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Mystery Cache

TB or not TB

A cache by keekle Send Message to Owner Message this owner
Hidden : 6/9/2011
In Iowa, United States
2 out of 5
1.5 out of 5

Size: Size: micro (micro)

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Geocache Description:

This is a straight-forward puzzle cache.  Answer the questions below to find the actual coordinates of the cache.


The posted coordinates will take you to the middle of the closest parking lot. Parking in this lot is free and open to the public.

The University of Iowa Research Park began as the unincorporated village of Oakdale, which was established by the State of Iowa legislature as a state-wide treatment center for tuberculosis (TB). Not far from the coordinates, on what is now an open field, sat the main hospital building, Oakdale Hall

     The Oakdale Tuberculosis Sanatorium was built both to treat and quarantine patients. At the time, TB was the number one killer in the US – more than fifty percent of people who developed active disease died. The remainder often suffered years of poor health; statistics that remain unchanged today in the developing world. As a result, the disease was much feared.

     Once admitted to the TB sanatorium, patients could expect a stay of 6 months or longer. Some patients never left. Prior to 1946, the only treatment for TB was a healthy diet, bed rest and fresh air. On modern aerial views of Oakdale Hall (below), you can still see the long concrete pads in the courtyard where patient beds were wheeled outside on nice days. In addition, patients slept year-round in screened-in, open porches, even when the temperature was well below 0 degrees F

     Oakdale Hall was demolished in 2011, however, several buildings related to the TB sanatorium remain. One of the most notable is a brick building west of here (now the Technology Innovation Center) that was the nurses residence. On the NE corner of that building is a famous symbol of the "crusade" against TB: the double-barred Cross of Lorraine.

To find the cache, answer the following questions. The actual coordinates will be:

    N41 42.ABC W91 35.DEF

A = What is the scientific name (genus and species) of the bacterium that causes the majority of human cases of TB? Using the first word (genus) in that name, take the 5th letter and convert it to it's numerical position in the alphabet. (e.g. A=1 … Z=26,etc)

B = What year was Oakdale Hall built? Add the last 2 digits of that year together. (e.g. 1985 = 8+5)

C = After the TB hospital closed, Oakdale Hall continued to play an important role for public and environmental health in Iowa. What is the 3-word title (exclude 'the') of the state facility that was the primary tenant from 1971 until 2010 (hint: it now resides in a shiny new building at the main entrance of the UI Research Park.) Take the first letter of the second word and find it's numerical position in the alphabet. (A=1… Z=26, etc)

D = What is the last digit of the year that the TB sanitarium opened to the first patients?

E = TB was once known as the _______ plague. Take the third letter of that word and find it's numerical position in the alphabet. (A=1… Z=26, etc)

F = Add the first and the last digit of the year that the last patient left Oakdale TB sanitorium. (e.g. 2005 = 2+5)

Good luck and happy caching! A special thanks to Bob Hibbs for the historical information that provided the inspiration for this puzzle. Thanks to G.O. John and Carol for providing the seed cache container


Here are some links that may be useful:

UI Medical Museum: Oakdale Sanatorium History
Daily Iowa Article on Oakdale Hall
Lab Link article on Oakdale Hall demolition

YClick here to check your solution on

Additional Hints (Decrypt)

onpx gb ebnq, gura orgjrra naq yrsg

Decryption Key


(letter above equals below, and vice versa)



62 Logged Visits

Found it 60     Publish Listing 1     Owner Maintenance 1     

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**Warning! Spoilers may be included in the descriptions or links.

Current Time:
Last Updated: on 7/19/2015 9:29:51 AM Pacific Daylight Time (4:29 PM GMT)
Rendered From:Unknown
Coordinates are in the WGS84 datum