Winfield Tuberculosis Sanatorium Sign Discovered

This past weekend my wife and I stopped by an estate sale held on Park Street near the Winfield Elementary School. Much to our surprise while in the basement of the home at 0S185 Park St in Winfield we spotted this sign in the photo below:

If anyone out there may have any information on how this sign was built into the foundation of this home please reach to me so that I can record as the late great WGN-TV radio personality Paul Harvey used to say, “The Rest of the Story!”.

The Winfield Tuberculosis (TB) Sanatorium was once located on the property now occupied by Central Dupage Northwestern Hospital. According to the Chicago Tribune and Louise Spanke’s book Winfield Good Old Days: A History:

The gleaming and modern Central DuPage Hospital, which sits atop a hill in Winfield overlooking the DuPage River, had its beginnings as a two-story frame building opened in 1897 by Jessie P. Forsythe as a rest home. She operated it with her sister Christine.

According to Louise Spanke in her book “Winfield’s Good Old Days, A History,” the two women employed a rest-cure system that incorporated primarily rest and massage. In 1908, a year after her sister died, Jessie Forsythe sold the rest home. [This is the Rest Home where my Great-Grandmother Susan Schlick once worked and lived for a period of time. See this post for more on story.]

A 1904 plat map for Winfield Township shows where the Forsythe Rest Home was located north of the Village of Winfield.

The 5 July 1907 issue of the Wheaton Illinoian recorded the following: Mrs. Marion Ashley had been appointed manager of the Winfield Rest Farm. Miss J.P. Forsythe, the owner, has taken charge of her sister’s rest home in Chicago. The sister having died a few weeks ago.

In 1909, the Chicago-Winfield Tuberculosis Sanatorium opened a sprawling facility at the site. It was run by three societies-the Baron Hirsch Woman’s Club, the Jewish Consumption Relief Society and the Willing Workers. The sanitarium eventually purchased more of the surrounding land.

In 1962, as more and more treatment for tuberculosis was being handled by places like Michael Reese Hospital in Chicago, the sanitorium closed and sold its property to an association of citizens that was seeking to open a hospital for the area.

The purchase price was $1.1 million, and another $1.5 million was spent on improvements. In 1964, the hospital opened as a 113-bed, acute-care facility with a staff of 95. 

Via the Internet I found out that the home on Park Street was once owned by Thomas W. Saylor, Sr. Thomas married Laurene Higgins. Laurene was related to the family that ran the Higgins Store in Winfield. Higgins Store was well known to Winfield and area residents and was in operation for decades. Thomas Saylor, Sr. was the owner and operator of the Winfield Fuel and Material Co. The Fuel and Material Co. were in business for 118 years. The Higgins family at one time owned and operated the Winfield Fuel and Material Co. The land once occupied by the Winfield Fuel Co. is now occupied by a large multistory Winfield Station Apartment complex.

The serendipity and discovery of history research never ceases to amaze me. This is what keeps me going during my retirement. At first I did not want to go to this Estate Sale but my wife encouraged me to “Let’s just go and take a look“. I am so glad I did. The estate sale uncovered a lost remnants of Winfield’s history.

About Schlick Daleiden Families - DuPage and Kane Counties of Illinois

Kevin Davis is a retired Public Library Director. He is a Board member of the Winfield (IL) Historical Society. Davis has over 35 years experience working in public libraries. He is deeply interested in local Chicagoland, Dupage, and Kane County History. Davis earned a BA in History and an MA in Library Science from Dominican University. He is a volunteer researcher for the St. James Farm Forest Preserve part of the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County in Illinois. His work includes extensive writing and research on the McCormick family line who were former owners of St. James Farm. He is an avid family historian / genealogist and has done extensive research on the Schlicks and Daleidens of DuPage and Kane County Illinois.
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