The medical hospital that was a quarantine house where people were kept away from the general population to prevent further infection.
The "hospital" is a rather small white frame building that was used throughout the 1840s and 1850s for people infected with various contagious diseases including smallpox, cholera, and scarlet fever. It was best to keep anyone infected away from other people to curb the spread of the diseases. It was named the Pest House, as in pestilence, because many of the people that entered never recovered. During the Civil War, the Pest House was used for quarantining Confederate soldiers. Doctor John Jay Terrell was a local doctor during that time, heard about Pest House and the poor conditions inside so he took over. Sanitation was almost nonexistent, and he was one of the first doctors to wash his hands and sterilize his instruments between the surgeries he performed. Dr. Terrell painted the rooms of smallpox patients black to ameliorate the ocular hypersensitivity to light. There were no beds, special sand was on the floor covered with linens where patients would lay and the sand along with the germs would be swept out. He changed many of the protocols and brought the mortality rate of the hospital from 50 percent to 5 percent. Doctor Terrell's dedication and ingenuity saved a lot of lives. The Confederate soldiers that became ill with smallpox, cholera, and scarlet fever were immediately sent to Pest House. It was originally located at Rock Castle Farm in Campbell County. It was moved to Old City Cemetery in 1987 and has been restored to recreate medical science in the era of 1860 - 1900. The exhibits represent the primitive conditions of Lynchburg's Pest House during the Civil War, plus a typical country doctor's office that would have been used by Dr. Terrell after his Confederate medical service including the instruments and tools used during that time period. The self-guided tour takes visitors on a walk through history. There are several buildings with outdoor speakers that tell the stories about the artifacts within. The audio is interesting and the displays through the doors and the windows help tell the stories. The Old City Cemetery is close and has mature trees, and a garden of 60 rose bushes with varieties that date back to 1565 - 1900. Make sure that you get a good look at the "poison chest" while here, as well. There is also a gift shop where the workers can answer any other questions you may have. The museum is open Monday - Saturday 10 am - 3 pm & Sunday 1 pm - 5 pm. After the war, the penniless doctor opened an office on his farm outside of town and served the local people that often traveled on horseback. He died at the age of 93 in 1922.