The Barlow Sanitorium   Los Angeles California

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In 1902 Dr. Barlow founded The Barlow Sanatorium "to care for the indigent tuberculous of Los Angeles county; those who have been residents of the county for one year and who are in no condition for active work." He and his wife had spent many days driving around the Los Angeles area in their horse-drawn carriage until they discovered what looked like the ideal location. It was 25 acres of untouched meadowland set among the rolling hills next to the city-owned Elysian Park on Chavez Ravine Road.

The site turned out to be more ideal for the purpose than was initially apparent. The configuration of the hills in the area is such that clean air always sweeps across Barlow's land, even when Los Angeles itself is plagued with smog - a fortunate climatic quirk that met the fresh air needs of the patients.

Dr. Barlow purchased the 25 acres from J. B. Lankershim for $7,300. He convinced Lankershim to donate back $1,000 of the purchase price, received $1,300 from Alfred Solano, who with his wife (Marion Barlow's remarried mother) would become legendary supporters of the institution, and chipped in the balance of $5,000 himself.

A Board of Directors was established, consisting of J.F. Francis as president, Mrs. John D. Hooker as vice-president, and Norman Bridge, M.D. and R.W. Poindexter as members. Dr. Barlow, who was never to permit himself to be elected president, chose instead to be secretary-treasurer, a post he held for the rest of his life.

In addition to his practice and his sanitorium, Dr. Barlow was professor of clinical medicine at the Los Angeles Medical Department of the University of California and was dean of the school from 1908 to 1914. In 1906 he established the Barlow Medical Library at Los Angeles to aid people of limited means to obtain a medical education and in 1934 donated the property and volumes to the Los Angeles County Medical Society.

Dr. Barlow was one of the organizers of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra and was a member of its board of directors for many years. He was an Episcopalian in religion, a Republican in politics, and a Mason. Columbia University awarded him an honorary A.M. degree in 1919 and an honorary Sc.D. degree in 1929.

Dr. Walter Jarvis Barlow
Contributed by John F. Barlow                                                                                                                                                    ©Barlow Genealogy 1998-2005
Walter Jarvis Barlow was born on January 22, 1868, at Sing Sing -now Ossining- Westchester County, New York.

He was a son of William Henry and Catharine Stratton "Lent" Barlow and a tenth generation descendent of John Barlow of Fairfield, Connecticut (Walter Jarvis10, William Henry9, John8, John7, John6, Jabez5, Samuel4, John3, John2, John1)

He attended Mt. Pleasant Military Academy and Columbia University where he received his A.B. degree in 1889 and his M.D. degree in 1892. He interned for two years at Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York City and subsequently practiced at New York for another two years during which time he was also house physician at the Sloane Hospital for Women.

In 1895 Walter Jarvis Barlow contracted tuberculosis. Realizing that his best hope for a cure lay in a drier and sunnier climate, he headed west. He stopped first at Denver, Colorado, but after a few months continued on to San Diego California. Two years later, in 1897, he arrived at Los Angeles and began a private practice in internal medicine.  Fortunately his infection was mild, was caught early, and was cured.

It was only in 1882 that a German physician, Robert Koch, had discovered the tubercle bacillus and in the latter years of the nineteenth century, pulmonary tuberculosis, or consumption, was still very much a dreaded disease. Only those cases that were caught early had any chance of a cure and the standard treatment consisted of rest, fresh air, sunshine and a large amount of good food. Advanced cases almost never recovered.

For the vast majority of those infected by tuberculosis, seeking a cure by going to California completely disrupted their lives and imposed a terrible financial burden. They left their homes, livelihoods, families and friends to live where they would have little or no support during the long months of recuperation.

Sources:  Barlow of Barlow, Editor, Edson L. Barlow            Barlow Foundation

Barlow Sanitorium
Top:  Administration Building, donalted by Mrs. W. Jarvis Barlow, was one of the first four structures that constituted the newly opened Barlow Sanitorium
Below:  A thirteen room permanent cottage, designed to become Barlow's future infirmary for the more advanced cases, was contributed by Mr. and Mrs. Alfred Solano.  Later, a sixty-foot passage-way would connect it with the administration building
Barlow Sanitorium
Walter Jarvis Barlow Family
Fairfield Connecticut Barlow Family