Tuberculosis Sanatorium Brought Alaska Natives to Seward

A tuberculosis outbreak in Alaskan villages beginning in 1946 resulted in the opening of the Seward Tuberculosis Sanatorium. Operated by the Woman’s Society of Christian Service of the Methodist Church, the “san” was open from 1946 to 1958. More than 1000 people, predominately Alaska Natives were treated their courtesy of the Alaska Native Service.

In addition to medical treatment, the hospital offered academic and vocational training as well as “practical subjects.” The practical subjects included home nursing and home economics for the women in Sanatorium. Once released, patients could stay in Seward and continue training at the Seward Rehabilitation Center.

The Sanatorium brought Alaska Natives to Seward from all parts of Alaska including Barrow, Prince of Wales, St. Lawrence Island, Nome and King Island.