Wildwood Sanitarium – History

Wildwood Sanitarium

71 Prospect Ave

Salamanca, NY, 14779


Surrounded by wooded state parks rests the small town of Salamanca, NY. On the outskirts of this town, an old stone building holds a past dating back to the late 1800’s. This historical building appears as a quaint old home but on the inside, and based on some archeological expertise, this home boasts as one of the oldest and longest standing buildings in the area. The building changed hands early on in its’ lifetime and was forced into service as a Tuberculosis ward during the nation’s crisis. Death and despair seemed commonplace and the building, even just in passing, seems to have an energy and life of its’ own.


The Past 


Written in historical documentation as being constructed in the year 1900, the Wildwood Sanitarium was originally purchased by a pair of Osteopathy doctors to act as a Sanitarium and Bath House. Dr. Perry and Dr. Henderson met in college and wanted to bring a holistic healing center to the state of New York. The operation officially opened its’ doors in 1906 as a Sanitarium and Bath House specializing in Osteopathy Therapy and offered medical help to those open for a cure for issues like drug addiction and alcoholism. This building became the first operation of its kind in New York and offered specialized and individualized attention to their patients. A historical sign remaining on the land attests to this stating “The sanitarium and bath house is now open and for the treatment of all conditions except infectious and contagious diseases. We have endeavored to make the conditions inside the house as pleasant as possible and will try to give each patient individual attention.”



Even though the business and recovery center operated on a high success rate, the scare of Tuberculosis took the reigns of America in the 1920’s and forced the sanitarium to operate solely as a Tuberculosis Clinic in 1923. After it was cleared of its’ public service, the building was re-opened to service it’s original purpose of an Osteopathic Clinic but with the known Tuberculosis scare, the clinic did not last long. 

The building was then purchased by multiple families to act as living quarters. It was later transformed into an apartment complex and operated for only a few years until falling into disrepair. Luckily, the current owner, Laurie, came upon the abandoned Wildwood Sanitarium by simply passing through the town. Upon a visit, she fell in love with the old building and felt obliged to purchase it and began to restore it. During renovations, she was awe struck upon finding former usage of gas lights and square nails which dated into the 1800’s.



Paranormal Experiences


During renovations to the building, construction crews (and Laurie herself) began to experience strange occurrences throughout the building. On multiple locations, and not even communicating with one another, the crews would report to Laurie hearing whispering coming through what they thought were the air ducts. However, these were not connected to anything and the voices seemingly came from the barren walls. On other, even stranger occasions, these crews actually witnessed male and female figures walking the halls dressed in all white lab coats. These witnesses began considering these anomalies as the former doctors and nurses of the old Tuberculosis ward.



After the reconstruction period, guests began touring the building. These guests were so impressed that Laurie hired actors to dress and even speak as though they were from the historical era of the 1920’s that they felt so compelled to share their experiences online and even face to face with Laurie. To her dismay, she did not hire any actors nor have them portray anyone from the past. This has happened on numerous occasions, leading some to believe that these former doctors and nurses simply like to make themselves known.

Other times, shadows seem to dance throughout the hallways with no moving light or scientific explanation. Some guests have reported being touched, scratched, and even pushed as if they are not welcome there. There have been lights seen from the street and neighboring properties when the building is locked up and no one is there. The police have even been called on these phantom lights on multiple occasions, only to investigate an empty house.



It’s hard to say who would be left in the building or why, but it’s probable that the former patients’ confusion and death tolls have left an imprint on the building leaving their energy behind to play on an endless loop for all eternity. Others believe that the remaining energy has been left by those caring doctors still watching over their patients from beyond the grave.


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