Baker Sanitorium

Baker House Today
As late as the early 20th century, most Charleston women were giving birth at home. But in 1912, Charleston gynecologist and surgeon Dr. Archibald Baker opened a 60-bed hospital and medical teaching center that afforded women a safer, more antiseptic opportunity to have babies. The Baker Sanitorium was the first private hospital in Charleston, and literally stood out in its prominent location overlooking Colonial Lake with its unusual Mission Revival design, which was influenced by the old Spanish missions in California. The four story structure featured overhanging cornices and arched passages designed to catch the prevailing westerly breezes off the Ashley River.
Dr. Baker also used the hospital as a teaching center, and three of his sons would also become physicians and work at the hospital, which moved from the location in 1981. Today, the Baker House is a condominium, and still stands majestically over Colonial Lake, although not quite as high as what was located near that spot in the early 1800’s. Wyatt’s wind saw-mill was built in this area during the 1790’s, and once stood more than
75 feet high, with giant canvas arms turning in the wind. Steam power would make wind mills obsolete by 1817 in Charleston, and the old structure was long gone before photography was born.

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