Historical Albion Michigan
By Frank Passic

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Any photos not otherwise credited are from the personal collection of Frank Passic, Albion Historian.


Morning Star, August 12, 2018, pg. 5

A lot of people are driving on W. Ash St. in recent weeks due to the Superior St. re-bricking project. You may have noticed a bright-blue painted brick building at 111-113 W. Ash St. on the south side of the street. This building was once the Albion City Hospital from 1910 to 1924. Albion’s public hospital history dates back to April 15, 1909, when the Albion City Hospital opened in rented facilities at 218 E. Erie St. The Hospital became reality as a result of efforts by local citizens who formed a hospital association. Dues were $1.00 per year. Prior to this time Albionites went to privately operated facilities in town such as Grant’s Hospital or at Juliet Calhoun Blakeley’s home.

Outgrowing its original location, the Albion City Hospital moved to W. Ash St., opening on December 2, 1910 in a house owned by George Howard. It was remodeled for hospital purposes and was supported by various organizations and individuals. The first superintendent was a "Miss Brownley."A house next door at 115 W. Ash St. was purchased in 1912 as an annex. A west wing was added in 1914 which housed the operating room, sterilizing room, consultation room, and several more patient rooms. There were three wards, and 12 private rooms. Gifts of vegetables and other donations were solicited to help feed the staff and patients.

Hospital nurses boarded across the street at 110 W. Ash St. in the Etta S. Burns house, and a nurse’s training school was opened in October 1911. Orderlies were housed in the third floor of the hospital. The first nursing diplomas were awarded in June, 1914. The nursing school program continued until February 1, 1933. Managing a hospital was long and tiring work, and subsequently there was a large turnover in the female superintendents. One woman superintendent stated in her 1916 resignation that she greatly regretted to give up the work, but that she felt she could not continued at the risk of a physical breakdown.

By the 1920s the hospital complex had become inadequate and rising state standards threatened to close the nursing school. With a $50,000 donation from James Sheldon Riley, and matching monies raised locally, the James W. Sheldon Memorial Hospital was erected and opened in May, 1924. The old hospital was turned into apartments, as it remains so today.

From our Historical Notebook this week we present a 1911 postcard photo of the Albion City Hospital on W. Ash St. The third nurse is Miss Maude Betty Stark (1886-1981)(later Shaw), who was superintendent of the nurses at the time. The man in the automobile appears to be prominent Albion physician Dr. George C. Hafford (1862-1941) with his wife Cora. All others are unidentified. How many of our readers have driven by this building lately?



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