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Greenwood's Sanitarium At 7308 Old Main Street Rd.

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I never knew this hospital existed.  Very cool!

Dr. Greenwood's Sanitarium, Houston, Texas.

For Nervous and Mental Diseases - Alcohol and Drug Addictions.

All buildings new and built especially for the care and treatment of such cases. Buildings steam heated, all modern conveniences, sanitary plumbing, electric lights, hot and gold water in every room, and screened throughout. All outside rooms. Everything first-class. Personal attention given all cases.  Situated South Main Street, on OakHill, the coolest part of Houston.

JAS. Greenwood, M.D. Supt.  - H.C. Maxwell, M.D., Ass't Physician. 



Greenwood, James, Sr. (1878–1949) James Greenwood, Sr., neuropsychiatrist, was born in Seguin, Texas, on April 18, 1878, the son of Judge James and Corinna (Henderson) Greenwood. He attended private schools and the John H. Bishop Academy for Young Men in Seguin. In 1901 he received his M.D. from the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston. Greenwood was on the staff of the San Antonio State Hospital for Mental Diseases from 1902 to 1906, when he went into private practice in Seguin. In 1908 he returned to UTMB as instructor in pediatrics, clinical medicine, and physical diagnosis. He left Galveston in 1912 to establish the Greenwood Sanitarium for treatment of neuropsychiatric diseases in Houston.

From the Houston Public Library Digital Archives:


Description: Photograph of the front and side yards of the Greenwood Sanitarium that was located at 9218 South Main Street.

Date: 1920-1939

Era: 1920; 1930


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"Sanitarium" is one of those words whose meaning has changed quite a bit over the years.   I think we'd call the above a "detox center" today.

When my mother was growing up, she told me about playing on the grounds on a sanitarium which had splendid views overlooking the sea.  I suggested that perhaps she should use the phrase "convalescent hospital" instead.  I'm not sure what the equivalent is now.  Maybe "rehabilitation center," which is not the same thing as what we used to call "rehab center" a generation ago.  Language is messy, and I'm rambling. 

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  • 6 months later...

I found a photo of James Greenwood, Sr. in the Texas State Journal of Medicine dated October 1949.

This was his obituary of his death.

Dr. James Greenwood, Sr., Houston, Texas, died at his home August 22, 1949, of cerebral arteriosclerosis.

Born in Seguin on April 18, 1878, he was the son of Judge James and Corinna (Henderson) Greenwood. He received his preliminary education in private schools in Seguin and attended the John H. Bishop Academy for Young Men, Seguin. Dr. Greenwood was graduated from the University of Texas School of Medicine, Galveston, in 1901 and began his practice in Seguin. From 1902 to 1906 he was on the staff of the San Antonio State Hospital for Mental Diseases. After again practicing in Seguin from 1906 to 1908, he became associated with the Department of Medicine of the University of Texas, Galveston, where he remained until 1912. At that time he established the Greenwood Sanitarium for the treatment of neuropsychiatric diseases in Houston, and practiced there until his retirement in 1947.

He was professor of neuropsychiatry at Baylor University College of Medicine for several years and was professor emeritus at the time of his death.





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I figured I can transcribe information about the hospital's real estate, development, architects, and staff.  I'll try and keep it in Chronological order.

The Houston Post. dated June 1, 1912:

Greenwood Sanatorium

Handsome Colonial Structure Going Up Near Bellaire.

Construction work has been begun on the new sanatorium near Bellaire for Dr. James Greenwood, Jr., of Galveston.

The plans for the building were drawn by Jones & Tabor Architects. It is located to the west of the Main street road, a half-mile beyond the point where the street car line turns off to Westmoreland.  The building will be a two-story frame structure in a graceful colonial architecture, with a long porch with columns in front. The building will represent a cost, with equipment, in the neighborhood of $20,000 or more. It will contain twenty rooms and will be operated strictly as a sanatorium. The contract calls for completion in three months.


The Houston Post. dated August 7, 1912:

Dealings in Real Estate

Transfers Filed Tuesday Aggregated $46,605.00.

Six Acres of Land Out of P.W. Rose Survey Sold to Dr. Greenwood’s Sanatorium for Consideration of $18,000.

Among the real estate transfers filed for record Tuesday in the office of the county clerk was one from James Greenwood, Jr., to the Dr. Greenwood’s Sanatorium, conveying six acres of land out of the P.W. Rose survey, fronting on the Main Street Road, south of Brays Bayou for a consideration of $18,000.


The Houston Post. dated September 22, 1915:

Dispensary Treated Many Patients.

From June, 1914, until March, 1915, there were 2329 visit made to Rusk school dispensary. Physicians held 192 clinics performed 25 operations and the nurses made 2775 visits to the homes of patients.

Dr. Greenwood’s Sanatorium was established by Dr. James Greenwood in 1912, and is located one mile south of the Rice Institute.

The building is a frame structure with 28 rooms.  An addition of 18 rooms is to be made in the near future.  The building is furnished throughout with pure artesian water, electric lights and steam heat.

The staff of physicians are Drs. James Greenwood and C.W. Stewart. There are 11 nurses attached to the sanatorium.

The Norsworthy Hospital is located at 3020 San Jacinto Street. – Established in the year 1909 by Dr. O.L. Norsworthy, who is its present proprietor.


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One more historical write-up and an enlarged image of the campus rendering.

From the book Houston's Forgotten Heritage: Landscape, Houses, Interiors, 1824-1914. Published in 1991.

Greenwood Sanatorium for Nervous and Mental Diseases

9218 Old Main Street Road (now Fannin) at Old Spanish Trail built 1912; demolished 1951.

One of the first private hospitals for mental illness in Texas, Dr. James Greenwood’s sanatorium was located on six acres backing up to Brays Bayou. The main building, pictured here, had forty-two rooms for patients plus rooms for nurses on the third floor. The separate two-story men’s building had twenty-two rooms. A furnace house with a boiler room, an artesian well, tennis courts, and a croquet field were also on the property, as well as woods where Dr. Greenwood’s sons hunted quail, doves, and prairie chickens.


From the book Texas State Journal of Medicine, Volume 14, Number 7 published in November 1918.


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  • The title was changed to Greenwood's Sanitarium At 9218 Old Main Street Rd.
  • 2 weeks later...

This property is included in the 1950's Sanborn map!!

Very, very cool!!

One important detail that I noticed is different from all my research is the address. If I'm reading the map correctly, the Greenwood's Sanitarium is located at 7308 Old Main Street Road. Where did all the other historians (and internet articles) get the address 9218 Old Main Street Road?  I'm glad HAIF has the real, correct address! That's what we are here for!

Located near the intersection of Old Main Street Road (now Fannin Street) and Old Spanish Trail.





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  • The title was changed to Greenwood's Sanitarium At 7308 Old Main Street Rd.

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