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Dr. Henry Longstreet Taylor and a group of St. Paul citizens were concerned about the high rate of tuberculosis among children in Ramsey County. They raised money to purchase a 12-acre site on Lake Owasso that had been the location of the unsuccessful Cuenca Sanatorium. Half of the money was given by the railroad magnate, James J. Hill.
The Ramsey County Preventorium opened July 1915. Public health nurses recommended children who could benefit by being removed from homes where tuberculosis was present. The Preventorium's purpose was to prevent active disease through good nutrition and exercise. Many of the children were under-nourished and some became orphaned because of tuberculosis in their families. Children with active tuberculosis were instead sent to sanatoriums.
Children at the preventorium were given healthful food and lots of milk. They were encouraged to play outdoors, even in the winter when minimal clothing allowed for maximum sunshine on the skin. In 1927, the original building burned and was replaced by brick buildings, including a separate schoolhouse.
The Preventorium closed in 1953 and was operated by Faribault State Hospital as the Lake Owasso Children's Home for retarded children. In 1976 the facility was transferred to Ramsey County. The site now operates as a residence for adults with developmental disabilities.
Source: Invited and Conquered, J.A. Myers, 1949, Webb Publishing. Also: Ramsey County Preventorium archives at the Minnesota Historical Society. More information about Dr. Taylor can be found at MNopedia.
Additional resource: Ramsey County Historical Society
Ramsey County Preventorium
Children playing in the snow. This original wood-framed building burned in 1927 and was replaced by brick buildings.