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"The Photo Album of Leslie Holmes Tanner"

Photos taken while a patient of Tuberculosis Sanatorium Booneville Arkansas 1927
later known as Arkansas State Tuberculosis Sanatorium

As presented by Charlotte Brown

Being an amateur Genealogist searching the boards on the internet for information on my elusive Great Grandparents I discovered a desire of many to find more about the Arkansas State Tuberculosis Sanatorium. Many wanted to know where it was located and where they could get information about a long ago patient.

As a child in the 1950s I could remember being given a test for Tuberculosis (TB) at school. I was afraid that should it be discovered by the test I had TB I would be sent to live in the Sanatorium in Boonevillie.

The test was not painful and only required that you wear a patch (a big Band-Aid) on your arm for a length of time. After a week or (ever how long) the County School Nurse would return with the verdict. If any cases were ever detected in this way I don't know for sure but no one was ever missed out of my class after the test.

It was later in life that I learned that I had a Great Uncle "Leslie Holmes Tanner" that had contracted the disease and was required to spend time at Boonevillie in the Sanatorium. I had heard my mother speak of her Uncle, Aunt and cousins and had seen pictures but he had died before I was ever born. In the pictures, I could see that he only had one leg and learned that it had been lost when he worked for the Railroad. I was told how one of his two daughters became a professional dancer and moved to Chicago. It was hinted that maybe he drank a little too much (by my dad's family) but there was no talk of him having TB.

When a neighbor and my school friend's mother was tested and found positive. I learned only then of Great Uncle Leslie's stay at the Booneville Sanatorium.

My mother assured me that he got well enough to return home and Mrs. Eads , with time would also return to her family. Later, on my dad's side of the family ,one of his cousins contacted TB. This was in the late 1950's and early 1960's Although she did go to the Sanatorium her stay was short and her recovery done mostly at home.

After the death of both of my Grandparents, my mother became the owner of a photo Album that belonged to Leslie Holmes Tanner. The album contained pictures taken during his stay at the TB Sanatorium.

It is the pictures I would like to share with others in search of family members ,associated with the TB Sanatorium at Booneville Arkansas or The Arkansas State Tuberculosis Sanatorium , as it was later named.

Tuberculosis Sanatorium Booneville Arkansas 1927

The Booneville TB Sanatorium 1927

Sanatorium kitchen

The Main Dinning Room


No name given

Miss Leneva Stallins is one of the nurses but the other lady may not of been a nurse but a vistor or a friend. If not for the name written on the picture I would not be able to Identify either.


Two of the women patients. Their names unknown.

A view of the men's Room. The man closest is Leslie Tanner.

Leslie Tanner is the one legged man near the end. I do not have the names of the others.

The History of Tuberculosis Sanatorium Booneville, Arkansas

written by Heather Ross in a reply to Boards

Fall 0f 1905 Judge Joseph M. Hill found he had TB and moved to Arizona. He realized the need in Arkansas for a TB center.

March 31, 1909 the AR legislature passed Act 378 appropriating $50,000 for the est. of a TB sanatorium and $30,000 for 2 yrs. maintenance of the building. But with no money for the proposed goals, the Board of Trustees had to wait till the next fiscal year and so began to search for a building site. The committee to select a site was Judge Joseph M. Hill, Dr. G. S. Brown, Mr. H.S. Taylor and others.

The city of Booneville offered to donate 973 acres of land valued at $10,000 for the site. The offer was accepted and building began.

The original plans called for an administration building, one ward building and two A cottages, two B cottages, five tent houses, four cabins and one superintendent's cottage.

Dr. John S. Shibley of Paris, the leading authority on the disease in the State of AR, was chosen to serve as the first administrator and physician.

Other administrators: Dr. John Steward 1913-1930, Dr. Jesse D. Riley 1930-1955, T. H. Lipscomb 1955-1962, and W. L. Fulmer 1962-1973. Under Dr. Jesse D. Riley, advances in the development of the facility and treatment of TB were made.

The first patient was received 2 Aug. 1910. The capacity was 64 patients.

The facility expanded with a building for occupational training donated by Mr. & Mrs. Harry E. Kelley of Ft. Smith. This increased the bed capacity to an added 18 beds.

Belle Point Lodge, a Masonic Lodge in Ft. Smith, constructed a building for children in 1924. Medical care provided by the state and school began operating on 12 Sep 1927 with Olea Cole Word as the teacher for all eight grades.

As the Sanatorium continued to grow, a complete farming operation with over a 100 acres for beef cattle, dairy cattle, livestock feed, hay, and vegetable crops to support food supply to the facility. Also a fire dept., its own phone system, a post office and other amenities of a small town were added. It had its own school bus to transport children of its employees into Booneville school. Movies and entertainment were provided on the grounds for patients and employees. The Sanatorium became the major employer of Logan County.

1940, a 4 story building, the Leo E. Nyberg Building, was opened with a capacity for 501 patients.

By 1959, the capacity extended to treat 1,017 patients. Advancements in treatment and care was finally brought TB under control by the mid 1960's and local hospitals could care for TB patients as well. Slowly the patient population decreased, and the last patient was discharged on 26 Feb 1973. The AR ST TB Sanatorium officially closed 30 Jun 1973.

Grounds and buildings of the facility were transferred to the AR Department of Human Services for use of a Human Development Center, a facility for the care and training of mentally retarded young adults.

1000 acres of farm land was transferred back to the City for use as an industrial site by Today's Kids and Magnetics, divisions of Spang Industries.

Other farm land was developed by the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture as a research facility for the study of methods of small farm operations.

Patient records were transferred to the AR Dept. of Health and were placed in a repository under the supervision of the Logan County Health Dept. in Booneville

This site contains pictures of people that were apart of the life of Leslie Holmes Tanner - pictures with no name that should be Identifyed - I would love to hear from cousins or friends that knew him.

So why not Email me at