Established in 1938, the Denmar Sanitarium for the African-Americans was tuberculosis hospital in Denmar, West Virginia.1 It became a facility for the chronically ill in 1957 and the complex was renamed Denmar State Hospital.


In 1917, the West Virginia Legislature created the State Colored Tuberculosis Sanitarium2 and purchased 185 acres of land and buildings from the Maryland Lumber Company and deeded it to the West Virginia Board of Control. The new hospital was dedicated to African-Americans of West Virginian descent who had tuberculosis and who were able to pay for their care.

“The reasonable expenses of poor persons admitted at the request of the authorities of any municipal corporation or county, shall be paid by such municipal corporation or county.”2
-1918 West Virginia Legislative Hand Book

The sanitarium admitted its first patients on January 31, 1919.2

The West Virginia Legislature appropriated funds for a new hospital structure in 1937, which was completed two years later.2 In 1957, the facility was desegregated by an act of the legislature. It also became known as the Denmar State Hospital for the chronically ill as the threat of tuberculosis had diminished extensively due to improved medicines and treatments.1 Pinecrest Sanitarium in Beckley took in the remaining tuberculosis patients.

Denmar State Hospital closed in 1990.1 The Pocahontas County Commission deeded the land in 1993 to the West Virginia Division of Corrections for conversion into a state correctional facility. It was expanded in 1998 when work began on a new multi-purpose building and a correctional industries and vocational structure. A new roof was installed on the Greenbrier Birthing Center. All of these projects were completed in 2000.

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  1. “DCC.” Denmar Correctional Center. West Virginia Division of Corrections. 25 Apr. 2006 Article.
  2. “Deaths at the West Virginia Colored Tuberculosis Sanitarium at Denmar.” West Virginia History 56 (1997): 88-121.
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