In the early 1900s, it was common for a physician to set up his own sanitarium rather than simply having an office. There were dozens of these institutions in Houston, with names like Dr. Greenwood’s Sanitarium (way out South Main), Blair’s Sanitarium (just north of downtown), Dr. Lunn’s Sanitarium (downtown in the Kiam Building) and the Christian Sanitarium in the Heights. They administered what we would today call “quack medicine” and gave a lot of “electric massage” treatments.
Dr. William Wilburn Lunn (1846-1909) was a Mississippi-born and Louisiana-educated physician who came to Houston in 1896. He set up shop first in the Binz Building and settled into two floors of the Kiam Building by 1900. His advertisements said that he treated ALL chronic diseases “by Electricity, Electric Massage and Dry Heat Sweat Baths”. When necessary, he used “internal medication”.
Dr. Lunn was also instrumental in the founding of the Texas Christian Sanitarium in the brand-new Houston Heights, on 19th Street at Ashland. He passed away at the age of 63 in his own sanitarium, from an infection after an operation. He was survived by his wife Annie Williams Lunn and two sons.