The Garrett Sanitorium was a project of Mary Garrett, who was Robert Garrett’s wife. Ms. Garrett operated the Robert Garrett Hospital for Children on North Carey St. in Baltimore. In the summer of 1887, Robert Garrett, president of the B&O Railroad, bought a large amount ofacreage where the present day Mount Airy Meat Locker, Mount Airy Volunteer Fire Company, and several private residences are located. The intention was to build a sanitorium where poor children from Baltimore who were sick or needed surgery could receive treatment. It was believed they would recover from illness more quickly by being in the fresh country air, rather than the polluted air in Baltimore. There were stipulations for which children could be received at the hospital. Children had to be between the ages of 2-12, suffering any acute disease that was not considered contagious, or suffering from needed surgery that parents were unable to afford.
The buildings were constructed quickly and at least five buildings were complete by the opening in summer of 1888. There were eventually many more buildings completed including a twenty-six bed hospital dormitory for children, nurses’ quarters, doctor’s office, open air pavilion, kitchen/dining hall, pump house, barn, and many small open-air cottages. All of the main buildings were connected with covered boardwalks.
Each year, the hospital opened on June 1st for patients. Between 50-100 patients were cared for each summer. Children were transported by train to the Mount Airy station and taken by wagon up the hill to the sanitorium. In addition, families could visit by train at no charge. In mid-September, patients were discharged to return home. Children who died while receiving treatment at Garrett Sanitorium were buried locally at places such as Pine Grove Cemetery, or a small cemetery located on the hospital grounds (although this has not been located since closing).
The Garrett Sanitorum operated for 35 years, before closing on September 15, 1922. The vacant buildings were used for various things following closing, including a Lutheran Children’s Home, Homemaker club meetings, a tea room, and other uses. The property was broken up and sold in 1937. The old pavilion was used in construction of a private residence just a few houses down the street across from the present day elementary school.
There are hardly any reminders of this beneficial establishment, except for some photos, newspaper clippings, and the pavilion roof on a residence.