Glenn Dale Hospital
Located in Glenn Dale, MD
Photo © 2005 Tom Kirsch, opacity.us
Glenn Dale Hospital History
Glenn Dale Hospital was built in the 1930s to treat the people of the Washington D.C. area who were afflicted with Tuberculosis. A 210-acre campus was established in the small town of Glenn Dale; located about thirteen miles from D.C., it provided a rural setting outside the city for recovery. A building devoted to treating young children with TB was opened first in 1934, and would be eventually known as Building B, with 257 beds. Building A, with 293 beds, was completed in 1937 and served the adult population, with male patients located in one side of the building and female patients in the other side. Both structures utilized open air terraces that faced the bedrooms, and allowed for the beds to be pushed outside in good weather for fresh air and sunlight treatments - these were thought to be beneficial until the introduction of the vaccine in the 1940s.
As the vaccine took hold in the county after World War II, cases of Tuberculosis quickly dimminished and sanatoria across the county found themselves rather empty by the 1960s, including Glenn Dale Hospital. Focus shifted from a specialty in TB to a broader movement in treating the chronically ill; Building A was used to provide hospital medical care, and Building B was a skilled nursing and immediate care center.
In 1976, about 370 patients were being treated at Glenn Dale, but numerous fire code and safety violations were found when inspecting the buildings for renovation. Non-fire resistant doors and laundry chutes, dead-end corridors, and cramped patient bedrooms were all marked as health and building code violations. The $23 million cost to modernize buildings A and B to meet the life-safety code requirements was most likely the death knell of the institution, and it closed its doors in 1981.
The property was transferred to the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission in 1995. State law requires that the hospital campus is to be used as a continuing care retirement community, and the remaining 150 acres are to be dedicated to parks and recreation, however remediation of the site was never started. Despite being listed on the National Register of Historic Places in November 2011, the building continue to deteriorate under neglect and the campus remains off-limits to the public.