(State Sanitorium)(Grafton State School)

San Haven Road, Dunseith

Status: Former Tuberculosis Sanatorium, Former Developmentally Disabled Facility; Abandoned; Partially Collapsed; Private Property


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The State Sanitorium was built in 1912 for the housing and rehabilitation of people suffering from tuberculosis. At the time tuberculosis was incurable and had a very high mortality rate – somewhere between 50% and 60% on average.

 The name was changed to San Haven in 1923 when the local postmaster changed the name. The story says it was based on sanitas which is Latin for cleanliness or health.

The hospital was initially a satellite of the North Dakota Institution for the Feeble Minded in Grafton – which would become Grafton State School. In the 1930’s and 40’s the sanatorium began to be more autonomous but that trend would reverse in the 1950’s.

As tuberculosis patients were being treated more and more in their own homes space was opening up in the remote sanatorium. Grafton began to send more and more of their developmentally challenged patients to the sanatorium.

By the 1960’s there were more disabled patients than ones suffering from tuberculosis. In 1973 Grafton took complete control of the sanatorium.

By the 1980’s tuberculosis had been cured - with antibiotics - and treatment of the developmentally disabled was being moved away from large hospitals back to family care and group homes. In 1987 the remaining patients were moved to the Grafton State School and the hospital was closed. In 1989 the doors were locked for good.

In 1992 the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Tribe bought the land from the State. It is now being leased out to a farmer for grazing his animals.

In 2012 a young man ghost hunting on the property fell down an elevator shaft resulting in his death. A harsh reminder to those in this field to always be aware of your surroundings.


Paranormal Activity

There is very few catalogued reports or evidence of paranormal activity at this location. Although many articles proclaim this is the most haunted place in North Dakota and even in America.

As mentioned above tuberculosis was a very dangerous disease that led to thousands of deaths worldwide before a cure was discovered. So, without a doubt, a large number of people did pass away on site.

The site itself has been called spooky by a number of explorers with the abandoned buildings slowly being worn down by the elements.

Reported activity includes: Apparitions of former patients in the building and on the grounds; translucent figures watching from the many empty windows; disembodied voices and other unexplained noises; cold and warm spots; feelings of not being alone and being watched; light anomalies and mysterious mists.