The “Pest House”? Really?
The following article appeared on page one of the June 15, 1880 Chicago Daily News;
The small-pox has made its appearance at Hyde Park, and the authorities of the town have applied to the Health Department of this city for permission to remove all cases of the disease to the Chicago Pest-House.
It appears that about ten days ago a man, whose name has not been given, died at Hyde Park with what was pronounced black measles. It is now believed, however, that the sickness was hemorrhagic small-pox, as the male nurse in attendance is down with a bad form of the varioloid, and a child in the house has the small-pox. The people thereabouts are much alarmed, and others who have been in danger of infection expect to be stricken. In this city, since yesterday’s reports, a new case of the disease has been removed from 170 Bunker street, making the sixth from the same house, and Sophia Glazier, 2 years old, has been taken to the Pest-House from 28 Will street.
In regard to the statements that attendants at the Pest-House range at will in the outside world, or that the public is exposed to contagion through carelessness on the part of the ambulance driver, the Health Commissioner says:
The ambulance has never been stopped on the street when on its way to the hospital; that it is thoroughly fumigated every time it is used; that the special instance noticed where the carriage halted before a drug store was when discharged patients were being taken home; that Hamilton, who has charge of it, never leaves the Pest-House grounds with the same clothes worn inside, but makes a complete change in a retired apartment, and that not a case of small-pox has been discovered in the last four years but that information of it has been given promptly to the people.”