Puposky has cold winters, and in the early years of the San, no one knew that better than the patients. At that time, the theory was that cold, fresh air helped with breathing. Therefore, it was thought that Northern Minnesota was a good place for patients who had tuberculosis, which mainly affects the lungs.
The Sanatorium was built to allow air to flow clear through the place, from front to back and side to to side. At first, there was not even glass in the windows, just a canvas shade to pull down. As you will read in Open Window, patients woke to snow and ice on their thick covering of blankets, frozen water in their glasses, and frozen urine in their pots.
Nurses like Teresa Lomen, my aunt’s sister, carried heavy stoneware vessels called pigs (see photo in Open Window) that were filled with hot water to warm the patients. She spoke of how heavy those trays of “pigs” were.
Later, when 17-year-old patient Art Holmstrom was at the San, windows that closed had been added. Before that, many patients, even though they had not recovered, left the San before spending another bitterly cold winter there.
Photo is of Art Holmstrom. Interviews with Art provided an inside look at being a patient at the San. Read about it in Open Window.