Charity Hospital, Philadelphia; and Pupil in the Good Samaritan Hospital, London, and the Allegemeine Kranken-Hause, Vienna.”

It is learned from other members of the profession in this city that this enterprise has met with their hearty endorsement and that the men in charge are of the highest order of the profession and had unlimited and exceptional advantages in acquiring knowledge and scientific skill.

Source:  Knoxville Daily Journal and Tribune, November 15, 1891, page 6

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