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Catawba Hospital (Catawba Sanitarium, Roanoke Red Sulphur Springs)

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Catawba Sanitarium, Roanoke Red Sulphur Springs
1858; 1914 chapel; 1953 hospital building. 5525 Catawba Hospital Dr.

Catawba Hospital is on the site of Roanoke Red Sulphur Springs, a large resort operating in the second half of the nineteenth century. Its remote mountain setting was promoted as healthful, and its mineral waters were believed to be especially effective in treating lung diseases. All that remains from that era is an octagonal iron gazebo with a marble font over the spring and an abandoned two-story frame structure in the woods behind it. When the popularity of spring resorts waned in the early twentieth century, the Commonwealth of Virginia purchased the resort and reopened it as the state's first sanitarium treating tuberculosis, which at the time was rampant. A number of modest frame and a few brick buildings remain from this period.

The Gothic Revival Brauer Chapel (1914, Clarence H. Hinnant), named for the person who spearheaded fundraising for the sanitarium, is built of Catawba stone. The chapel's gabled front has a low gabled parapet and a gabled vestibule. The Nichols Building (1953, Brown, Wells, Meagher with Joseph H. Saunders Jr.; later rear additions) is the hospital's most visible building. The horizontality of this seven-story International Style building is further emphasized by the long projecting concrete bands providing shade above each of the rows of windows. In 1972, with tuberculosis under control, the sanitarium became a mental health treatment and rehabilitation center serving adults, including geriatric patients.

Writing Credits

Anne Carter Lee

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