Overview – This is not currently an active issue for our Sierra Club Group but may be of interest as past involvement.
This architecturally and historically important Sanitarium at Perrysburg NY stands deserted on its dramatic hillside overlooking Lake Erie. It is surrounded by a magnificent 400 acres of forest. Sierra, ADK, Friends of JN Adams and individuals like David Franczyk, Buffalo Common Council President have fought off efforts to timber the forest and bulldoze the buildings. But their efforts to find a sustainable way to preserve and reuse the site have so far not succeeded. The lead organization in this effort, FJNA has fallen into “disarray.” Perrysburg deserves a crew of devoted crusaders to take up its cause once more, and preserve its forest and find a reuse for the site.
Volunteers: Below is a letter to the Buffalo News describing the issue. The Sierra Club has joined with Friends of JN Adams Memorial Hospital and Forest (FJNA) in legal and promotional efforts to save this amazing place from the bulldozer and the logger.
Read about it below, in Larry Beahan’s Letter to the Editor, as well as his article on the History of the Perrysburg Hospital. The piece was published in the Western New York Heritage Magazine to raise public awareness.
Go to Perrysburg and explore the grounds. Visit the Hospital Museum maintained in the old school building in the village of Perrysburg. Join FJNA.
A Letter to the Editor in the Buffalo News, by Larry Behan
“We the Citizens of Western New York need to find a suitable re-use for the Buffalo-owned buildings and forested acres of the old Sanatorium at Perrysburg, J.N. Adam Memorial Hospital. The buildings there were a unique and revolutionary design done by the world-famous architect, John Hopper Coxhead. They incorporate principles that made possible the implementation of the “Swiss” system of sunshine, fresh air, rest and good food in curing early cases of tuberculosis.
The Hospital’s success in treating this dread disease in the early part of the last century brought fame and prosperity to this region of Cattaraugus County. When effective antibiotics for tuberculosis made long hospitalizations unnecessary, the Sanatorium was recycled for educating the mentally handicapped. Better methods of helping the mentally handicapped again forced the venerable establishment into retirement.
The property, with its gracious landscapes, amazing view and marvelous forest was recently given a value of over $4 million and then a year or two later almost sold for under $400 thousand. FJNA saw the danger that the historic buildings, some still in good repair, might be leveled and the forest itself, valued at $1.5million as timber but invaluable in terms of recreation, education and watershed protection, might be harvested. Destruction of its forest-protected watershed would compromise the Town of Perrysburg’s water supply. If the property were sold primarily for logging rather than re-use a treasure of historic and natural resources would be lost to Buffalo and Western New York but Perrysburg itself would lose the potential of an economic engine that the Hospital had provided for so long.
The City of Buffalo has taken action to stop what appeared to be a desperation sale of its Perrysburg property by the NYS Dormitory Authority. In developing a new marketing campaign, a biodiversity survey of the 650 acres and a professional real estate survey of the buildings are necessary. The Friends of J.N. Adam Historic Landmark & Forest (FJNA) is a group of concerned citizens who are reaching out to universities, outdoor education groups and to individuals to find a tenant-enterprise that would both preserve and employ these great assets, the J.N. Adam Hospital Campus and the Perrysburg forest.”