The Nurses Dormitory at Lake View Sanatorium

Lake View Hill Park was established as a Dane County park in 2004 in an attempt to conserve the significant natural and cultural resources associated with the former Lake View Sanatorium. Lake View Sanatorium operated as a tuberculosis sanatorium from 1930 until 1966 in Madison, Wisconsin.


As part of the Wisconsin county system of sanatoria, Lake View played an important role in providing education, diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation for TB patients in Dane County. When planning for the institution, a great amount of attention was given to the selection of the site, and the beauty of the setting and grounds. The medical approach to treating tuberculosis included extensive bed rest, exposure to fresh air and sunshine, and a diet consisting of plenty of meat, fresh fruits, vegetables, and dairy products. The emphasis on fresh air and sunshine meant that the buildings, site design, and surrounding landscape were considered vital factors in the recovery of patients.


Throughout the country, practitioners applied a similar approach in developing facilities for the treatment of TB, emphasizing the location and design of sanatoria to maximize exposure to outdoors. The effect of tuberculosis on our society has been dramatic, and yet most of us know very little about it. The story is tangible at Lake View.

Adaptive Use & Efforts of Preservation

Although the Sanatorium closed in 1966, the majority of the buildings and landscape have continued to be owned and used by Dane County. Adaptive use of the landscape as a county park and ecological restoration area has been successful. Continued use of the buildings by the Dane County Department of Health and Human Services has preserved them on site and provided pleasant office space.


Unfortunately, the Nurses Dormitory is the exception to this story. In 1984 the county ceased active use of the 20,000 square foot historic dormitory at the property. Since that time, the building has been used for storage. Maintenance has been minimal, and the roof is currently leaking.

Efforts to determine a feasible use of the building, by the county, have been unsuccessful. The county has budgeted funds for demolition of the building in the current fiscal year. In an effort to preserve this important part of the historic landscape at Lake View, the Friends of Lake View Hill Park have sought to find a partner to develop the building for a use that is compatible with the surrounding neighborhood, park, and current use.

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