Sanitariums (or sanitoriums) were common in the early 20th century as facilities for treating patients with chronic illness. This particular sanitarium was run by the Improved Order of Red Men in Hot Springs, a local chapter of a national fraternity. The Improved Order of Red Men was a whites-only organization (American Indians were explicitly banned); members would attend celebrations in store-bought native costumes wearing war paint and black wigs. This sanitarium was established as a treatment center for members from around the country. How many were treated, or even if the sanitarium became operational, is unknown. The organization purchased the building (which was first the Burlington Hotel) in 1909. By 1910, the mortgage holder declared the group had missed a payment and filed to repossess the property.