Attleboro Springs Sanatorium
On the fateful night of November 4-5, 1999, it witnessed the raging blaze that made of their cherished home a burnt offering of thanksgiving for the haven and hospitality it had, for over a century, unstintingly given them, and rekindled in the hearts of Our Lady's Missionaries unflinching dedication to the service of God's people.
Tragically, the conflagration consumed the life of Carmelite Father Paul O'Brien of the United Kingdom on sabbatical here. May the Lord grant his spirit unending peace and refreshment.
Our Lady of LaSalette Reconciler of Sinners, Pray without ceasing for us who have recourse to you.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Churches & Religion • Disasters.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Solomon Family Burial Ground (approx. 0.6 miles away); Angell Park (approx. one mile away); Alfred Johnson and John B. Morin (approx. 1.3 miles away); Veterans Memorial Common (approx. 1.4 miles away); Memory of the Revolutionary Soldiers (approx. 1˝ miles away); The Mullaney Twins Memorial Parking Area (approx. 1˝ miles away); Charles O. Fiske Square (approx. 1˝ miles away); L.G. Balfour Company WWII Marker (approx. 1˝ miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Attleboro.
Regarding LaSalette Seminary. James Solomon was gathering herbs and roots in the woods on this property for herbal remedies that he concocted and peddled. Although he was known as Dr. Solomon, he was not a medical doctor, but his dream was to build a great sanatorium on this spot where people would come to be healed of cancer. In 1894 an engineer surveyed the grounds and by March of 1901 the walls stood in place to receive the giant roof, and a local businessman pledged the necessary financial backing to complete the project. The sanatorium cost
On April 25, 1903 Solomon's "Sanatorium was dedicated and the statistics in the day" program included this information: Bricks - 475,709; windows -309; panes of glass - 3,254; fireplaces - 21; rooms - 200; electric wire - 27 miles. The order of the day included a band concert on the Attleboro Common followed by a parade from the center of town. A contemporary account describes the event: With the coming of the dark, Dr. Solomon's dream sprang to life in a great blaze of electrical splendor; 1,800 electric lights outlined the exterior of the building, while an immense searchlight mounted on the roof threw its slender, graceful finger of light over four miles.
Unfortunately, in the years to follow lack of funds resulting in changes of ownership was to form a pattern. In 1919, when the Methodist Church purchased it, the name was changed to Attleboro Springs, due to the natural spring on the grounds and it was under that name that it shut down in 1938.
In 1942 the La Salette Missionaries bought the property as a major seminary and in 1952 the construction of the Shrine was announced. The Feast of the Immaculate Conception, December 8, 1953, marked the official opening of the Shrine of Our Lady of La Salette in Attleboro, coinciding with the beginning of the Marian Year promulgated by Pope Pius XII. Highlights of that day included a fireworks
Since then the outdoor nativity display has grown to the present scope of the annual Christmas Festival of Lights, which features 300,000 dazzling lights and welcomes over 500,000 pilgrims.
A tragic fire on November 5, 1999 destroyed "The Solomon's Sanatorium." The following year, the new Shrine Church of Our Lady of La Salette was dedicated on September 19, 2000.
Constant strands in the history of this Attleboro property do seem to be: dream and struggle, hope and healing, dark night of the search and bright lights pointing the way.
November 15, 2003 the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops notified the shrine that it had been granted the new designation of National Shrine of Our Lady of La Salette.
(Historical material on La Salette of Attleboro compiled by Rev. Donald Paradis, M.S.)
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. It was originally submitted on June 1, 2012, by Bryan Simmons of Attleboro, Massachusetts. This page has been viewed 921 times since then and 11 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on June 1, 2012, by Bryan Simmons of Attleboro, Massachusetts. 4. submitted on January 28, 2015. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.