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Interview with Charles Hayes

Charles Hayes Interview Description

Charles Hayes was an employee of Metropolitan Life Insurance Company in New York City when he fell out of a window and injured himself. The company decided to send him to Mt. McGregor where he would be Patient #100 at their new sanatorium in 1914. Most of the MetLife employees who were sent there were sick with tuberculosis but Charles was not, which gave him the freedom to leave the isolation of the mountain. Hayes loved his time on the mountain, he thought the food was great, the scenery was beautiful and the patients were given $8.00 a month spending money, which Charles noted would go a long way because there was nothing to buy. Once he healed, he decided to stay at Mt McGregor and work for the company for an additional 9 months.  

Metropolitan Life Building

Met Life Construction, c.1913

One of the jobs Charles performed for MetLife included a trip to Montreal. In 1915 there was a smallpox outbreak at the sanatorium. Charles claimed that any patient that contracted small pox was sent to live out in the woods so as not to infect the other patients. Charles took a train to Montreal to retrieve a serum which was intended to treat smallpox. He also noted that they were all given a teaspoon of straight turpentine. 

1915 New York State Census, Town of Moreau, Inhabitants of the Metropolitan Life Insurance Sanatorium.

Charles remained on Mt McGregor for two years (1914-1916) before heading home to New York City. Even in his later life he looked back fondly on his time spent on the mountain… well, except for the time he and some other patients got caught stealing oranges out of the icebox and were put to bed for one week as punishment, that he could have lived without!