A Look Back at the Gravely Building
An etching of the Gravely Building that appeared in the dedication program from 1953
A photo taken on March 15, 2010 of the Gravely Building demolition with the N.C. Cancer Hospital in the background
"I have tried through the years to help provide facilities for the care and cure of those who suffer from tuberculosis and the great pleasure I get out of seeing the new buildings go up and the new beds provided is in the knowledge that in days and years to come many of my fellow men will be given a better chance of life, a better chance to get well because of them." - L. Lee Gravely, Sr.
"My best memory of Gravely is that of entering a fortress and haven where our 'community of cancer care' existed for brief moments, days and for some years in time. This community was not isolated to the patients experiencing their diagnosis but included the families, caregivers, physicians, nurses, clerks, and volunteers. Though of brick and mortar, the heart and soul of Gravely gave us support, compassion, knowledge, and strength to continue to grow to where we are today." - Pat Decator, RN, oncology nurse
The state of North Carolina built Gravely Sanatorium, which opened in 1953, to provide treatment for people facing a then- leading cause of death: tuberculosis. TB was such a problem in North Carolina that many young men were rejected for service in WWII because of it. More than 3,000 new case were discovered every year by the 1950s.
Gravely Sanatorium's ultimate use for more than two decades was as a treatment facility for another leading cause of death: cancer. Now the building, replaced in August 2009 by the new N. C. Cancer Hospital, is coming down and the space will be used as a garden and labyrinth for the UNC Health Care medical campus.