It was called “the san” and it’s part of a haunting and nearly forgotten chapter in Pennsylvania history.

Cresson Sanitarium The Cresson Sanitorium for tuberculosis patients was located 140 miles from Harrisburg, between Johnstown and Altoona. Thousands of people were sent there between 1913 and 1964. Some stayed for years. Some died there. In a reflection of the fear and stigma that surrounded tuberculosis, some who died were never even claimed by their families. They remain buried on a nearby hillside.

Charles Felton, who lived there for 18 months in the mid-1950s, has breathed new life into the facility by creating a Web site devoted to it. Felton, a 71-year-old retired aerospace engineer who lives in Texas, began the site for personal reasons. In his later years, he had been nagged by questions about the facility, where he was forced to live while his classmates graduated from high school.

Read the full article by David Wenner in the October 24, 2009 edition of