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Estes Nichols' Sanatorium

This Exhibit Contains 24 Items
1
Promotional brochure, Maine State Sanatorium, Hebron, ca. 1909

Promotional brochure, Maine State Sanatorium, Hebron, ca. 1909

Item 23549 info
Maine Historic Preservation Commission

After his death in 1944, Dr. Estes Nichols was remembered as a man for whom each patient "was not only a medical case, but a human being in search of assistance."

Nichols (1874-1944) was one of the founders of the Maine State Sanatorium in Hebron and its medical director from 1902 to 1915.

He had been interested in tuberculosis and public health almost from the time he earned his medical degree at the University of Vermont in 1900.

A member of the Medical Corps during World War I, Nichols specialized in lung diseases.


2
Architectural drawing of proposed sanatorium, Hebron, 1903

Architectural drawing of proposed sanatorium, Hebron, 1903

Item 23645 info
Maine Historical Society

A group of people interested in dealing with the nearly 1,300 yearly Maine deaths caused by tuberculosis in 1901 formed the Maine State Sanatorium Association.

The group planned the Maine State Sanatorium for Pulmonary Diseases in Hebron and planned public health education relating to tuberculosis.

Nichols shared his vision of a state-of-the-art TB treatment facility: teaching patients how to care for themselves, providing a healthy climate (clear, dry, cold air), a diet rich in milk and eggs, and no drugs other than those patients might use for "every day disturbances."

The buildings and campus needed to be designed to meet those needs.


3
Temporary headquarters, Maine Sanatorium, Hebron, 1904

Temporary headquarters, Maine Sanatorium, Hebron, 1904

Item 23650 info
Maine Historical Society

Noted Portland architect John Calvin Stevens, in business with his son, John Howard Stevens, designed the campus to meet Nichols' requirements.

Residential buildings all had wings coming off a central structure. In the center were quarters for staff as well as dressing room/bath facilities for patients.

The wings were crucial, however, providing patient sleeping that could be open to the air on two sides.


4
Men's cottage, Maine State Sanatorium, Hebron, ca. 1905

Men's cottage, Maine State Sanatorium, Hebron, ca. 1905

Item 23520 info
Maine Historic Preservation Commission

When the Maine State Sanatorium opened its doors in 1904 as a privately funded TB treatment facility, the Weeks Cottage for Men was the sole completed building.

Per Nichols' instructions, the building had an overhanging roof in front to shield the sleeping porch.

Interiors had plain finishes so they could be painted frequently to insure a hygienic environment.


5
Brief history of Maine Sanatorium, 1909

Brief history of Maine Sanatorium, 1909

Item 23586 info
Maine State Archives

Reflecting back in 1909 on the sanatorium's history, Nichols noted that facility had about 400 acres and had spent about $165,000, about 55 percent of which came from private funds and the rest from state appropriations.

He wrote that the facility, while private, was able to "perform the State work, and yet have the whole thing out of politics."

Of course, the whole thing did not stay out of politics, but Nichols' treatment philosophy prevailed.


6
Administration building, second and third floors, Maine State Sanatorium, 1906

Administration building, second and third floors, Maine State Sanatorium, 1906

Item 23643 info
Maine Historical Society

In 1906, the year the administration building was built, the Maine Sanatorium averaged 27 patients. The patient population averaged 55 the next year and 65 in 1908.

The administration building provided living space for some staff with nurses' quarters on the third floor and other staff and guest bedrooms and sitting rooms on the second.

The building was designed by John Calvin Stevens and John Howard Stevens of Portland.


7
Architect's sketch, Maine Sanatorium, ca. 1904

Architect's sketch, Maine Sanatorium, ca. 1904

Item 23568 info
Maine Historical Society

The administration building could house 100 patients "for administrative purposes."

It also featured a kitchen, dining room, central telephone, post office, library, parlor and assembly room.

In the basement were other patient services including a throat room, pharmacy, and incinerator for burning sputum.


8
Leigh Chamberlin Memorial building, Maine State Sanatorium, Hebron, ca. 1909

Leigh Chamberlin Memorial building, Maine State Sanatorium, Hebron, ca. 1909

Item 23564 info
Maine Historic Preservation Commission

Dr. Eleazer D. Chamberlin of Boston gave $65,000 to the sanatorium for the new administration building, which was named in honor of Chamberlin's son Leigh, who had died of tuberculosis.

The image of the building is part of a promotional booklet the sanatorium produced to explain its treatment philosophy, describe its setting, and to raise money from private donors like Chamberlin.


9
Administration building, power house, Maine State Sanatorium, Hebron, ca. 1909

Administration building, power house, Maine State Sanatorium, Hebron, ca. 1909

Item 23560 info
Maine Historic Preservation Commission

The promotional brochure noted that "the prime object" of the Sanatorium Association was to provide treatment and cure of people with TB.

The association also sought to limit the spread of TB, which the brochure state, "destroys over a thousand of our brightest young men and women annually."

The association was a "purely philanthropic movement."


10
Outdoor features, Maine State Sanatorium, Hebron, ca. 1909

Outdoor features, Maine State Sanatorium, Hebron, ca. 1909

Item 23556 info
Maine Historic Preservation Commission

Air quality was seen as crucial to curing tuberculosis. The brochure stated that Oxford County "has long been known, and has become quite famous, for the dryness of tis atmosphere, the absence of fogs, and the large amount of sunshine compared to many other portions of New England."

The brochure went on to discuss the absence of large storms and the moderate snowfall and temperatures.


11
Dairy operation, Maine State Sanatorium, Hebron, ca. 1909

Dairy operation, Maine State Sanatorium, Hebron, ca. 1909

Item 23555 info
Maine Historic Preservation Commission

A 320-acre farm was a centerpiece of the sanatorium.

A herd of 25 dairy cows was kept in the barn to produce milk and cream for patients.

The institution kept corn in a silo and hay in the barn for its cows and its 10 horses.

The brochure bragged that the barn "is thoroughly lighted by electric lights, and supplied with running water."

The farm also produced fruit and vegetables to meet dietary needs of patients.


12
Assembly room, parlor, Maine State Sanatorium, Hebron, ca. 1909

Assembly room, parlor, Maine State Sanatorium, Hebron, ca. 1909

Item 23552 info
Maine Historic Preservation Commission

The Parlor and Assembly rooms in the administration building suggested that some patients, at least, would be well enough to leave their beds.

The building was designed for safety in an era when fire destroyed many large structures. It was built of brick and concrete, adamant plaster and expanding metal lathing.


13
Lab, examining room, Maine State Sanatorium, Hebron, ca. 1909

Lab, examining room, Maine State Sanatorium, Hebron, ca. 1909

Item 23559 info
Maine Historic Preservation Commission

Because tuberculosis is a highly contagious disease, the sanatorium made efforts to limit the spread of the disease within its walls.

Ventilation was stressed and the buildings had French casement windows and top lights. Buildings were lighted with electricity and heated by direct and indirect methods, all to promote hygienic conditions.

Sewage was carried through pipes to cesspools away from the buildings.

The laboratory was used for examining blood, sputum and urine.


14
Facilities, Maine State Sanatorium, Hebron, ca. 1909

Facilities, Maine State Sanatorium, Hebron, ca. 1909

Item 23561 info
Maine Historic Preservation Commission

A sterilizing room was used steam to clean mattresses and other bedding. The aluminum sputum boxes were sterilized twice a day and the paper linings of the boxes incinerated at the same time.

The throat room was "furnished with all the modern appliances for treatment of the upper respiratory tract."

Also available were static and X-rays for diagnosis and treatment.


15
Offices, Maine State Sanatorium, Hebron, ca. 1909

Offices, Maine State Sanatorium, Hebron, ca. 1909

Item 23554 info
Maine Historic Preservation Commission

The promotional brochure stressed that the sanatorium was for "incipient cases," and that potential patients needed to apply in writing and make an appointment for a physical examination.

The sanatorium intended as patients "only those whose condition gives promise of arrest, or great benefit within a reasonable time."

It was not, the brochure stated, "in any sense a consumptives' boarding house, or a home for incurables."


16
Leisure rooms, Maine State Sanatorium, Hebron, ca. 1909

Leisure rooms, Maine State Sanatorium, Hebron, ca. 1909

Item 23553 info
Maine Historic Preservation Commission

The sanatorium boasted of all the latest conveniences, including long distance telephone and internal phone service connected to all buildings and most rooms.

Patients could reach the Hebron facility by train from Portland and a carriage ride two miles to the sanatorium from the depot.


17
Kitchen facilities, Maine State Sanatorium, Hebron, ca. 1909

Kitchen facilities, Maine State Sanatorium, Hebron, ca. 1909

Item 23557 info
Maine Historic Preservation Commission

Treatment for tuberculosis included "placing a patient under such health conditions as to strengthen his forces of life, and his resisting powers to the disease."

The sanatorium regulated what patients ate and drank, how much they slept, how much time they spent outdoors, how and when they exercised, as well as how they cared for sputum.


18
Maine Sanatorium diet, ca. 1906

Maine Sanatorium diet, ca. 1906

Item 23533 info
Maine State Archives

Equally important was diet.

Nichols wrote, "the forced feeding with milk and eggs, and a good mixed diet is practically more essential than the climatic open air life, but if it was not for the stimulating effect of the out-of-door life, patients could never take the extra amount of food required in their early residence."

Patients ate six meals a day. Nichols said patients had 700 quarts of milk and 1,600 eggs a year, in addition to the rest of their diet.


19
Sleeping pavilions, Maine State Sanatorium, Hebron, ca. 1909

Sleeping pavilions, Maine State Sanatorium, Hebron, ca. 1909

Item 23562 info
Maine Historic Preservation Commission

For the most part, patients slept in open air, bundled in fur wraps in the winter. Nichols reported that most "like it much better than sleeping in a room."

Nichols said the open-air treatment was in contrast to the popular idea that the best treatment was in dark, heated rooms.

He believed "cold, crisp" Maine air was better for TB patients than the warm, dry air of the west.


20
Cottage plan, Maine State Sanatorium, ca. 1904

Cottage plan, Maine State Sanatorium, ca. 1904

Item 23647 info
Maine Historical Society

John Howard Stevens and John Calvin Stevens designed the sleeping pavilions according to Estes Nichols' specifications: they were attached at an angle to the main building to shut off east and northeast winds on one side and west and northwest winds on the other. They faced south.

Overhanging roofs kept out storms. The front side was open to the weather with sliding doors to keep out severe storms.


21
Resident cottages, Maine State Sanatorium, Hebron, ca. 1909

Resident cottages, Maine State Sanatorium, Hebron, ca. 1909

Item 23521 info
Maine Historic Preservation Commission

The sleeping cottages were shingled on the outside. The inside were hard pine, with enameled walls and oak mission furniture.

The front veranda was 140-feet long and captured the sun from morning to night.

The brochure noted, "This affords a beautiful view of the valley of the Androscoggin, and here the patients spend most of their day, in the open air."


22
Cottage for women, Maine State Sanatorium, Hebron, ca. 1909

Cottage for women, Maine State Sanatorium, Hebron, ca. 1909

Item 23565 info
Maine Historic Preservation Commission

In the center of the cottages were warm dressing rooms with showers, tub and spray baths, toilets, lavatories and lockers for clothing.

The cottages also had private rooms for patients "with acute disturbances."

The group setting helped patients avoid feeling isolated, the brochure noted.


23
Stevens' plan of Maine State Sanatorium, Hebron, ca. 1908

Stevens' plan of Maine State Sanatorium, Hebron, ca. 1908

Item 23550 info
Maine Historic Preservation Commission

Finances were a continual concern for the sanatorium. The brochure stated, "we are obliged to charge the actual cost of maintenance." That was $10-$12 a week when the brochure was produced about 1909.

Patients had to supply their own thermometers, sputum cups, fur coats and heavy blankets and pay to have their laundry done.

Some patients were required to pay for extra nursing care.


24
Scenic views, Maine State Sanatorium, Hebron, ca. 1909

Scenic views, Maine State Sanatorium, Hebron, ca. 1909

Item 23558 info
Maine Historic Preservation Commission

The sanatorium offered woodland trails, log camps in the woods where patients could spend time in the winter, as well as beautiful scenery.

Nichols' intended the facility not only to be in an ideal location, but to be modern in all regards -- electric lights, electric laundry, central heating and healthy spring water -- from the same source as "the well known Poland Spring water."

He believed it was the best facility in the country.


This Exhibit Contains 24 Items
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