Isolation Hospital


Springfield Journal Register, date of paper which originally published the following is unknown.



(Photograph courtesy of State Historical Library)
"OLD ISOLATION HOSPITAL NORTHWEST OF TOWN ON CANTRALL ROAD--
Older residents will remember this institution located just outside the northwestern limits of the city, on the west side of the Cantrall Road, wherein cases of smallpos, diptheria and other pestilential diseases were treated from about the turn of the century on down to, say, about 1922, when a department of contagious diseases was opened at St. John's Hospital. This picture by the late Guy Mathis shows the building, probably remodeled from an older structure, was about ready to open its doors. It was about as bleak and desolate a setting as could be imagined, and so far as we can recall, no real effort was ever made to make it attractive. From the nature of the place, most people gave it a wide berth and "visitors" were conspicuous by their absence. These cases were as a rule patients who could not be accommodated otherwise. This calls to mind a friend of the writer who came to Springfield about the year 1909 to prepare for the state bar examination. After securing a room in the residential district he disappeared, only to call up a few days later and say: "They've got me out here at the Pest House -- they tell me I've got the smallpox. I'll be stuck out here for five or six weeks. Pray for me! They ought to have a sign over the door: "Abandon hope, all ye that enter here!" The place was generally known as the Pest House, and the only people resident there were a man and his wife who looked after the patients. Of course physicians made the necessary calls. A smallpox scare hereabouts is said to have been the inspiration for this institution. The building was razed a number of years ago when the site was absorbed into the new section of Oak Ridge Cemetery on the northwest.

Submitted by: Jeanie Lowe.



Index