Michael Bushnell

This week we feature a postcard advertising the Ralph Sanitarium, once located at 529 Highland that treated drug and liquor addictions along with nervous and mental diseases.

An article from the Kansas City Medical Record, Volume 26, Issue 3, published during March of 1909, describes the available treatments at the facility:

The method of treatment is new and very successful. The withdrawal of the drug is not attended by any suffering and the cure is complete in a few weeks time, the Kansas City Medical Record stated. The treatment is varied according to the requirements of each individual case and the restoration to normal condition is hastened by the use of electricity, massage electric light baths, hot and cold tub and shower baths, vibratory massage, and a liberal, well cooked digestible diet.

A modern, carefully conducted home sanitarium with spacious surroundings and attractive drives and walks. Electro and Hydrotherapeutic advantages are unexcelled. Trained nurses, hot water heat, electric lights. Special rates to physicians for reprints from medical journals and full details of treatment. Dr. Benjamin Burroughs Ralph, 529 Highland, Kansas City MO.

According to an article in the Journal of the American Medical Association, on Oct. 1, 1903, a fire at the facility killed one patient and badly injured five others. Damage was estimated at $4,000 according to published reports of the day.

The postcard was sent to Miss Dara Reddig of Hitchcock, Okla. The message reads: Dear Aunt, How are you? I am feeling you’ll like school real well. My teacher’s name is Miss Lille Johnson. We had a decorated church Thanksgiving night with red and green. Write soon, Miss Eva Goede.

The facility shown on the card was demolished in 1983 and the carriage house was demolished in 1994 to make way for surface parking and another classroom building at the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences.