The Spirit of Gaylord
Gaylord Sanatorium, with a plant value of $86,000 and $99.20 in hand, opened its doors to its first six patients on September 20, 1904. The hospital's 500 acres were originally purchased in 1793 by Dr. Moses Gaylord. The land stayed in the family until 1903 when the New Haven County Anti-Tuberculosis Association bought it at a nominal price. This Association, founded in 1902 to combat the rapidly increasing problem of tuberculosis (TB) in Connecticut, was to become the Gaylord Farm Association as it is known today. One of the first Public Health Associations to be organized in the United States, its objective was:
To establish and maintain a sanatorium and hospital in New Haven County, on a non-profit basis, for the care and treatment of cases of pulmonary tuberculosis susceptible to amelioration...and to do generally anything and everything necessary, expedient or incidental to the operation of a sanatorium in all its phases.
Dr. David Russell Lyman (1876-1956) was the first director of Gaylord Farm Sanatorium. After completing his medical training and internship in Baltimore, he went to the Trudeau Sanatorium in Saranac Lake in 1901 to study TB. There, he soon discovered he had TB. Upon his recovery, he decided to crusade against what was then called "the great white plague," the leading cause of death in the early 1900s.
Florence Randolph Burgess was the first director of nursing and assistant superintendent during Gaylord's earliest years. In 1904, while visiting relatives in New Haven, she learned of the new tuberculosis sanatorium. She talked with the board of directors of the New Haven County Anti-Tuberculosis Association and soon presented herself to a surprised Dr. Lyman, announcing that she would be head nurse. Her sudden arrival gave him little choice, but she proved to be as capable and versatile as she was determined.
Download highlights of our history: Gaylord Milestones 1902 to Today. Contact Public Relations to learn more or to request the booklet The Spirit of Gaylord: A History: