“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Northville in Wayne County, Michigan — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)

Maybury Sanatorium

Maybury Sanatorium Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By J.T. Lambrou, May 13, 2021
1. Maybury Sanatorium Marker
Maybury Sanatorium (1921-1969)

At the beginning of the 20th century, tuberculosis was referred to as the "White Plague” because it infected such a large percentage of the population. To help combat the spread of this disease, the City of Detroit purchased eight farms (about 850 acres) in Northville Township to construct a sanatorium. Emphasis on restoring health in fresh air and sunshine made this rural environment an ideal place for the long TB healing process. When the sanatorium was founded, antibiotics did not exist to treat the disease. Adult patients and children as young as six months of age stayed here for months, or sometimes years, to effect a cure. The treatment regimen at that time consisted of rest, good nutrition, controlled exercise, constant monitoring, and limited surgical treatment methods.

With the opening of the sanatorium, Detroit ranked as one of the leading cities of the world in facilities for the treatment of tuberculosis. When construction was finished, the institution was like a self-contained community with over 40 buildings. The sanatorium had its own electric power plant, central heating
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unit, water supply, laundry, pasteurization plant, fire protection, library, and homes and dormitories for staff, in addition to the buildings for the patients. The Maybury Farm supplied fresh milk and food for the facility. There was a school for both children and adults.

The large ambulant building for adults nestled into the forest and stretched for nearly 1/3 mile along the crest of a hill. Each patient's room had a southern exposure to maximize the use of sunlight in treatment of the disease. A separate children's unit cared for young TB patients, and a summer camp for children featured buildings with nursery rhyme decorations. At its peak of operation, the sanatorium cared for nearly 850 patients. There were over 475 employees, and nearly half of them lived on the grounds.

When the sanatorium opened in 1921, TB killed nearly 100 people per 100,000 in Detroit. By using rest, surgery, and isolation from the general population, this number dropped to 45.5 by 1940. In the late 1940's effective antibiotic treatment for TB was discovered and greatly improved one's chances for recovery.

Patient numbers gradually declined, and in the late 1960's, the decision was made to close Maybury Sanatorium. The last patients were transferred in August of 1969.

William H. Maybury

William H. Maybury was a well-to-do and influential bachelor
Maybury Sanatorium Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By J.T. Lambrou, May 13, 2021
2. Maybury Sanatorium Marker
Marker with the last of the doctor's houses in background. It currently serves as a Michigan Department of Natural Resources office.
who retired from his profitable real estate business at the age of 37. He then turned his energy and talents to supporting the development of much-needed treatment facilities in the Wayne County area. Known as a strong advocate for social reform, Mr. Maybury successfully asserted the need for a tuberculosis sanatorium with the Detroit City Council. When the project was approved, Mayor James Couzens appointed William H. Maybury, then a member of the City Board of Health, to head the project because he was known to be a man of honesty and integrity.

Construction began in 1919, and Mr. Maybury supervised each detail of the project, acting as architect, engineer, contractor, and foreman. He laid out the roads and planned each building site to complement the surrounding landscape. He spared mature forests to save the cost of landscaping. When estimates for glass work were high, Mr. Maybury experimented with cleaning used glass x-ray plates. Thousands of these plates were obtained from area hospitals and installed for the windows in the buildings. Plumbing fixtures, doors, casings, and hardware came from the demolition of the Pontchartrain Hotel in Detroit, saving $40,000. Because of Mr. Maybury's resourcefulness, the children's unit was constructed ahead of schedule. One of the existing farmsteads was converted for use by the sanatorium to supply fresh milk, fruit, and vegetables
Maybury Sanatorium Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By J.T. Lambrou, May 13, 2021
3. Maybury Sanatorium Marker
Top portion with Sanatorium and Mr. Maybury text
for the patients.

In 1922, the institution was formally dedicated as Spring Hills Sanatorium, but in 1927 was renamed for Maybury in recognition of his great effort. During the early years of the sanatorium operation, Mr. Maybury spent much of his time on the grounds, visiting the patients and showing visitors and dignitaries the modern features of the facilities. Howard and Helen Whipple, who ran the farm, kept a room for him in the farmhouse so that he would not have to make the trip back to his home in Detroit.

After having been ill for some time, Mr. Maybury was informed in late 1930 that he was a tuberculosis patient. His was a terminal case, and he asked the Whipples if he could spend his last days on the farm. They took him in and on November 4, 1931 William H. Maybury died in the Maybury farmhouse at the age of 72.

"Year in and year out, Mr. Maybury has never failed to respond to every call of service with the best that is in him."
-Mr. John Lodge, president of the Detroit Common Council, at the re-dedication of the Maybury Sanatorium in 1927

The Houses

In 1933, five houses were constucted on Beck Road with CWA funds. These homes were designed for senior staff physicians and their families and provided living arrangemtns apart from the main buildings but still on sanatorium grounds.

Many children
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who were raided in these homes have ofnd memories of growing up in a place wheree they could roam fields and woods and explore stremas. They attended the local schools in Northville.

A large farmhouse on the sanatorium property served as the home for the facility's medical director and superintendent. It was once located on Eight Mile just west of Beck Road, but was purchased from the park in the early 1980s and moved to a site about a mile south where it is a private residence.

"this is a house that became a home, where a young man learned the importance of love and dedication in both family and profession."
=Keith D. Mueller, son of Dr. Edwin Mueller and Cecil Mueller.
They lived in one of the doctos' homes at Maybury from 1948-1961.

Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Science & Medicine. A significant historical year for this entry is 1921.
Location. 42° 25.956′ N, 83° 30.778′ W. Marker is in Northville, Michigan, in Wayne County. Marker is on Beck Road, 0.3 miles south of Eight Mile Road, on the right when traveling south. Marker is at the Maybury Horseman's Entrance to the state park. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 20303 Beck Rd, Northville MI 48167, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Near this location… The Children's Camp (approx. 0.4 miles away); Near this location… The Children's Unit (approx. half a mile away); Near this location… The Sanatorium Entrance (approx. 0.6 miles away); Near this location... The Men's Annex (approx. one mile away); Near this location… The Nurse's Home (approx. one mile away); Near this location… The Inn and Women's Dormitory (approx. 1.1 miles away); Near this location… The Powerhouse (approx. 1.1 miles away); Near this location… The Administration Building (approx. 1.1 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Northville.
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker. Buildings of Maybury Sanatorium
Also see . . .  Maybury Sanitorium. (Submitted on July 22, 2021, by J.T. Lambrou of New Boston, Michigan.)
Credits. This page was last revised on July 23, 2021. It was originally submitted on July 22, 2021, by J.T. Lambrou of New Boston, Michigan. This page has been viewed 1,292 times since then and 513 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on July 22, 2021, by J.T. Lambrou of New Boston, Michigan. • Mark Hilton was the editor who published this page.

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Jun. 10, 2023