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Maine History Online
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Estes Nichols' Sanatorium

Text by Candace Kanes

Images from Maine Historical Society and Maine Historic Preservation Commission

When the Maine State Sanatorium on Greenwood Mountain in Hebron opened in 1904 to treat people with tuberculosis, it was only the fourth facility in the nation operating as a statewide sanatorium.

Officially, it was the Maine Sanatorium Association that created the new institution, but Dr. Estes Nichols provided the expertise in tuberculosis treatment and the energy and vision behind the new venture.

Nichols claimed to have visited all the sanatoriums in the United States and Canada and planned to build one on a mountain in rural Maine that would surpass any he had seen.

He and the Association hired Portland architects John Calvin Stevens and John Howard Stevens, planned the farm that would feed patients and spread the word about what constituted effective treatment for the disease that had been known as consumption.

The climate on Greenwood Mountain was as important as the design of the buildings and the methods of treatment.

Until 1915 when the state took over control of the sanatorium, Dr. Nichols continued to raise money, oversee care of patients, deal with the Legislature, correspond with potential patients, and handle the day-to-day operations of the ever-growing facility.