Early in 1909 at the suggestion of Dr. John H. Pryor of Buffalo, a bill was brought before the New York Legislature. This bill, which was passed March 25, 1909, authorized the city of Buffalo to build equip and run a hospital for the treatment of in-patient tuberculosis (TB). On December 18 1909, after an extensive search for a proper setting, the Buffalo City Council, on the recommendation of Dr. Pryor, chose the hillside location in Perrysburg where J.N. Adam Memorial Hospital is located. Mayor James Nobel Adam, for whom the hospital is named, purchased the 293 acre site and donated it to the city. At the time of purchase there was one small building on the property; “Tipperary”, the original “sanitarium”.
Tipperary was started around 1903, in a shack. Bula M. Lincoln (an aunt after whom Bula Palcic was named) was the first patient. The closest treatment center for TB was in Ray Brook, now Gowanda, New York, quite a distance from “Iroquois, New York”, better known as the Tomas Indian School. Ms. Lincoln’s father was the Superintendent of that institution and it seemed that Bula couldn’t get well due to the distance from her family. They brought her home to experience the “sunshine cure” or fresh-air cure under the direct supervision of Dr. Lake from Gowanda and Dr. Pryor from Buffalo. This new type of cure was of Swiss origin and was proving to be successful. With the rise in cases of TB, Dr. Pryor’s friend James Noble Adam, Mayor of Buffalo was very much aware of the need for an institution close to Buffalo. With cures occurring at Tipperary and the lands perfect for the pure lake breezes it seemed only logical that buffalo might choose the Perrysburg site. As it seems to be in any instances, then and now, the council could not decide where to locate the already funded institution. Mayor Adam bought the land, and gave it to the City.
A $160,000 contract was issued on October 13 1910 to cover the initial cost of the buildings and equipment. Upon completion of the original buildings, the total cost was slightly in excess of $300,000. The formal opening of J.N. Adam Memorial Hospital took place on November 12 1912. The facility, which had a capacity of 140 patients, had two wings one on each side of the administration area. (Over the years, further construction added extensions on each wing as well as numerous additional buildings. These added areas increased the capacity to nearly 420 beds.) A fully modernized kitchen and resplendent dining room were in the rear area of the administration unit. The dining room, like the rest of the structure, was built to provide superlative patient care in as majestic an atmosphere as possible. This was necessary to ward off the boredom that accompanied the slow treatment of tuberculosis. The dining room was just one of the rooms built to allow sunshine to cure all. For the enhancement of the dining room Mayor Adam bought and donated to the hospital the beautiful circular dome window from the Temple of Music Auditorium, at the 1901 Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo. It was under this dome that President McKinley was shot, while attending the Exposition. This bit of notoriety however, does not detract from the window’s beauty, and it remains today as the most visible part of the extremely attractive dining area. This room has perfect acoustics in addition to perfect lighting.
Heat was provided for the buildings using a steam system. A new power plant was built in 1923, which served the facility until 1960. At that time, new boilers were installed and gas replaced coal as the main fuel.
The hospital has always had an abundant water supply. The original reservoir had a capacity of one half million gallons of water. During 1923 and 1924, a one-million gallon reservoir was built, bringing the total capacity to 1.5 million gallons. It if became necessary, the ten working wells on the grounds could produce twice as much water as the hospital could use.
J.N. Adam Memorial Hospital was a tuberculosis treatment center from its inception in 1912 until 1960. For its first 36 years, it was owed and operated by the City of Buffalo. During that time it has just two directors, Dr. Clarence Hyde served from 1912-1921. His former assistant, Dr. Horace LoGrasso replaced him and served until his retirement in 1948. In that year the hospital was turned over to the State and became one of the seven State-operated tuberculosis centers. It continued in this capacity until June 1960. At that time it closed down, only to reopen as a State mental hygiene facility in September of the same year. It functioned as part of Gowanda State Hospital until 1962, when it became a division of West Seneca State School. Originally, plans had called for the hospital to be closed permanently when West Seneca opened, However the large number of potential patients necessitated that it remain open. In 1972, JN. Adam Memorial Hospital became an independent facility in the New York State Department of Mental Hygiene and served under the title J.N. Adam Developmental Center. The institution is now closed as a debate over ownership between New York State and the City of Buffalo continues.
Submitted to the 2008 Cattaraugus County Bicentennial History book by Charles Stewart
The J N Adam Facility now - While Buffalo continues a successful expansion of its modern-day medical corridor, we should all remember its first medical corridor –the country roads, railroad tracks and, yes, even carrier pigeons that traveled to and from New York’s first municipal TB hospital. Where would our region be were it not for the thousands of our citizens who were healed there and went on to shape Buffalo and Western New York?
The campus was listed on the NYS Register of Historic Places in 1985 and is eligible for the National Register of Historic Places. While Coxhead's work has been championed around the country, with a dozen of his designs on the National Register of Historic Places, New York State officials are engaging in demolition by neglect in allowing this piece of our history to suffer costly decay and damage.
The campus and its gentle sloping grounds are in Cattaraugus County, New York, home to deep valleys and steep ridges that inspired its tourism slogan: "Enchanted Mountains". At an elevation of 1,322 feet, with sweeping views of Buffalo and Canada to the north, Lake Erie to the west, and vast expanses of farmland and forested hills in all directions, Perrysburg surely must be Cattaraugus County's "Most Enchanted Mountain." Recreational, educational and preservation potential abounds in the open space adjoining the campus, in keeping with Cattaraugus County's Open Space Preservation Plan.
The above information and much more as well as plenty of photos can be found on the following website: http://jnadam.org/index.html