Cattaraugus County GenWeb
Perrysburg, NY

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New York State Mental Hygiene Representative


Early in 1809, at the suggestion of Dr. John H. Pryor of Buffalo, a bill was brought before the New York State Legislature. This bill, which was passed on March 25, 1909, authorized the City of Buffalo to build, equip. and run a hospital for the treatment of incipient tuberculosis. On December 18, 1909, after an extensive search for a proper setting;, the Buffalo City City Council on, the recommendation of Dr. Pryor, chose the hillside location in Perrysburg where J. N. Adam Memorial Hospital is located.

Mayor James Noble Adam, for whom the hospital is named, purchased the 293 acre sight and donated it to the city. At the time of purchase there was one smail building on the property; "Tipperary" the original "sanitarium".

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 forrral 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. A fully modernized kitchen and a resplendent dining room were in the rear ofthe adrrjnlstration unit.

The dlnlng room, like the rest or 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 tuberulosis. 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 William 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 attrative dining area.

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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 suppiy. 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 1/2 million gallons. If it became necessary, the ten working wells on the grounds could produce twice as much water as the hospital could use. Over the years, further construction has added extensions on each wing as well as numerous additional buildings. These added areas have increased the capacity to nearly 420 beds, of which, approximately 350 are currently in use.

J. N. Adam Memorial Hospita l was a tuberculosis treatment center from its inception in 1912 until 1960. For its first 36 years it was ovmed and operated by the City of Buffalo. During that time it had 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 a 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 open. In January 1972, J. N. Adam Memorial Hospital became an independent facility in the New York State Department of Mental Hygiene, and now serves under the title J. N. Adam Developmental Center.

Charles Stewart was a TB patient at JN Adam Memorial Hospital. He later was a employee and also served as the NY State Mental Hygiene Representative. Charlie lived in a third floor residence of the Administration Building along side many other state employees. - Judith R Quinn, PHN