In 1914, Dr. Henry Lindlahr bought 8 acres of the former Lathrop estate in Elmhurst, Illinois to establish the Lindlahr Sanitarium so that patients might receive “Nature Cure” in a country atmosphere. The sanitarium was in existence from 1914 to 1928.
Dr. Lindlahr was born in 1862 and died in 1924. He took his training in “Nature Cure” in Europe and then opened his practice in Chicago in 1902. His practice eventually expanded and included the administration building and the Lindlahr College in Chicago to train physicians and nurses in different methods of treatment. The “Nature Cure” included a vegetarian diet, exercise, hydrotherapy, manipulation, sunbathes and airbathes. Brochures for the sanitarium stated no drugs, serums or surgery. The reason Henry Lindlahr became a doctor was because he was a diabetic. He eventually cured his diabetes and lost 40 pounds; therefore, he devoted his life to being a doctor who didn’t use medications.
Lindlahr Sanitarium was located on the south side of St. Charles Road between Cottage Hill Avenue and Prospect Avenue. The property eventually expanded to include an administration building; an annex, which had bedrooms, baths, parlors, porches, and the main treatment room; bungalows; and, in the summer, a tent city with screened tents with electric lights. The large, wooded grounds provided patients with plenty of room to get exercise, which was an important part of the “Nature Cure”. Lindlahr Sanitarium had a sports program, which included tennis, basketball, lawn croquet, volleyball and exercise groups.
An old brochure for Lindlahr Sanitarium, still in existence, advertises treatment for all illnesses except for those requiring quarantine, and patients who were “violently insane”. Patients came to Lindlahr Sanitarium from all over the world for the “Nature Cure”. One well-known patient was Eugene Victor Debs, who was five-time presidential candidate for the Socialist Party. He died at Lindlahrs.
It’s estimated that Dr. Lindlahr treated around 80,000 patients in his career. Dr. Henry Lindlar wrote and did extensive lectures on the “Nature Cure”, which at the time was considered an unorthodox health program. He wrote five books on natural therapeutics. These books include Nature Cure (1913), a book on “the philosophy and practice based on the unity of disease and cure” and a book he wrote with his wife, Anna, titled Nature Cure CookBook and ABC of Natural Dietetics . It had four printings. He also published Nature Cure Magazine .
Lindlahr Sanitarium only stayed open about four years after Dr. Lindlahr’s death, under the direction of his father, Victor; Henry died in 1924 and the sanitarium closed in 1928.
Copies of the two books previously mentioned brochures and photographs can be seen at the Elmhurst Historical Museum, located at 120 E. Park Avenue, Elmhurst, Illinois