Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Terror at the TB Hospital: Denmar's Colored TB Hospital

In February of 1917, the WV Legislature approved the building of a TB sanitarium in Pocahontas County for African Americans. The site was chosen for its high altitude, and thus healthy, fresh air. Several buildings and a tract of land were purchased from the Maryland Lumber Company, and in January of 1919, the hospital admitted its first patients.

However, the hospital only admitted those who could afford to pay for their own care, leaving many to suffer without medical attention. Soon after, though...patients began being sent to the hospital by court order in an effort to control the disease...and even the WV State Penitentiary in Moundsville sent infected prisoners to the Denmar site.

Therefore, by 1937, the population had increased so substantially that the state was forced to add a children's school and dormitories, and fund a new building to alleviate overflow.

As medical science improved, the need for TB sanitariums became less and less, and in 1957 the sanitarium was converted into a home for the chronically ill, with the remaining TB patients being sent to the Hopemont Sanitarium, which had just begun admitting black patients. It too was was shut down 8 years later and also turned into a hospital for the chronically ill.

Denmar formally closed in 1990, and by 1993 was turned into a correctional facility, so access today is prohibited.

According to the WV Ghosts website: Nearly 1000 African-American women and men spent their last days suffering with Tuberculosis at this isolated location in Pocahontas County and nearly 300 of them are permanently laid to rest here. This is a very isolated and active paranormal location. In the mid 1990's the location was renovated and turned into a correctional facility and is not available for the public to visit.

In 2006, another ghost story began making its rounds on the internet.  Workers at the current prison will often see the apparition of a short, African American doctor wearing a white lab coat and stethoscope stepping out of the elevator in the morning.  The doctor looks up, acknowledges the witness, then disappears.

History and Death List

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