DANSVILLE, N.Y. (WETM) – The Jackson Sanatorium caught fire this past weekend. After years of being vacant and depleted, interest was renewed in the historic building.
Rich in history, it was once known as the Dansville water cure but, once in James Caleb Jackson’s possession, it started to thrive.
Dr. James Caleb Jackson is credited with the invention of granola in 1863 and with his help, the sanatorium became well-known for health and wellness specialties, noted by the Livingston county historian Holly Watson.
In 1929, Bernarr Macfadden became its new owner and the sanatorium then became the Physical Culture Hotel until its closing in 1971.
Holly Watson also said, “James Caleb Jackson’s physician Dr. Harriet Austin. Just to say that there’s a connection with the abolitionist movement in the 1850s and ’60s of women’s rights and equality as well.”
Austin was also an advocate for women’s dress reform. Watson explained that this included getting rid of corsets and wearing looser clothes.
“Shorter skirts were actually extremely risky and caught a lot of attention in the 1840s and 50s,” Watson said. “So there was a big connection to women’s equality and progressive thought going on in the health facility as well as the whole health part of it.”