Silvercrest Sanatorium

Silvercrest Sanatorium

Silvercrest Sanatorium is a former tuberculosis hospital in New Albany, Indiana. It was reused as a disabled children’s development centre before closing in 2006. The Art Moderne styled complex has since been restored as an elderly care facility.






History

The Floyd County Tuberculosis Association was established in 1917 to prevent the spread of the disease and to construct a tuberculosis sanatorium in southern Indiana. 1 The region was encompassed within the “black belt,” which included Kentucky, Tennessee, Indiana, Illinois, and Ohio where tuberculosis was prevalent.

The Association purchased the old Handy Farm on Old Vincennes Road in 1924 for $6,500 that included 42 acres, 20 of which were flat and prime for development. 1 Funding was secured through a popular subscription from the citizens of New Albany and other fundraising efforts that included neighbourhood performances and plays, such as one at a residence that charged a 3-cent admission, and a more elaborate production at Glenwood Park. The latter play, titled “The Greatest Gift: A Pagent of Health,” was written for the benefit of the Association and had a cast of nearly 1,000 members.

By 1936, enough money was collected to fund construction of a 20-bed sanatorium on the old Handy Farm. 1 The state became involved in the sanatorium planning process, and in July 1938, the Indiana General Assembly held a special session to enact a bill that would locate a site for the new Southern Indiana Tuberculosis Hospital.

The New Albany Citizens Committee (NACC) formed, and, along with the New Albany Chamber of Commerce, submitted a formal proposal that competed with twelve other communities in southern Indiana for the location of the hospital. 1 The plan stated that the Association would donate the existing hospital and land to the state. In September, the state announced that New Albany would be the home of the Southern Indiana Tuberculosis Hospital.

Construction

Indianapolis architect August Bohlen was chosen to design the new hospital. 1 Bohlen decided to use a streamlined Art Moderne style on the complex, emphasising curving forms, curved corner windows, and a subdued colour palette. 5

Construction began on the hospital in late 1938, and the $1 million, 150-bed (renamed) Silvercrest Tuberculosis Hospital opened in August 1940, taking in patients from 32 surrounding counties.

There was no formal dedication of the facility until May 10, 1941, as the new hospital was overwhelmed with demand. 5 The official ceremony included Indiana Governor Henry F. Schricker and other local dignitaries.

Silvercrest contained individual patient rooms instead of wards in contrast to the older Waverly Hills Tuberculosis Sanatorium in Louisville, Kentucky. 1 It also featured an outpatient clinic, several laboratories, surgery rooms, a dental office, kitchen, laundry, gymnasium, and heated swimming pool. A residence for the superintendent and several guest houses were located on-site.

In December 1952, five low-rise structures, along with two large residences, were added that cost $275,000. Designed by Hawkins and Walker of New Albany, the new structures were designed in a style similar to a motel. 1

Decline and Renovation

Beginning on April 1, 1972, the state began to phase out tuberculosis treatments at Silvercrest due to the development of medicines that started to combat the disease. 1 The hospital was closed by 1974 and converted into the Silvercrest Children’s Development Center. 2 The developmentally disabled treatment facility was in operation until it closed on May 12, 2006. 3 The ARC of Indiana, an advocacy group for people with developmental disabilities, 4 stated that the $8 million a year spent at Silvercrest could be used as a match for federal Medicaid funding, potentially making $24 million available to provide home- and community-based services to more disabled children.

The Department of Health planned to file a Certificate of Appropriateness to the Indiana Historic Preservation Review Board on January 24, 2007, as the first measure towards possible demolition of the hospital, however, it receded the motion after significant public opposition. 2

Silvercrest was instead sold to developer Matt Chalfant in 2007 who partnered with Louisville-based Trilogy Health Services to rehabilitate the former sanatorium into an assisted living and senior independent living facility. 7 The $16 million renovation involved adding a fitness centre, tennis courts, and a movie theatre. The main building was gutted to feature 25 assisted living and 54 skilled-care apartments, and 26 independent living, two-bedroom patio residences and 15 independent living apartments were built around the main building.

The project, The Villages at Historic Silvercrest, was dedicated on July 18, 2013. 6


Gallery






Further Reading


Sources

[su_spoiler title=”Sources” icon=”caret”]

  1. “Silvercrest: An Architectural Treasure in the Hills of New Albany.” New Albany Historic Preservation Commission. 24 Mar. 2009 Article.
  2. Fulmore, Ted. “Silvercrest Can Be Reused.” Weblog post. Our History in New Albany. 13 Jan. 2007. 24 Mar. 2009 Blog post.
  3. Moss, Dale. “So Long Silvercrest.” Weblog post. Courier-Journal. 15 May 2006. 24 Mar. 2009.
  4. “Closing Silvercrest is right decision.” News and Tribune. 23 Jan. 2006. 24 Mar. 2009 Article.
  5. ““Save Silvercrest” web site is launched: http://savesilvercrest.org/.” Weblog post. NA Confidential. 22 Jan. 2007. 24 Mar. 2009 Article.
  6. “Villages at Historic Silvercrest celebrates Grand Opening for New Facility.” One Southern Indiana. N.p., 22 July 2013. Web. 24 July 2014. Article.
  7. “Trilogy senior housing opens in New Albany.” Madison Courier 27 July 2013: n. pag. Madison Courier.com. Web. 24 July 2014. Article.

[/su_spoiler]

26 Comments

  1. I went to school there when it was called silvercrest children’s development center. I hate that it closed and is abandoned now. I wish I could go back there to visit my old school.

  2. My husband thinks that he was born at silver crest. It does not say where he was born on his birth certificate. How can I find out?

  3. My great- grandmother Mattie Jones was there in 1965 for 7 months and ended up passing away there. I would like to get records if at all possible. I would also like to hear from anyone that may have been there at that time.

  4. My grandmother, Ruby Onstott worked as a supervisor for the children who were there. I remember visiting there sitting in her office and heard voices. She is dead now

    1. well they remodeled it it was re-opened in 2013 as a nursing home it can be recognized possibly from the outside however the inside entirely different

  5. I was wondering how the website obtains these pictures. Do you break in to explore and get pictures or ask permission? I am just curious as I enjoy exploring abandoned places.

  6. Silvercrest is now open as a Nursing home and Independent living.
    You can go in and get a tour of the facility for free and they don’t advice
    you taking pictures but they don’t care as long as it doesn’t involve any of the
    residents . Taking pictures of the structure and the inside is ok. It is owned by
    the nursing home company Trilogy you can look on their website and call them
    and schedule a tour.
    My mom worked their for 14 years as a lpn until closing
    and my grandmother worked their for 20 until 2000 she worked
    in dietary . Their names are Julie B And Ingrid B

    1. my mother in law Darlene Bishop worked there and her Husband John Bishop for many years. Darelene was a supervisor in dietary and John worked in one of the offices not sure what he did but when they closed down both of them were very sad.

  7. My name is Shaquille Shanklin. I am part of a paranormal team called "Warren Paranormal Society". I was looking up information about this place and wondered who owns it now. If anybody has any information, please contact me at shakill@warrenparanormal.org OR my phone number (765) 585-2987

  8. My ID (MR) sister moved away from our family in 1997-1998 to Silvercrest to learn daily living skills. We were sad to see her leave, but when she came back, she learned so much! I am happy to hear that the site is now serving the elderly population. The hill this property sits on it beautiful, and with Louisville so close, it's a nice location.

  9. my mother was there at that time and i was wondering if you knew her i would love to hear about her more she died in may of 1969 her name was elsie sego

  10. I spent l4 months at Silvercrest. It was like a girl's dorm. All private rooms. The staff was wonderful and I owe my life to them. I was there in 1952 and 1953. I had TB in both lungs and I am now 82.

  11. My mother (and I to a very small degree) painted a mural in 1984 in the childrens recreation room. She passed away in 1984 and there was a dedication ceremony in her honor with a bronze plaque of her image hung on the wall. Her name was Bonnie Flick and I am desperately searching to see if I can find the plaque. Please let me know if there is anything that can be done to retrieve this.

    Sincerely, Keri

  12. I would like to know if any records are available for my father, Herbert Lowe,. He was a patient at Silvercrest TB sannitorium from Fall 1962 till Spring 1963. My Grandson has respitory problems and I would like to know if there might be a genetic connection. My addressis: 2709 State St., Columbus , IN 47201. My e-mail address is: rickyticky47@yahoo.com. Thank you.

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