San Haven is a former tuberculosis sanatorium in the Turtle Mountains, right on the border between North Dakota and Manitoba. Built in the early twentieth century, the lush grounds and gorgeous buildings attracted patients and medical staff from all over the country into the region for decades — until the TB epidemic died down in the 1940s, thanks to antibiotics. At that point, the place became a sanatorium for the developmentally disabled, and there were rumors of abuses and other problems until the place was shut down in the 1980s. It sounds exactly like the backstory on the sanatorium featured in American Horror Story this season — and it even has some of the same features, such as underground tunnels and a seriously scary-looking garbage chute.
The crumbling, haunted majesty of San Haven is the subject of a series of amazing photographs by Troy Larson, on the site Ghosts of North Dakota. He writes:
In exploring San Haven, we immediately felt a heavy foreboding due to the atmosphere of a place which harbored so much suffering, amplified by the extended period of abandonment and natural reclamation of the site. Trees and weeds have gone wild. The formerly beautiful and placid water features have long run dry. Walking paths which were once wide and smooth are now rutted and subject to the infiltration of nature. The stillness of a very large complex consisting of dozens of still-standing structures is occasionally interrupted by wind in the trees, heavy steel doors banging in the breeze, and the squawking of pigeons, alarmed by the unpredictable disturbance.
But there's another story to this sanatorium, and it's very political. On Larson's site, locals argue bitterly in the comments about why the place was shut down and who was responsible. The hospital brought a lot of money into the region, so when it shut down, it created a lot of anger and resentment — especially because it was shut down on a mandate from the government. So it's haunted by politics as much as it is by the people who died here.
We've got a small selection of Larson's pictures here — I'd urge you to go see all of them, and read the fascinating comments too.
Thanks for the tip, tweetintoucan