A would-be nurse began the Sanatorium School in Lansdowne before moving it to Glen Mills to care for children with physical disabilities, as is documented at the Delaware County Historical Society.
Claudia Minor Redd was discouraged by her parents from becoming a nurse, but went to study with Dr. S. Weir Mitchell, a neurologist working with spastic and paralyzed children in Philadelphia.
In 1915, Redd opened her first school at 46 Runnymede Ave. in Lansdowne and then moved to a four-bathroom, 16-room home on acres of land off Route 1 in Concord on the property of the former Crier in the Country. Here, she cared for not more than 22 at a time. Among them were included the deaf, the blind, the paralyzed and uncoordinated – mostly from wealthy families.
Upon her death, Dr. Henry Barker Jr., a West Chester surgeon, said, “Miss Redd worked on one principle – she felt that if there was still breath in a child, and therefore a soul and a brain, that patience and willpower would help that child.”
He also said he had seen her accomplish “nothing short of miracles.”
One example was a 3-year-old boy who couldn’t walk or talk or feed himself because of a brain injury. After working with him for years, by the time he was 7-years-old, he was able to walk, say, ‘How do you do?’ and kiss a hand good-bye.
Before the building was demolished, there had circulated stories of different hauntings from the chandelier swinging to singing in the dining room to place settings being piled in center of tables.
Pictures of the Sanatorium and information about the facility are housed at the Delaware County Historical Society Museum, Library & Research Center. The museum is open to the public from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday and Friday; 1 to 6:30 p.m. Thursday; and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. The museum’s telephone number is 610-872-0502. Parking is free on the society lot behind the building or across the street in the municipal lot.
Membership in the Delaware County Historical Society ranges from $10 for students, $27 for individuals to $250 at the patron level. It includes free admission to the society’s Chester museum and library at 408 Avenue of the States, the society newsletter and preferred reservations and discounts for lectures and events. To join, please visit www.padelcohistory.org or call 610-359-0832.
The Sanatorium School stood on the property of what became the Crier in the Country on Route 1 in Glen Mills.
Students were taught various skills at the Sanatorium School, such as baking.