Galen is a small community in Deer Lodge County, Montana. It is located near the Montana State Prison. It was named for a Dr. Galen, who was a specialist in the treatment of tuberculosis.  Currently, the hospital is used for the Reintegrating Youthful Offenders Correctional Facility.

 Montana's Tuberculosis Sanitarium

For many years Galen was the home of the Montana State Tuberculosis Sanitarium. It was built by convicts on 40 acres near to the Montana State Hospital.  Construction began in 1912, and its first patient was admitted in 1913. By 1915 it had over a hundred patients. Treatment for tuberculosis emphasized clean, fresh air and high altitudes.  Therefore the sanitarium was incorporated for the purpose of open-air treatment for Montana's tubercular patients. Patients were exposed to pure, cold air for up to 24 hours a day.  No matter how cold the temperature was, patients were made to sleep outdoors, however, they were allowed to go into the reception room during storms.

The sanitarium started admitting children in 1924.  Direct sunlight was an important part of their therapy, so they started out with five minutes of direct sunlight and worked up to an hour. The number of patients at Galen rose during the 1920s and 1930s, but chemical cures and other factors led to the sanitarium's decline. The sanitarium finally closed July 1, 1993.

Read more about Montana’s sanitarium for tubercular patients at



Suzanne Andrews
MTGenWeb County Coordinator
for Anaconda-Deer Lodge County, MT

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