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When Arequipa first opened, it consisted of two long sleeping porches. One was beneath the other, and the porches were about 75 by 30 feet that were enclosed with respective screens. Each porch had 11 beds, and in the back of the wards there was a dressing room. There was one dining room, examination rooms, and a library. There was also a five room nursesí cottage, an extra two room cottage, a fully equipped steam and electric laundry room, three pottery buildings, a cottage for the boys who worked the pottery, a garden and a stable.
In 1913, a wing was added on. This additional wing could hold 22 beds and rooms for offices as well as a large beamed ceiling living room with a fireplace, a nursesí break room and a larger kitchen space.
There was a staff about 18 that lived at the sanitarium, but many other physicians, including Dr. Brown and his sister, Dr. Adelaide Brown, contributed their time to work at the facility. However nice the sanitarium was for the patients, the real attraction that brought worldwide, public attention was the Arequipa pottery.
While in the sanitarium, Dr. Phillip King Brown thought that the patients should have some sort of occupation. The work that the patients provided would be sold and the profits would help pay for the care that they were given. Also, the work would give the patients something to do instead of resting, which would bring about idleness. The first raft that they attempted was basket weaving, but baskets failed to reap in enough profits. Dr. Brown heard about the success of pottery making at the Marblehead sanitarium in Massachusetts, and decided to give it a try at Arequipa. Frederick Hurten Rhead was a potter from Staffordshire, and decided to take the job of starting pottery making at Arequipa.
All of the pottery was done by hand, and the only machine that was around was for special effects in glazing. There were 3 kilns that were fired with oil. Clay, initially imported from Placer County, ended up being discovered on Arequipa property a year after pottery making started. Teenage boys from the San Francisco orphanage helped dug up and screen the clay as well as doing all the heavy work around the property. The patients were the only ones who finished and decorated the pottery.
Surprisingly, people locally, around the country and around the world adored the Arequipa pottery. Arequipa pottery escalated into a major spectacle in various places around the country. At the Panama-Pacific Exposition, Arequipa pottery had its own booth with 3 former patients showing how the pottery was made.