Therapeutic Travel, part one: Sanitariums

We recently designed a display case in the NCC’s reading room that shows postcards from a variety of therapeutic destinations in the early 20th Century.  We’ve selected postcards showing sanitariums, healing springs, and coastal resorts to illustrate the different types of accommodations that became increasingly more popular after the establishment of the railroad in North Carolina.  We’ll post a blog entry for each type of institution over the next few weeks.


In an effort to treat patients with tuberculosis, sanitariums were built across the state, but many were located in Western North Carolina.  These facilities boasted clean, fresh air, restful scenery, and a slew of attendants and physicians to care for their ailing clients.

The railroad to Asheville was completed in 1882, making travel to Western North Carolina more convenient for those seeking to access the sanitariums and healthy climate of the mountains.  Pamphlets for both the sanitariums and railroads at this time often advertise their services in tandem:


This excerpt from a Southern Railway pamphlet, ca. 1898, is a prime example of how the railroad company used the benefits of Western North Carolina’s climate to laud their own service.

More postcards of sanitariums can be viewed online here.