The South Mountain Restoration Center currently is a Pennsylvania state-owned long-term care center, but it traces its beginnings to a small camp for consumptives in the early 1900s. From this camp, high atop a mountain in rural southcentral Pennsylvania, the Center transformed itself in the 1930s into a state-of-the art tuberculosis sanatorium. In the 1960s it reinvented itself as a geriatric center that stood at the forefront of the Commonwealth’s services for the aging. An examination of the pivotal years 1965–68, when the sanatorium gave way to the restoration center, will show how the state government’s rush to empty overcrowded state schools and hospitals led to the successful creation of the Center, even though its rural location meant it did not meet all of the state’s criteria. This article demonstrates the challenges the state experienced in transitioning the facility from one type to another.

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