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Elusive Memories of Iola, Part 2

November 22nd, 2013

Children (patients) on the roof of Iola Tuberculosis Sanatorium (c.1939). That's Marilyn Casserino in the center. [PHOTO COURTESY OF: Marilyn Murphree]
Here’s an update to last Friday’s story about Marilyn Casserino, 79. Marilyn is the girl in the dark dress in the center of the photo above. This picture was taken c.1939 on the roof of the Children’s Building at Iola Tuberculosis Sanitorium where Marilyn was a patient, along with her mother Vivian.

Unfortunately, Marilyn’s mom passed away while at the hospital. Marilyn was just 6 at the time. Looking back at those days, she now wishes she could remember more – about her mom, and about this place where they were treated for well over a year.

For starters, she wanted to try and find out who the other girls in the photo were. Would you believe in less than one week we’ve now identified two of those girls…

Two of the other children were identified this week as Jean Bissiett and Beverly Ferguson. [PHOTO COURTESY OF: Marilyn Murphree]
This past Monday, Mark Hosier stumbled upon the story and left the following comment:

Imagine our surprise when my sister and I, looking for information on Iola, happen across this great story and find a picture of our mother and aunt. The girl in the center with the short blonde hair is our mother Jean Bissiett and the girl with the curley hair on Marilyn’s left is her sister Beverly Ferguson (different fathers). They “cured” at Iola with their mother Esther, brother Bob and another sister Barb. Esther died there in 1945. It saddens us to see the buildings have been torn down, and so little written about the history of the place and the people who spent years there. I hope they put some kind of memorial up to commemorate the people who worked, lived and died there, so they aren’t forgotten.

I couldn’t believe it. The power of the internet is real! I emailed Mark and found out he is for real as well. He sent these photos which show his mother, Jean, and aunt Beverly… the same two girls standing next to Marilyn in her photo!

Beverly Ferguson (center), Jean Bissiett (right), and their brother Bob (left). On the roof of Iola (c.1939). [PHOTO COURTESY OF: Mark Hosier]
There’s no mistaking those smiles.

Jean Bissiett, Beverly Ferguson, and brother Bob. [PHOTO COURTESY OF: Mark Hosier]
Mark says he’s going to visit his mom this week and will show her Marilyn’s photo to see if it jogs any memories.

For Marilyn, it was exciting news to learn a few names. But she says she still doesn’t remember the girls. And says she still longs to remember her mom…

How wonderful to remember your childhood. There are so few memories for me. I remember being on the ground and looking up at a window to my mother. I remember sitting in the hall outside her door at the hospital and being held (I think I was a patient then). I sort of remember being in a dining area and not liking some food and got in trouble for not eating it. I sort of remember being in a crib and being sung to – it must have been her. These are such vague memories that I wonder if they are real.

I’m still looking for more information to share with Marilyn. But in the meantime, Mark sent more photos which show his mother during her second stay at Iola when her TB relapsed as a teenager…

Jean Bissiett as a teenager with other patients on the roof at Iola (c.1946). [PHOTO COURTESY OF: Mark Hosier]
Looks like they had some fun times up on that roof.

Jean Bissiett as a teenager, having fun with other patients on the roof at Iola (c.1946). [PHOTO COURTESY OF: Mark Hosier]

Jean Bissiett as a teenager, having fun with other patients on the roof at Iola (c.1946). [PHOTO COURTESY OF: Mark Hosier]

Jean Bissiett as a teenager, having fun with other patients on the roof at Iola (c.1946). [PHOTO COURTESY OF: Mark Hosier]

Jean Bissiett as a teenager, having fun with other patients on the roof at Iola (c.1946). [PHOTO COURTESY OF: Mark Hosier]

Jean Bissiett with Gene Autry, the Singing Cowboy. Autry came to visit the patients at Iola (c.1946). [PHOTO COURTESY OF: Mark Hosier]
Check this out. That’s Jean on the left… And Gene Autry on the right! The Singing Cowboy external link came to visit the patients.

Patients posing for a group portrait in front of the Children's Building at Iola Tuberculosis Sanatorium (c.1946). [PHOTO COURTESY OF: Mark Hosier]
Here they are on the lawn in front of the Children’s Building. Looks like they’re getting ready for a group portrait.

The Children's Building at Iola Tuberculosis Sanatorium (c.1946). [PHOTO COURTESY OF: Mark Hosier]
Here’s the Children’s Building which was torn down a few weeks ago.

The Administration Building at Iola Tuberculosis Sanatorium (c.1946). The Infirmary is in the background to the right. [PHOTO COURTESY OF: Mark Hosier]
And here’s the view looking in the opposite direction across the lawn at the Administration Building. Beautiful. The building in the background on the right was the former Infirmary (built 1915). It was demolished in 1985.

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This entry was posted on Friday, November 22nd, 2013 at 8:05 am and is filed under Rochester History, Rochester Images. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

7 Responses to “Elusive Memories of Iola, Part 2”

  1. chase tyler says:

    Glad that there’s SOMEPLACE where Iola’s been getting coverage. I can’t find anything on the news and little in the newspapers.

  2. Peter Bonaccorso says:

    I have pictures of my mother as a small child on the rooftop of this building. Some other kids in photos also. Was wondering where she was in the photos.

  3. Peter, if you can, send the photo(s) to info@rochestersubway.com.

  4. Thomas Barnes says:

    My Grandmother was also at there for TB…her name was Helena Robertson My mother remembers my grandmother telling her how they use to be put out on the roof to sleep in the winter and how it was so cold. My mother was sad to learn it was torn down….

  5. Sharon Pacheco says:

    Hi. My aunt (my mother’s sister) was at Iola as a child. She died there 06 Jan 1915 at age 13. Her name was Maria Nicola Grande. Is there someplace I can look to get her records from Iola? I looked on the web but could not find much info about Iola. Thank you for any help.

    I was able to find her grave at Holy Sepulchre cemetery & I am now in the process of trying to get a marker for her, as there was none. The lady in the office had to help me find the grave because it was so old. The funeral home who took care of my aunt (Emma Funeral Home) is no longer in business. She had her mass at St Bonafice Church on Gregory St. This info the lady in the office at Holy Sepulchre gave me. She was very helpful.

  6. Hi Sharon. When I was researching for this story I went to Monroe Community Hospital. They have an archive of patient records and they let me flip through the Iola logs. It was literally thousands of handwritten pages that I had to sift through. But anyway, call Monroe Community Hospital and explain what you are looking for. They’ll help you.

  7. Sharon Pacheco says:

    My maternal aunt was @ Iola & died there. I was told all the records are at Monroe Community Hospital. My husband & I went there & the people in the Health Information Office were very nice & gracious enough to let us have access to all the Iola books they had. My husband & I spend a whole day – from 0830 until almost 4 pm looking through all the names in the books, trying to find my aunt’s name. We could not find her name in any of the over 15+ large books we were given to research. I know she died there because I was able to find her grave at Holy Sepulchre cemetery & the office told me she died at Iola & even gave me the name of the funeral home, dates, church, etc. QUESTION: Does anyone know any other place that would have Iola records? The people at the Health Office at Monroe Community said other people have looked thru the books & found their relatives & this was the first time they can recall a person not being able to find an Iola resident. I would really appreciate any help or suggestions someone might have. Thank you all.


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