The Shifting Sand[stone] of Time

Throughout the history of the Union Printers Home, the ever-changing landscape of both the buildings and grounds gives us in the modern day some special insight into the goals of the Union officials who established and maintained the property.

We see not only an effort to keep the Home up to date with the medical best practices of the day, but also the evolving popularity of different architectural styles. This means that in addition to the four extant buildings on the Home property, there were numerous other buildings that used to be there that can give us a peek into the moments in time that they stood. We estimate that over time, there were approximately 20-30 other buildings that are no longer standing. Here is a brief profile of three of our favorites!

The Hospital Annex
(1898 – 1936)

The Hospital Annex was the second building on the Union Printers Home grounds after the “Castle” (main building). Creating this building allowed for separation of the Home residents who were there for treatment of illnesses (especially those that were infectious) from those residents who needed less direct medical care. The Annex, designed by local architects Douglas & Hetherington, was a beautiful two-story stone building that was built directly south of the main Castle. Within five years, an additional story was added to the Annex to accommodate more patients.

In the mid-1910s, a plan was made to expand the Castle building to the south, almost doubling the length of its façade. The intention was to build the addition in two parts; once the first section had been completed, work would begin immediately on the second. The first part expanded right up to the Hospital Annex, so the initial thought was to tear down the Annex once they completed the first section in order to make room for the second.

However, the first section was completed in the Summer of 1917 – just after the U.S. had joined WWI. Because of this, construction was halted for the second section, and for the next five years, the Castle building and the Annex remained connected. By 1922-23, the Union had raised enough money to continue working on the expansion, but attitudes about the Annex had changed. Instead of razing it, the Board of Trustees voted to move it about 140 feet to the southeast; in the Summer of 1923, the Annex was picked up and rolled on logs to its new location. The second section of the expansion to the Castle building was then completed, but the foundations of the original location of the Annex can still be seen in the crawlspaces beneath the Castle!

The Hospital Annex remained in this place for another 13 years, until the decision to build a new sanatorium and hospital (the current South Building) was made, and the Hospital Annex became obsolete. It was razed in 1936.

The Pavilion
(1912 – 1936)

In keeping with the current best practices for the treatment of tuberculosis, as well as the increasing need for space for tuberculosis patients, an “open-air pavilion” was built in the Fall of 1912. The Pavilion consisted of a central building, where a sitting room, dressing rooms, and bathrooms were located, and two long wings that jutted out of each side; the wings contained screened sleeping porches, as was becoming the most popular trend for TB patients who were well on their way to recovery at the time.

Patients who lived in this building would change into their heavy dressing gowns in the central building at night before going to their beds on the sleeping porches, where they could get plenty of fresh air throughout the night. Within six months, the Board of Trustees made the decision to add a second story to the central building, creating an infirmary for any pavilion residents who suddenly became much more ill; there was also a room for a nurse who could be “on call,” as it were, for such cases.

By 1928, the second section of the main Castle building extension had been completed, and it was determined that the Pavilion was no longer needed for tuberculosis patients. The Board of Trustees voted to have the open-air wings removed, and the central building converted into a residence for nurses who were employed at the Home. It was used for this purpose until 1936, when it was razed.

The Superintendent’s Cottage
(1900 – ??)

The third building to be built on the Printers Home grounds (after the Castle and the Annex) was a cottage for the superintendent and his family, built in 1900. Prior to that, there was an apartment within the Castle that was set aside for the superintendent and family; building the cottage would allow more privacy for the family as well as free up that space in the main building to be converted for resident use. Like the pavilion and the hospital annex (as well as numerous other buildings throughout the property and all the additions to the Castle building after its initial construction), the cottage was designed by Douglas & Hetherington.

The stone cottage, consisting of five rooms, was built to complement the construction of the other two buildings already on the property. By 1910, a ten-foot addition was added to create more space, and in 1926, the front porch was screened in. The cottage remained extant on the property for much longer than the other two buildings featured here – but we don’t know exactly when it was torn down! It was likely in the 1980s or 1990s, after the roles of superintendent and matron had been phased out and replaced with hospital administrators.

If you have knowledge of when the cottage was removed, or memories or photographs of the cottage itself, we would love to hear from you! Please send us an email at with your stories.

There are numerous buildings that used to stand at Union Printers Home that can give us a peek into the moments in time that they stood. We estimate that over time, there were approximately 20-30 other buildings that are no longer standing. Here is a brief profile of three of our favorites!


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