Sunday, November 13, 2011

Sioux San Hospital - Rapid City, South Dakota

The Sioux San Hospital in Rapid City, South Dakota was once a boarding school and then a sanitarium.  Throughout it's history many have died there and are still thought to roam the premises to this day.

Sioux San Hospital in Rapid City, South Dakota formerly a boarding school and a sanitarium

Around 1898, a boarding school was constructed in Rapid City for Native American children so that they could learn how to read, write, and learn more about English culture. It was called the Rapid City Indian School or School of the Hills due to the close vicinity of The Black Hills. However, most who were sent there were not happy to be there, being "forced" to learn a new way of life.  Allegedly, some of these children where mistreated when they tried to run away and others were outright neglected, and it is rumored that some where even beaten to death and buried right there on the premises of the school.  The boarding school was eventually closed in 1933.

Rapid City, South Dakota in the late 1800s

It was a few years later that due to the wide spread epidemic of tuberculosis that hit the country, a hospital was opened specifically for Native Americans which was known as the Sioux Sanitarium.  Treatment for TB patients was very crude and experimental.  Most often resulted in a horrible death.  Most patients died there in the hospital any many who had no close relatives were buried there on-site.  After the advancement in medicine brought on a cure for tuberculosis, the hospital closed it's doors during the 1960s.

Entrance sign for the Sioux San Hospital in Rapid City, South Dakota

The hospital building was later remodeled and became the Rapid City Indian Health Service Hospital or as many local people refer to it, still using a derivative of the old name, the Sioux San Hospital.  Although it is a modern facility, there remain on the site unmarked graves of the children and patients who died there.  Many claim that their presence can still be felt as well as seen in the hallways of the hospital.  Some have heard the sounds of children crying when no children are around and others have witnessed the apparitions of young Native American children on the grounds and in the building, still searching for their long lost homes.

Sioux San Hospital in Rapid City, South Dakota

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