Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Saying Goodbye

Our hospital in the town that I live in is a community-owned organization.  Governed by a board which is elected by the people of the county.  A few years ago, it was determined that the builing that it was currently housed in was inadequate and that it needed to be replaced.  As such, land was purchased and a new building constructed.  For over three years now, the old building has sat empty, looking for a new tenant.  Finally, the county commission had enough and is trying to force the hospital to make a decision as to the fate of the old structure.  It looks like the old building, which is just over a block from my house, will be demolished.  The building had many additions to it over the years, with the newest part being 20 years old this year.  However, the core of the building was dedicated in 1949.  The roof on the building is bad, and as it has sat empty without climate control for over 3 years, the floor tiles are coming up off the floors (cracking and curling) and there is mold and mildew growing up almost all of the walls.  The building was opened up to the public this past Friday and Saturday for a few hours so that the locals could see it and give any suggestions as to what it might be used for.  A public hearing / meeting to discuss the fate of the structure will be scheduled soon. 

Mom and I went up to walk through the maze-like building.  I got to go through parts that I have never seen before.  Parts of the building were roped off as the roof was leaking water and the floors were wet and unsafe to travel down.  I remembered to take my camera with me, and so today, I'd like to share some of the amazing mid-century features of this building that are still visible.  If nothing else, it serves as a way to document the time period before the building disappears forever.

My sister and I were both born in this building (my mother showed me the room) and three of my grandparents passed away in this building.  I needed to see it one more time.

First, let's take a look at the building when it was dedicated in 1949.

You may be wondering why the flag is at half mast.  The hospital was built and dedicated to the memory of the soldiers of the county that fell during WWII.

Now, let's take a look at the old girl today:

Isn't this light fixture great?  There is one on either side of the original entrance.

Take a look at these amazing tile floors that were in the maternity ward, and the operating rooms.  Love the dark brown and aqua combination.  And the simple pattern is great as well!

I love the look of this old sterilizer.  And don't overlook that great old aqua concrete block wall.  The wall matches the floor tile!

This window doesn't look out at anything except a mechanical room on the roof that was part of an addition, but I love the glass block in the window!

In the room with the glass block window, I noticed a space in the wall.  Apparently this room originally had this beautiful green tile on the walls, and at some point the ceiling was lowered and the walls were built out finished in drywall.  I know that I personally prefer the tile...

I love the curved wall here in the oldest part of the building.  And that door, a lot of the doors in the old part still have their original lettering on them.  This door leads to a janitor's closet.  Here's a look at the lettering on the door:

I'm not exactly sure of the purpose of this clock...it just tells seconds.  I'm sure that it was for timing pulse, etc. originally.

Isn't this wooden screen to the old waiting room great?  I'd love to be able to salvage it out of the building before they tear it down.  Although, I really have no use for it...I still hate to think of it being gone.  It's heavy and solid.

The last day the hospital was open - found inside the old nurse's station.

This is the room that my grandmother passed away in back in 1996.  This part of the building was built in the late 1980s.  There has been a little talk of saving this part of the building.  It is probably in the best shape out of the whole thing.  I personally would like to see an urgent care facility put in here.

It was a little creepy though.  The nurse's call light above the door was on and flashing, the only one in the building that was on, and it's above the door of the room Granny died in.  I had to get a picture of it.

The building also had some great colored mid-century bathrooms...blue, yellow, tan.  Unfortunately, I didn't think to get pictures of those.

So, there you have it.  Another mid-century building documented before it's destruction.  Please don't think that I am upset about losing this building though.  It has become an unkept eyesore, and after touring it and seeing the amount of damage it has suffered from not being maintained, from the water leaking through the roof for years, and from the hot and cold due to no temperature control, it's time for the old girl to be torn down.  It's going to be a big job, as the pipes embedded in the concrete walls are insulated with asbestos.

Have a great Wednesday.  We are currently at 14 + inches of snow and it's still coming down!  I have a feeling that I won't be going back to work anytime this week.  Stay safe!


  1. Wow, you hate to see something that well-built torn down. Especially something that is such a part of the fabric of a community. But sometimes that's just the way things are. They're tearing down a great old 1920's elementary school not far from here; it's just like the school in "A Christmas Story". I would have loved for my kids to go there (minus the asbestos, of course!) You can be sure the new, technologically-advanced building with all the bells and whistles they're replacing it with won't last nearly as long!

  2. It is too bad that so many do not see the value in taking care of things so they do not have to be torn down due to lack of care. I know things wear out but why? Anyway... how great it would be to salvage some of the useful and interesting things in the hospital before they tear it down. I am sure they have pickers who have already been contracted to do this....?

  3. the light fixtures on the outside are killer! It'd be cool if they could "restore" it back tohow it was and make some sort of urgent care/ mesuem.

  4. Same thing happened in my city: The old hospital, looking much like yours, stood empty for a while. They rebuilt it 45 minutes away- making it very difficult for people to get out there =/

    Now a Lowe's hardware store stands there, some fast food places, and it lost all of it's old glory. The 50's restaurant still stands across the street, that fed so many nurses and patients families, but even that is looking neglected...

  5. The new hospital in my town (~4,000 residents) is just about 2 miles from th old one so it doesn't take much longer. I am fairly certain that nothing commercial will go in where the old building is, as it is a residential neighborhood and city zoning laws will prohibit any commercial ventures from going in there. From the rumors I am hearing, the land may possibly be turned into a park, which would be fine by me!

  6. Such a great building. It's a shame that it can't be reused for something. That light that was on over your grandmother's room - wow, that gives me the chills.


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