Dr. David Howell Yates, M.D. opened his first sanitarium in Madison in 1914, which is located at 279 NE Livingston Street.
Dr. Yates brought the first static electric machine to the state of Florida in 1902 and was very successful at treating a disease called pellagra, which is caused by a deficiency of niacin or tryptophan, with his electric machines, according to a 2009 issue of the Madison County Carrier.
The first two sanitarium buildings used by Yates were destroyed in a fire and the Yates sanitarium was later rebuilt, using much of its original brick walls. It became the location for the Madison Guest House retirement home. The building was said to have a fireproof structure, stucco finish, 20 rooms, baths, a kitchen, a dining room, reading room and reception lobby. The new building, which still stands today, has two stories, effective ventilation, hot and cold water. It attracted patients from all over the south. It also has a basement, which is quite unusual in Florida.
Dr. Yates was a very notable person within the community and was remembered most for the fact that he was the first to own a car. He had gasoline shipped by train and predicted gasoline would be sold in stores one day. He also served on the city council and made it a point to be active in the establishment of traffic laws. Yates was the first to receive a $1 citation for failing to turn on his taillights. He also patented a gas level indicator.
After his death in June of 1934, Yates’ legacy made an attempt to live on through Dr. Frank Chappell, who tried to run the Yates Sanitarium, which was renamed the Yates Memorial Hospital, but within a year, operation ceased and plans were made for the sanitarium to become an apartment complex.
In December of 1937, Madison County Memorial Hospital opened its doors. The Yates Sanitarium was the first building the hospital operated in. It was in use by the hospital until after World War II. The building housed the hospital until 1955. In 1954, the building was moved across the street of its original location and after the completion of the new hospital, it served as an office space for several doctors.
The building was moved again in the 1980s to a lot on Livingston Street, where it sits today. It was remodeled and restored by new owners and was later used as an apartment house until it deteriorated. North Florida Community College, then called North Florida Junior College, used the building as a dormitory for their college baseball team, the Sentinels; however, later on it was considered unfit for habitation as it continued to fall apart.
After several years of being empty, the Yates Sanitarium was purchased by private parties, who restored the building to its glory after remodeling and repairing it.
Today, it is used as apartment space.
Then and Now…