Historically Speaking: Minden Sanitarium

By Jessica Gorman

The Minden Sanitarium opened on 9 December 1926. For many years, the people of Minden had tried to organize efforts for construction of a sanitarium to serve the area. In 1925, numerous ads appear in local newspapers highlighting this need and the need to raise funds.  

An organization was formed in May 1926 to finally realize this goal. Construction soon began on the four-story building built by F. C. McClanahan of Homer and valued at $60,000. The sanitarium was 9,600 square feet and was built to accommodate 35 patients in 18 rooms that made up four wards. In the event of an emergency, a maximum of 50 patients could be accommodated.  

Construction was completed in November 1926. Minden was proud to provide the only sanitarium between Monroe and Shreveport, and the only one along the L & A Railway between Stamps, Arkansas and Alexandria. 

The first board of directors was composed of Dr. S.F. Martin, Dr. J.B. Benton, Mr. W. McDade, Mr. J.D. Kilgore, and Dr. C.M. Baker. Miss Ola Sawyer was named superintendent. Those responsible for the operation of the sanitarium made it clear that their “sole motive is – alleviation of human suffering – and any money that may be made will be put back into the plant to create a better plant.”

Over the years, the sanitarium grew to accommodate the needs of the community. This building was never torn down, but instead expanded through many renovations and still exists as part of Minden Medical Center.

(Jessica Gorman is the Assistant Director and Archivist for the Dorcheat Historical Association Museum in Minden and is an avid genealogist.)

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