Photo Credit: Sam Quincy; Palm Beach Post, 1951 - The Southeast Florida Sanatorium, as it was known as in the 1950s when it first opened.
Photo Credit: Sam Quincy; Palm Beach Post, 1951

A. G. Holley State Hospital was opened on July 16, 1950 as the Southeast Florida State Sanatorium also known as the Southeast Tuberculosis Hospital. It is sometimes referred to as Sunland in Lantana as it was built as part of the Sunland Hospital chain, formerly named the W.T. Edwards Hospitals.

It was originally built to house 500 patients who were separated by race; white patients were lived in the east wing while African-American patients lived in the west wing. The grounds also including housing for doctors and nurses as well as it’s own power, water and sewage treatment plants.

All the W.T. Edwards Hospitals were constructed in the same basic way and this one was no different. The main buildings were all very long and thin, consisting of 5 floors with a few smaller wings branching off from the main building. At the time, it was thought that fresh air and sunlight was the best treatment for TB, so the building was constructed facing southeast to take advantage of the westward winds and has many windows to allow maximum sunlight and fresh air circulation.

A.G. Holley State Hospital | Photo © 2013 Bullet, www.abandonedfl.com

In May 1969, the state renamed the Southeast Florida State Tuberculosis Hospital to A. G. Holley State Hospital, after Adrian Glenn Holley. Holley was appointed to the state’s tuberculosis board in 1953 and became it’s chairman in 1958 when it’s first president, W.T. Edwards, resigned. Holley remained chairman until 1968 when the tuberculosis board was dissolved as the disease was no longer considered a public-health threat and all but two of the state’s tuberculosis hospitals had closed, the other being the W.T. Edwards Hospital in Tampa.

With the discovery of drugs to treat tuberculosis patients outside of the hospital setting, the daily census at the hospital by 1971 dropped to less than half of the original 500. By 1976 the beds and staff at A. G. Holley were reduced to serve a maximum of 150 patients.

As space became available, other agencies were invited to move onto the complex to utilize the unique environment. Between 1975 and 1988, the west-wing of A. G. Holley served as a minimum-security prison for young, non-violent male offenders until five inmates escaped, one of them killing a Palm Beach police officer. The facility changed to only hold low-risk female inmates until 1992.

A.G. Holley State Hospital | Photo © 2013 Bullet, www.abandonedfl.com

Tuberculosis in the United States and especially in Florida began to increase in the mid ’80s. This was due to the emergence of HIV, an increase in homelessness, drug addiction, immigration from areas of high tuberculosis, the spread in institutional settings, and the spread of drug-resistant tuberculosis.

As the incidence of TB declined, so did the number of beds. Although the hospital was licensed for 100 beds, it was only funded for 50. As the rate of tuberculosis continued to decline, the Florida Legislature felt it was no longer cost effective to run the hospital at a deficit of $10 million per year. The Florida legislature mandated in the 2012 session that the hospital close its doors by January 1, 2013.

The Department of Health accelerated the closure by six months and the hospital closed July 2, 2012.

The land was put up for sale in July 2013, but only received one bid and it was below the $10 million minimum bid. After the state lowered its asking price, the land was purchased in 2014 by Lantana Development LLC, a partnership between Southeast Legacy and Wexford Capital. The developer hasn’t revealed specifics about the future of the land but to expect retail stores, restaurants, entertainment venues and housing.

Demolition of the main building began on November 18, 2014.







11 Comments

  1. About 4 or 5 years ago, I had to make a delivery to this hospital. I was suprised to find out that they still had a TB hospital open. I thought they closed them a long time ago. They had a security guard with a key for the elevator take me upstairs….forgotten which floor…. I remember it looking like a time-capsule, very mid-century hospital look. I couldn’t wait to get out of there.

  2. I too I had thought it was closed a long time ago. I’ve driven by it loads of times and it looked creepy.

  3. Fredabobsqpants@gmail

    If it wasn’t for GOD and the wonderful staff at A.G. Holley, I wouldn’t be here today. It took them 8 months to cure me. Thank all of you

  4. my father died there in 1993

  5. it was recently torn down late last year. used to like right down the street from there. very scary at night.

  6. has been demolished.

  7. My mother and father and I were there at this hospital Both my parents had TB and I was born with it We were there several years before we were released /I was born in 1957/Spooky place for sure but my first known years were in this hospital The nurses were very kind to me They gave me paper dolls and books to color in Very thankful for all the care that was received here /Willis

  8. It’s completely razed now, when they were demolishing it they had a bobcat skid steer driving around on the floors helping to tear stuff out, a vault or reinforced room of some sort remained visible for a few weeks after the rest of the scrap was hauled away, I didn’t get a good look at it. I was brought up in Lantana in the ’90s and the building always interested me, I really regret that I never explored it before its demolition. Now it’s an unsightly empty lot of tall grass, and supposedly the future site of yet another commercial and residential development. I’m glad I’m leaving Lantana soon, traffic on Lantana Rd near the vacant AG Holley lot is already bad, Lantana Rd is going to be a complete nightmare with all of that extra traffic when the development starts.

  9. I use to work there so did my mom.. I loved it there…