Genealogy and History - Glen Lake Sanatorium

March 27, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

Glen Lake Sanatorium Pine Trees done in wet plate treatment by Kathleen Riley Photography, Glen Lake Sanatorium Pine Trees Glen Lake Sanatorium Pine Trees at what was once the entrance. A sanatorium (also spelled sanitorium and sanitarium) is a medical facility for long-term illness, most typically associated with treatment of tuberculosis (TB) before antibiotics.

Glen Lake Sanatorium was originally a tuberculosis treatment center serving Hennepin County in Minnesota. The facility was opened on 4 January 1916, with a capacity of 50 patients. The sanatorium had its own post office, and the mailing address was Glen Lake Sanatorium, Oak Terrace, Minnesota, and remained that until the surrounding area was incorporated into the City of Minnetonka. The sanatorium became a state-operated nursing home in 1961, but cared for tuberculosis patients until 1976. My mother, sister, and numerous friends were dedicated volunteers at "The San" when it was a nursing home. The buildings were demolished in 1992 with the exception of two summer camp buildings in Eden Prairie, which are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. 

Related books and movies

  • Minnesota author Frederick Manfred was a patient at Glen Lake Sanatorium from 1940 to 1942. While there he met his future wife and fellow patient, Maryanna Shorba. Manfred later fictionalized his stay in the book Boy Almighty, published under his given name of Feike Feikema.
  • Dr. Harry Wilmer, coincidentally a roommate of Frederick Manfred at Glen Lake Sanatorium, wrote Huber the Tuber which was published by the National Tuberculosis Association in 1942. It was used in educational campaigns against tuberculosis. 
  • The opening black and white sequence of Untamed Heart was filmed at Glen Lake Sanatorium shortly before it was demolished. In the movie, it represented the Catholic orphanage in which Christian Slater's character grew up. The bedside scene was filmed in the Children's Building and the other scene took place in the main first-floor hallway of the Administration Building. At the time of filming, the working title was "Baboon Heart."
  • The video documentary From Beginning to End: Glen Lake Sanatorium and Oak Terrace Nursing Home was produced in 1990 as a tribute to the 75th anniversary of the opening of the Sanatorium. The video, produced at Paragon Cable Studios by Steve Perkins, Mary Krugerud, and Colleen Spadaccini, is available for viewing at the Hennepin [County] History Museum. 
  • "A Girl at a Tuberculosis Sanatorium" recounts the story of Theresa Ledermann, who was 13 years old when she entered Glen Lake Sanatorium for what turned out to be a four-year stay. 
  • San Memories, a collection of photographs and oral histories, was published in celebration of the 75th anniversary of the opening of Glen Lake Sanatorium. 
  • "The Christian Family's Fight Against Tuberculosis" details the many efforts of George Christian and his family to use their personal wealth to improve the care and treatment of people with TB.

Additional Resources from The State of Minnesota 

Video about the Glen Lake Children's Camp 


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