Saranac Lake

Patients sitting outside Trudeau Sanatorium, Saranac Lake, New York State, 1896. Saranac Lake free library

In 1884, Dr. Edward Trudeau opened America's first sanatorium. Originally called the Adirondack Cottage Sanitorium, the institution changed its name following Trudeau's death in 1915. Having followed the work of Hermann Brehmer, and his advocation for cold fresh mountain air, healthy diet and rest to aid recovery from TB, Trudeau established the sanatorium on the shores of lake Saranac. The first patients were two sisters who had been factory workers in New York City. They were treated in a one-room cottage named "Little Red". Although treatment was not free, Trudeau treated poorer patients for a reduced cost, with many physicians and staff members working without pay. Due to its popularity, far more patients travelled to Sanarac Lake than the sanatorium could accommodate, resulting in a number of small, family-run "cure cottages" being built throughout the local area to meet the demand.