Any photos not otherwise credited are from the personal collection of Frank Passic, Albion Historian.
Albion Recorder, December 15, 1997, pg. 4
This has certainly been a year of changes in Albion’s health care with the name change to Trillium. 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. Prior to this time, Albionites went to privately operated facilities such as Grant’s Hospital, or at Juliet Calhoun Blakeley’s home. The city hospital became reality as a result of efforts by a group of concerned Albion citizens who formed a hospital association. Dures were $1.00 per year.
Outgrowing its original location, a new Albion City Hospital was opened on December 2, 1910 at 111-113 W. Ash St., close to downtown, 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 at 115 W. Ash St. next door (now demolished) was purchased in 1912 as an annex. A west wing was added in 1915, 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 nurses training school, which was located in the annex building where it remained until 1921. 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 continue at the risk of a physical breakdown.
By the 1920s the hospital facilities at the W. Ash St. complex had become inadequate, and rising state standards threatened to close the nursing school. Hospital executive board secretary Jennie Worthington (1859-1942) wrote a letter to her childhood classmate, James W. “Don” Sheldon Riley (1879-1966) about Albion’s health care facility problem. Mr. Riley responded that his mother Madelon (Sheldon) Leffingwell (1859-1921) had set aside $50,000 from her estate to create a memorial to her banker father, James W. Sheldon.
With $50,000 from the Sheldon estate, matching monies were raised and the City of Albion purchased land in the 800 block of S. Superior St. for the construction of a new hospital. The cornerstone was laid in 1923, and the James W. Sheldon Memorial Hospital opened in May, 1924.
This week we present a 1912 view of the Albion City Hospital on W. Ash St. This building still stands today, and currently is used for apartments.
Albion City Hospital on W. Ash St.
All text copyright, 2021 © all rights reserved Frank Passic