At the turn of the twentieth century, it was a belief that fresh air, rest and a nutritional diet was the best way to treat tuberculosis patients.
Dr. J. W. Pettit implemented this therapy by establishing the Ottawa Tent Colony in 1904. Antibiotics had not been developed at that time, so the fresh air treatment was the only option.
TB patients were kept in canvas tents or open wooden huts outdoors, in freezing winters and blazing hot summers.
It might seem odd today, but it worked for those in the early stages of the disease. Here is the amazing story.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR(S)
Jim Ridings was born in Joliet, Illinois. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in journalism from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, with a minor in history. He was a reporter for The Daily Times in Ottawa and The Beacon-News in Aurora. He won more than a dozen awards for investigative reporting at both newspapers, from the Associated Press, United Press International, Copley Press, Illinois Press Association, Northern Illinois Newspaper Association, SDX Society of Professional Journalists and other organizations. Mr. Ridings was presented a Studs Terkel Humanities Service bronze medal from the Illinois Humanities Council in 2006. He was instrumental in getting a state historical marker erected at the site of the former coal mining town of Cardiff, Illinois. Mr. Ridings is the author of twenty-eight books of Illinois history, including Small Justice; Len Small, Governors and Gangsters; Cardiff: Ghost Town on the Prairie; Wild Kankakee; County West: A Sesquicentennial History of Western Kankakee County; The Illustrated History of the Cherry Mine Disaster of 1909; and The Society of the Living Dead: The Illustrated History of the Radium Dial Scandal of Ottawa. Several of his books have won awards from the Illinois State Historical Society.