The Florida Sanitarium
The sanitarium was the brainchild of Dr. W. K. Kellogg (Yes, the cornflakes Kellogg!). The following excerpts from an article entitled “Florida Hospitals Traveled Long Road From Sanitarium” by Mark Andrews published in the Orlando Sentinel on November 15, 1996, describe how the Florida Sanitarium became Florida Hospital.
“Florida Sanitarium opened in 1908 in an old farmhouse on a wooded campus between lakes Estelle and Winyah in what was then called the community of Formosa. It is now the College Park section of Orlando. The most popular hospital treatment at the turn of the century called for lots of rest, sunshine, fresh air, nutritious food, mild exercise and the so-called ”water cure.” This was the regimen prescribed for victims of tuberculosis, and physicians used it for a variety of other ills they didn’t know how to treat. Until the 1940s, it was the basis for most care at the institution that became Florida Hospital.
Several months earlier, a group of Seventh-day Adventists with $5 in their treasury began raising money to buy the building, which had formerly been a tuberculosis sanitarium. They paid $9,000 for the two-story building. The hospital opened in October 1908 with 20 beds, two physicians, a herd of dairy cows on the grounds and four patients, according to a history of Florida Hospital compiled for its 75th anniversary in 1983…
In 1912, a concrete block building was erected across the lawn from the original frame structure. A third story was added to the original building in 1918, bringing the hospital’s capacity to 60 beds. The facility looked more like a hotel than a hospital. The lobby had a hardwood floor and contemporary furniture. Porches extended all the way around the building on all floors, giving patients access to the outdoors from their rooms. Furniture in patients’ rooms resembled what they might have at home. The dining room had linen tablecloths and napkins.
In 1925, a new wing was completed to connect the farmhouse to the block building… The hospital began to modernize both its care and its facilities during the 1940s. The sanitarium-style cure was replaced by more modern medicines and diagnostic and surgical procedures. Also in the 1940s, new buildings that more resembled modern hospitals began to go up. After that, modernization came quickly… in 1970, the hospital finally shed the outdated ”sanitarium” from its name and became Florida Hospital Orlando.
Florida Hospital now (in November 1996) comprises four facilities in Orange and south Seminole counties that have a total of 1,342 rooms. The main campus in Orlando has 805 beds; a second hospital built in Altamonte Springs in 1973 has 290.”
Advertisement above is from an Orlando city directory, and features a photograph of the Florida Sanitarium, and this brief description: “Two miles north of Orlando, Rural Surroundings, Homelike Atmosphere, Two Beautiful Lakes on the Premises. Hydrotherapy, Massage, Electricity, Phototherapy and Surgery. Special attention to diet. For information, rates, etc., address The Florida Sanitarium, Drawer 28, Orlando, Fla. Phone 319.”
A brochure promoting the facilities at the Florida Sanitarium located in what is now College Park area was created around 1930. It includes methods used to promote health and scenes from the campus. Peruse additional brochures, photographs and histories at the Florida Hospital Heritage Collection.
A map of the area, shows Lake Estelle between Orlando and Winter Park near Mills Avenue, perhaps near the current location of Florida Hospital on Alden Road and Princeton Street.
Florida Hospitals are now part of the AdventHealth network of hospitals, free standing emergency centers, Centra Care urgent care centers and more.
Comments from the original Orlando Memory site