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History of the Lake View Sanatorium

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The Dane County Human Services Building, formerly the Lakeview Sanatorium | Photo by @wemurkve

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For almost 100 years, Madison locals have toyed with the lore 1202 Northport Dr. From medical ward to haunted house, sledding spot to public office, the Lake View Sanatorium has a history more complex than meets the eye.

A brief history of the property:

1903: an act was passed to elect three officials to investigate tuberculosis + the practicality of sanatoriums in Wisconsin. As a result of the study, Statesan — a sanatorium in Waukesha County — was opened in 1907. In the coming decades, more facilities would begin popping up in counties all over the state.

1930: Lake View Sanatorium in Madison was ready for occupancy. The hill-top property with wooded areas + pathways created a space for recovery deemed as “nice and peaceful, a good place to rest and get tuberculosis to become inactive.”

1966: following the advancement of treatment for tuberculosis, the facility shut down and was transferred to Dane County Health and Human Services.

1991: the site became part of the Dane County Parks system + was shortly placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

2004: Lake View Hill was designated as a recreation park in Madison. Three years later, the park was rezoned to conservancy by Friends of Lake View Hill Park, Inc. — a nonprofit built to “save the hill”.

Today, Lake View Hill Park serves Madison as one of the countless green spaces used for year-round outdoor recreation. The hill is contested as one of — if not the — highest points in Madison, making it a premier location for sledding and snow sports.

It’s also known to be a hotbed for paranormal activity. In the woods is a graveyard notorious for otherworldly phenomenacold + hot spots, apparitions, strange lights, odd mists, and physical manifestations of non-human entities. If you or anyone you know have experienced anything spooky on the property, share your tale with us.

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