All Photos Courtesy of Melissa K
In 1910 the cottage of Mrs BF Jones was donated to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the story of the Cresson Sanatorium began.
In 1911 Andrew Carnegie – yes that Andrew Carnegie - sold 2 tracts of land surrounding the cottage to the Commonwealth for the bargain price of $1.
In 1913 the Cresson Sanatorium – called “The San” by both employees and staff – opens and the chapel is built.
The San was built for both individuals and entire families suffering from tuberculosis – the White Plague; The White Death – which was incurable and responsible for tens of thousands of deaths at the time. The San was designed more like a college campus than a hospital in order to help the patients acclimatize and not have to live out – in many cases their last – days in an institutional setting.
During the 1950’s the newly discovered antibiotic streptomycin began to be used on tuberculosis patients and for the first time the terrible disease was no longer a death sentence.
In 1956 the facility’s name changed to the Lawrence Flick State Hospital and treatment moved rapidly toward the treatment of the mentally ill.
In 1964 the name was changed yet again to the Cresson State School as the focus became developmentally challenged children.
In January of 1983 then Governor Dick Thornburgh issued an executive order transferring the facility to the Bureau of Corrections. They were given $20.6 million to renovate the facility into a medium security correctional facility. The prison opened in 1987.
Joseph Kallinger – the serial murder and rapist – died at the facility in 1996.
In January of 2013 it was announced the prison would be closed as it was outdated and the maintenance costs were too high. In June of that same year the facility was closed and put up for sale.
The facility is now used by a hydroponics company who grow hemp and other materials in hopes of creating a greener more sustainable future. The site also functions as a tourist attraction allowing access to many buildings and the tunnel system beneath.
Paranormal tours are available from time to time including overnight investigations. They are offered through Ghost Hunts USA.
Reported Activity: apparitions of patients, inmates and staff from all eras of the complex; shadow figures; disembodied voices; unexplained mists; light anomalies; unexplained sounds from loud bangs to knocks and a feeling of being watched all the time everywhere on the campus.