The Sanitorium was opened by
Mary Fricke Garrett
and her husband, Robert Garrett.
(That's ol Bobby G you see in the background)
Robert was the President of the B&O Railroad
The Garrett's were quite wealthy,
though Robert was tortured by
the politics of running the railroad,
the untimely death of his brother, Harry, in
a tragic boat accident on the Chesapeake,
and persistent rumors he somehow
contributed to the death of
wealthy railroad magnate
William H. Vanderbilt.
In the summer of 1887, Robert Garrett,
purchased 47 acres on the North Main Street hill,
opposite the present elementary school.
Click for a Map Showing the Former Garrett Site
Garrett, and his wife, Mary,
set about constructing a hospital,
contagious disease building,
nurse’s housing, servants quarters,
a morgue, and a small graveyard
…the Garrett Sanitarium...
That's an actual photo of the Nurse's Quarters,
Hospital, and Pavilion below
The institution treated tubercular
and contagious diseases and from its
opening in 1888, treated hundreds of children
in its Hospital and in the Sanitarium.
The B&O Railroad for many years ferried
ill children and their parents
to the Mount Airy Railroad Station
for medical care in the
Mary paid for it all...and she even tried to find space for the parents who traveled to be with their children. Mary was quite a good soul. She cared for others...and that's rare now.
Over time, additional buildings
were added and the sanitarium spread
between Mt. Airy’s North Main Street
and Buffalo Road.
Children who died while in Mt. Airy
were actually buried in
a small graveyard
located on the
I supposed it would be interesting to
learn what became of that graveyard.....
It most certainly is only steps from the site of our haunt. We just hope it's not UNDER our haunt.
Mary was quite a lady
That's her behind this text
For her part, she poured
her soul and a healthy piece
of her fortune
into the children in hopes of giving them a better day
Her philanthropy was widely-recognized
her husband would leave her
Though his cuase of death was listed
as chronic nephritis - kidney failure,
Most believe Robert succumbed to his own mental demons. From 1887, until thhis death 9 yeard later, he feel deeper and deeper into poor mental and physical health. He died 3am, July 29, 1896, still tormented by the accusations he had a hand in the death of Vanderbilt, and still reeling from his brother's death in a shipwreck in the Bay. It is said that mariners heard his brothers' screams for help dissipate in the pitch dark cold night air. They could do nothing to save him. That never sat well with Robert.
Mental distress all but destroyed him and his body eventually gave out as well
Mary kept plugging away
She remarried, eventually, and
the Sanitarium eventually closed.
was reported to be
by the early 1930s.
But a portion of
the Garrett Sanitarium
is still visible today…
if you know where to look
and you look closely
Seen this building on your way to school?
That's the current building - it's the old pavilion seen in the black and white photo
Hiding in plain sight!!
The pavilion where patients
could once sought exposure to fresh, clean
Mount Airy winds
Still stands sentinel
A tribute to the children
A monument to Mary