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Thursday, July 5, 2012

Paulina Stearns Hospital

This post comes under the heading of interesting local history. I've always thought the old hospital building was attractive, but I'd somehow never driven down the street that comes directly to the front. The more main thoroughfare passes parallel to the building. I love this front view!

This is the second building that housed the Paulina Stearns Hospital.

Paulina Stearns Hospital

The first Ludington hospital was established in 1907 in the home of Justus Stearns. He was one of the few local businessmen who thought a hospital was a good idea. A group of women had formed a society to raise money and promote the idea. It was unpopular until a train accident with many injuries made the need for local hospital facilities obvious. The Hospital was named in honor of Stearns' deceased wife, Paulina.

The hospital outgrew the home (even though large) by the mid 1920s, but the stock market crash kept plans on hold. Finally, in 1940, this 30-bed building was opened. Justus Stearns had died by then, but he had donated a large sum of money that helped build it.

We moved here in the fall of 1969. This building had served the community until 1967, so we just missed knowing it personally as the local hospital. (The new building was/is much more functional than beautiful even after several upgrades. It's now a 95-bed regional hospital with a generic name.)

However, this building continued to be used as the county Health Department and then for Mental Health and Social Services. Now, it's empty. Seems a shame. It's such a beauty. It has the disadvantage of being on the south (old) end of town, while the business center had moved north and east. There's not much nearby, and parking is an issue.

Hopefully, someone will find a new use for the building.

If you want to read more of the history, see Memorial Medical Center history

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rainfield61 said...

You inspire me, and I get to know your place better.

vanilla said...

Beautiful old buildings interest me, too. Unfortunately, the progression goes from disuse to disrepair to demolition in many cases. Perhaps someone will see the potential for this one.

Unknown said...

Interesting story Joan. I'm fascinated by the tales that old buildings could tell. Thanks for sharing this one.

john bain said...

If this was in England it would be occupied by squatters.

Ann said...

it's always a shame when great old buildings like this one are left sitting empty. I prefer the older ones to anything they build these days

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