In 1900, the most common cause of death in San Francisco was the infectious bacterial disease, Tuberculosis. 200,000 Americans died from the disease in 1908 alone.
Due to how contagious the disease was many hospitals would refuse to treat victims, instead turning them away. That’s where “preventoriums,” or sanitariums specifically created for TB patients became a thing. In a time where bed rest and open air were considered the preferred treatment for those with the disease, Alameda County got its own sanitarium five miles south of Livermore in an open wooded area. Arryo Del Valle Sanitarium opened in 1918.
For 42 years, the sanitarium operated offering treatment to both children and adults as well as industrial training classes to patient’s once their health improved. The last patient checked out in 1960.
In the early 1970s, the horror film Warlock Moon was shot at the abandoned sanitarium.
Even though the original buildings were demolished back in the late 90s, stories of the area being haunted still linger. Ghosts of past tuberculosis patients are said to haunt the area and one urban legend states that a groundskeeper killed all the patients in the children’s ward before committing suicide.
Camp Arroyo stands in the 138-acre sanitarium property now and seems like a lovely place. Feel free to tell anyone’s who’s headed there about the location’s spooky past if you’re trying to creep them out.
Want to read about another Bay Area tuberculosis sanitarium?
San Carlos had one called Hassler Health Farm from 1922 – 1965.