A research project is never finished as new materials constantly come to light. After writing about Dr. Rachel Swain’s Sanatorium last April, I found a booklet about the hospital.  The fragile, sixteen-page booklet is carefully preserved at the Indiana State Library. It supplements what we already know about the sanatorium’s purpose and conception. Although it is undated, I believe the pamphlet was published shortly after the new home was built in 1898 since the old address of “73 Woodruff Place” is used (a large address renumbering project occurred in 1898 and after that time the sanatorium was listed as 608 Middle Drive).

Photograph by Joan Hostetler, March 2011

Photograph by Joan Hostetler, March 2011

Here are three of the interior photographs included in the booklet, contrasted with current photographs. The home is remarkably intact and as of February 2012 is on the market for $190,000.

The booklet reveals these tidbits about the thought that went into constructing the sanatorium with up-to-date ideas about health:

-Unusual care has been taken to exclude the ground air from the cellar which underlies the entire house. The building is of brick and frame construction, which, with a tile roof, insures superior protection from the extremes of temperature to which Indiana is subject.

-Adequate attention has been given to ventilation, while hardwood floors and tinted walls guard against infection by germs in carpet and wall paper.

-Three cisterns, with a total capacity of 500 barrels, afford rain water for domestic and hydrotherapeutic purposes. It is piped to each floor under pressure.

-An elevator facilitates access to the upper stories, while four balconies enable patients on the second and third stories to enjoy outings without descending.

-Expense and pains have not been spared to make the building healthful, convenient and attractive. The grounds were already so.

Dr. Rachel Swain welcomed a small number of patients into her home for daily observation and treatment. She believed that it was not best for physicians to have an unduly large number of patients. With twenty-three years of practice at her old sanatorium on N. New Jersey Street, she was proud to boast that Swain’s had “never suffered a fatality of the premises.”

Patients with maladies ranging from pleurisy, pneumonia, constipation, gall-stones, asthma, eczema, varicose veins, cramping toes, noises in head, and barrenness were evaluated by Dr. Swain, along with her son Fremont. Treatment included diet, exercise, rest, recreation and psychical influences, electricity, hydrotherapy, and osteopathy. Drugs and surgical operations were only used as a last resort.

Dr. Swain, as an author of several healthful cookbooks, stressed proper diet. “In most chronic and nervous diseases, perversion of nutrition is a leading symptom. Improvement in nutrition is usually the measure of recovery. Intelligent supervision of the diet is as desirable as it is difficult. We aim to have our table supplied with the best that the excellent markets of this fertile region afford, so prepared as to retain the full food value, so selected as to avoid the derangements arising from improper combinations, and yet afford a well-balanced dietary, and so varied as to avoid the monotony of the average table.”

The current photographs are courtesy of Doreen Tatnall, Carpenter realtors. Is anyone is need of a twenty-two-room, 7,200 square foot home with lots of great history?

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