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Clifton Springs Sanitarium

The Sanitarium c.1910
1st Floor Lobby Before Rehab
1st Floor Lobby After Rehab
Turret Apartment Before Rehab
Turret Apartment After Rehab
The Chapel with Louis C. Tiffany Glass Mosaic

Clifton Springs Sanitarium

11 East Main Street, Clifton Springs, NY

  • Date Built: 1895-96
  • Total QREs: $10,272,000
  • Total HTCs: $5,136,000, Federal; $5,136,000 State.
  • Additional funding provided by Low Income Housing Tax Credits

Preservation Studios’ Role:

Preservation Studios completed the Part Two and Three of the Historic Preservation Certification Applications.


The Clifton Springs Sanitarium was completed between 1895-1896 having replaced the previous version of the building on the same site. Architects Pierce and Bickford of Elmira, NY designed the “L” shaped, five-story, Richardson Romanesque building. It was converted in 1974 to senior housing and has remained largely in that configuration with a double loaded corridor running east to west on each floor of apartments with some meeting and reception areas. As a result of the previous renovations, many of the building’s original features were either removed or obscured by drop ceilings or new walls even prior to its listing on the National Register in 1979.

Dr. Henry Foster was attracted to the site by the adjacent Sulphur Creek in 1849 and established the first version of the sanitarium along with his own home on the other side of the creek. As the National Register nomination notes, “Dr. Foster, in founding the Clifton Springs Water Cure in 1850, determined to this day the history of the community in which the facility is located. Based upon a curious mixture of current trends in 19th century medicine, Foster’s institution combined a water cure, allopathic and homeopathic medicine with an insistence on the importance of spiritual health as part of all medical treatment.”

The sanitarium is built of steel frame, marble, granulitic floors, and brick walls. Its primary façade is divided into eleven bays and a prominent veranda extends across almost the full width of it. The central bay projects from the building and creates the base for the tower, which rises three stories above the roof. A tower that extends one story above the roof is present at either end of the primary façade. The bays between them terminate at the fourth floor in an arch before transitioning to the fifth floor. The composition is completed with a corbel table in each bay and a prominent solarium is present on the roof extending the width of the five center bays of the primary façade. Original marble floor tiles and the lobby fireplace remain intact as do the features of the chapel.

As part of the rehabilitation, the finishes and features throughout the building were updated entirely to bring the building out of the 1970s and into the 21st century. Non-historic windows were removed and replaced with new windows, original ceiling heights were restored in select locations along with detailed plasterwork, and the building continues to provide quality housing for its senior residents. The program additionally utilized the Low Income Housing Tax Credit program as administered by the NYS Homes and Community Renewal

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