Olney Sanitarium

History Tuesday – The Olney Sanitarium, Olney, IL

History Tuesday at Old Houses Under $50K is for informational purposes only and focuses on structures that were built for less than $50,000 back in the day. They are usually not for sale, and if they were, they would certainly cost way more than $50,000. Many of them have been lost to demolition.  This is the story of one of those – the Old Olney Sanitarium.

 

The Sanitarium

The old Olney Sanitarium was razed in 1957. While it was an active medical and psychiatric center, the turreted brick building was a grand and majestic structure. It was also a place of both tragedy and joy for those who were admitted there.

 

 

Dr. George Olney

Joy and Tragedy

Before Dr. George T. Weber, founder of Olney Sanitarium,  purchased the building in 1898, the building was the Arlington Hotel, known as the finest hotel in the area.  As a sanitarium, the facility was primarily known for its excellent medical service. Many babies began life at the medical facility, and thousands of life-saving surgeries were performed there.  The hospital did, however, have a few scandals.  In 1929, Dr. T.S. Weber, not to be confused with Dr. George Weber, was charged with murder for performing an illegal operation. In addition, the “demented” Mrs. Lola Hough, admitted for psychiatric reasons, jumped from a third floor window and died from her injuries.

 

 

1929

 

 

 

 

End of an Era

 

Dr. George Weber, the founder of Olney Sanitarium, passed away in 1941.

After Dr. Weber’s death, the sanitarium continued on for a one more decade.  First, the small nursing school folded in 1949. Then, the building which had stood as a landmark for more than 100 years, closed its doors forever in 1953. The Richland Memorial Hospital was built and the antiquated and obsolete sanitarium was demolished four years later. A parking lot was built in its place.

 

 

 

 

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