South Mountain Restoration Center


South Mountain was established in August 1901. It went under the name of White Pine Camp from 1901-1907 & housed three patients. Conditions were crude as the first patients lived in an unheated barn and few remained there long. By 1907, capacity had expanded to about thirty patients who paid $1 per week which covered all expenses except laundry. In the summer of 1907 until 1918, the name was changed to Mount Alto Sanatorium and the patient census grew quickly to 960 patients in 1912. Patients often lost contact with family members due to mail from the sanatorium being marked “contaminated” and discarded when received at the local post office. In 1915, South Mountain’s first post office was built where Unit 3 now stands. Mail exiting the sanatorium now received proper handling, when it hadn’t previously, and was marked “disinfected”. In 1918, due to the new post office the name was changed once again to South Mountain Sanatorium. This became the time when the area took form to how it is now. In 1920, a second infirmary was built and in 1924 and took on the role of being the sanatorium’s first children’s hospital. In 1945, a new era in the fight against tuberculosis began that would eventually lead to the demise of the sanatorium. Suddenly, in the 1950’s, patients could leave the hospital within months as opposed to years. In 1956 until 1968, the hospital was renamed yet again to honor Dr. Samuel G. Dixon. The Samuel G. Dixon State Hospital retained many of the same rules and regulations of previous years with more critical patients being housed in Unit 1. Despite the amount of daily activity at the sanatorium, signs were visible that it’s time as a tuberculosis facility had passed and in 1963, the sanatorium newsletter ‘Spunk’ produced its final edition. In 1965, the sanatorium became the South Mountain Geriatric Center and in February 1966, the Department of Health announced its intent to phase out tuberculosis treatment at the sanitarium to focus more on geriatric patients being housed in mental hospitals. The sanatorium’s name was changed one final time in 1968 to its current name of South Mountain Restoration Center. After a high patient count of about 1,100 in 1970, the center stabilized to approximately 800 and by the early 1990’s, the patient census dropped to 400. In 1992, a company by the name of Vision Quest opened a camp for troubled youths on the grounds and in October 1994, the Cornell Abraxas Leadership Development Program opened a residential training at the center similar to a military school. This group expanded to Unit 3 once all remaining residents were moved to Unit 1 and in 1997, the Secure Treatment Unit, which houses repeat offender youths, opened behind the Nurse’s Home.



HISTORICAL PHOTO GALLERY Unit 1 Photo Gallery July 2007
Histoical images credit: Kathryn Yelinek (History of South Mountain Restoration Center 1901-2001) Unit 2 Photo Gallery July 2007