By Ralphine Major
Shaped like a crescent moon, the big tan building set atop a hill at the end of a long driveway on Tazewell Pike in northeast Knox County. Originally known as the Beverly Hills TB Sanitorium and later the East Tennessee Tuberculosis Hospital, the facility’s main purpose was to treat tuberculosis patients. The beautiful country setting, surrounded by lots of trees, grass, and even a herd of cattle, seemed the perfect place for convalescing patients.
In the late sixties and seventies, our mother worked at the state-run facility as an assistant to the dietician and later as assistant to the purchasing agent. By then, the name had been changed to East Tennessee Chest Disease Hospital to encompass a broader range of chest diseases in addition to tuberculosis. When I started classes at The University of Tennessee, mother and I carpooled in our commutes. I actually looked forward to stopping by her work place each evening. The open fields and towering trees were a stark contrast to the city streets and sidewalks where I had spent the day on campus. She worked there for twelve years until the hospital was closed during the late seventies. I was always intrigued by the corner across from the hospital where remnants of the very first building once stood.
Today the building looks much the same as it did back then. It is now Beverly Park Place Health & Rehab which is operated by Knox County Government. Beside the older hospital is a much newer building, which is a very nice complement to the original structure. The beautiful setting atop the hill at the end of the long driveway is still intact today.