During the height of the tuberculosis outbreak in America, several New Jersey counties operated sanatoriums to combat the disease. Bergen County had the Bonnie Burn Hospital in Berkeley Heights. Passaic County had the Valley View Sanatorium on the border of Wayne and Haledon. Essex had the Essex Mountain Sanatorium on a small mountain overlooking the town of Verona. Even Hudson County built a 23 story "chest hospital" tower on the Jersey City Medical Center Campus. Camden County established a sanatorium on the edge of the Lakeland Psychaitric Hospital property, and private sanatoriums like the Cooley Hospital were popping up all over the state. Middlesex County had 212,208 residents according to the 1930 Census. They needed their own facility to treat the disease.
The Roosevelt Hospital was established in the town of Metuchen in 1937. Built in a grand Colonial Revival style, the hospital served Middlesex County as their own sanatorium. The hospital was relatively small, having roughly 150 beds. The building resembled the Preakness Hospital, however the left wing of the Roosevelt Hospital had a small extra piece of building jutting off the back of the left wing. Set behind a small pond on an empty 13 acre parcel, the hospital was as scenic as it could be in such a densely populated area.
In 1946, a new antibiotic called Steptomycin was introduced. The drug proved vastly effective in treating tuberculosis. While the patients at the Roosevelt Hospital were being put on regiments of Streptomycin, a new psychiatric hospital was built on the edge of the property, to alleviate overcrowding at both Greystone and Marlboro State Hospitals. By the late 1950's, the antibiotics proved so effective that the facility was no longer needed. Instead of being demolished. the facility was renovated into a geriatric care facililty. The building would see several small expansions in its history. In the 1970's, 100 more beds were added behind the right wing of the old building. A large 250 bed wing connecting the two rear portions was completed in 1982.
The building was added to the State and National Registers of Historic Places in 2002, helping to ensure that the historic building would not be demolished. However, the Menlo Park Psychiatric Hospital wasn't so lucky, and was demolished the same year. Just a few years later, a new geriatric care facility was built on the site of a modern county building and a historic mansion aross the main road from the Roosevelt property. Minimal operations were carried out at the old Roosevelt Hospital, until they were phazed out in 2012. That same year, plans were announced that the building was to be renovated into senior housing. These plans would come to fruition in 2015, when the rear, modern portions of the buidling were demolished. The original portions of the building were renovated shortly afterwards.
Thankfully, the Roosevelt Hospital escaped the wave of demolition that took out seven other disused hospitals across New Jersey in 2015. Hopefully the building will be completed and remain occupied for many more years to come.