San Haven Sanatorium

The San Haven State Hospital, originally known as the North Dakota Tuberculosis Sanitarium was opened to the public in November of 1912. Located in the Turtle Mountains of Rolette County, it was thought that the higher altitude and drier atmosphere would be favorable to patients with tuberculosis.

In the 1950’s, after antibiotics brought some control over the tuberculosis epidemic, the hospital remodeled, expanded, and ultimately opened its doors to the developmentally disabled and elderly. As with many state hospitals, rumors and questions regarding the treatment of it’s patients began to circulate and the hospital would eventually close in December of 1987 after a lengthy lawsuit.

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Image Courtesy of  North Dakota Newspaper Association

This once elaborate and expansive hospital now sits in ruins; only a ghost of it’s former self. A popular attraction for teenagers, there are an abundance of rumors regarding the presence of paranormal phenomenon, which only adds to the mystery and appeal. Even if this isn’t true, it is impossible to stand on the expansive and overgrown property and not feel emotional in some regard.


Standing in a building that looks almost post-apocalyptic, you can’t help but imagine the hundreds of people that walked those long halls. How different it must have been to see with the windows unbroken, the doors still attached to their hinges, and fresh paint covering the walls.  I will let the pictures do the talking this time; all you have to do is listen.



3 thoughts on “San Haven Sanatorium

  1. Rich Lewis December 29, 2016 / 5:50 AM

    Nice set of images documenting a place that probably started out with the best of intentions. We have an abandoned hospital in Philadelphia called Pennhurst which was for disabled children but was really just a warehouse for unwanted kids and was known for overcrowding, abuse and neglect until a lawsuit forced its closure. You can find out more on my blog or doing a web search. Sad stuff these places.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jessica Mae Olson December 29, 2016 / 6:27 AM

      Pennhurst has always been on my list of places I would like to see before it’s gone. I know someone whose mom worked there for awhile. Certainly sad that it turned into what it did


      • infraredrobert December 29, 2016 / 10:00 AM

        I believe that Pennhurst’s days are numbered as it has been sold to a developer…


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