Last week we presented the story of one of the prominent building companies to work in Grosse Pointe and Metro Detroit during the late 1920’s– the Corrick Brothers. While the Corrick Brothers may not be a household name, the company constructed several significant buildings in Grosse Pointe
This week we continue with the work of the Corrick Brothers as we profile another of their significant projects, Cottage Hospital, built in 1927-1928. The hospital, located at 159 Kercheval, was designed by the noted Boston firm of Stevens & Lee, to create a “modern institution in every way.” Image courtesy of The Village of Grosse Pointe Shores. By Arthur M. Woodford.
The original Cottage Hospital was located in one of the small cottages on Oak Street, now Muir Road. It was established due to the 1918 Spanish influenza epidemic, which resulted in 600 cases and seven deaths in Grosse Pointe Township. Source: Grosse Pointe News (May 2019). The article in the Grosse Pointe News explains prior to the hospital on Oak Street opening, the Neighborhood Club was responsible for coordinating home visits, school checkups, and vaccinations. The organization also provided transportation to Harper or Henry Ford hospitals when the temporary beds that had been set up in the Neighborhood Clubs gymnasium weren’t enough to handle the number of people requiring hospital treatment during the influenza epidemic. As a result, in 1919, a group of residents founded Cottage Hospital - a lying-in hospital, for sick people to go and get nursing care – food, drink, and support. When the facility opened on March 13, 1919, it had five adult beds, five children’s beds, and three bassinets. According to information from the Grosse Pointe Historical Society, “by August 1919, 65 patients had been treated and the hospital was taxed beyond its capacity.” One month later, in September, an adjoining cottage was purchased, “between them an operating room and maternity room were built joining the two cottages.” Source: Grosse Pointe News, (May 2019). Image courtesy of the Grosse Pointe Historical Society.
Once the epidemic was over Cottage Hospital was used as a general facility, delivering babies, treating illnesses, accidents, and surgical needs of the community. However, it quickly became apparent the two cottages were no longer sufficient to service the needs of the community and plans were made for a larger, more permanent building.
During the mid 1920’s a parcel of land was offered by Henry Burns, located at 159 Kercheval, where the hospital stands today. It was reported in the Grosse Pointe Civic News (February 1928) the new Cottage Hospital of Grosse Pointe was made possible “by bequests of friends of the hospital and generous donations during 1926 and 1927. The hospital was to be a modern institution in every way with an extensive out-patient department, laboratory, X-ray and two operating rooms. The children's wing, a gift of Mr. and Mrs. Murray W. Sales, contained four private rooms and a four-bed cubicle ward with a sunny playroom at the end of the corridor”. It was planned that the hospital would also have 27 cubicle ward beds, 10 private rooms, along with an isolation ward, and a maternity suite with 13 infant cribs in the nursery. The hospital also had space for emergency care. During this period donations were continued to be sought, while people could apply to donate special items to the hospital, such as beds and cribs.
It is also reported, “the new cottage hospital was created for the benefit of all living in the neighborhood who needed medical and surgical care. Residents and employees of the Grosse Pointe villages and surrounding townships would expect the very finest in modern hospital methods.” Source: Grosse Pointe Civic News (February 1928). Cottage Hospital officially opened November 6, 1928. Images courtesy of: Wayne State University Digital Collection (1928).
Many of the hospitals designed by Steven & Lee “were inspired by classical architecture featuring elements such as a colonnaded entrance porticos, decorative brickwork, and projecting bays with stone quoining combined to present the appearance of a building resembling a Renaissance palazzo instead of a medical institution.” Source: dictionaryofarchitectsincanada.org.
When creating Cottage Hospital, it appears Steven & Lee opted for a more modern approach. It is reported in the Grosse Pointe Civic News, the 471,000 cubic foot hospital was built of brick on hollow tile and stone and of steel and concrete construction throughout. The exterior walls of the fireproof building were painted white, while the roof was brown tile. To compliment the flat appearance the many windows were metal sash. These elements created a clean and modern looking building. Inside, the floors were rubber, terrazzo, and linoleum. Built by the Corrick Brothers the cost to construct the hospital, without equipment, was $266,000 (around $4.6m today). Images courtesy of Architectural Forum (December 1928).
Boston based Edward Fletcher Stevens, an American architect and author, and Frederick Clare Lee, began working together in 1912. The firm designed hospitals in the US and Canada from 1912 to around 1933. Edward F. Stevens graduated with a degree in architecture from MIT in 1883, he then proceeded to work with several leading architectural firms on the east coast. We understand from research on Wikipedia, “during World War I he was a civilian specialist with the Army Engineers designing hospitals abroad. After the war he served on a special committee tasked with revising the design of U.S. Army hospitals.” He also authored several books on institutional design including The American Hospital of the Twentieth Century. Frederick C. Lee studied architecture at Yale University and the prestigious Ecole des Beaux-Arts, in Paris (1897–1902). On his return to the United States, he became a partner in the firm of Kendall, Stevens, and Lee (1909–12) and then formed the firm with Edward Stevens.
It is reported on the dictionaryofarchitectsincanada.org, “the firm of Stevens & Lee maintained two offices, one in Boston, headed by Stevens, and the other in Toronto, headed by Lee, who supervised all the Canadian hospital commissions executed by the firm in Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia, Manitoba, and Alberta. Within a few years, the company had established itself as a leading authority in the design of medical facilities in North America.” Stevens and Lee were credited with designing over 100 hospital buildings - in the United States, Canada, Mexico, and Peru. Their collaboration ended in 1933.
In 1930, a three-story nurses’ residence, located at 158 Kercheval, behind the hospital, was built honoring Mrs. John S. Newberry (Ms. Newberry had donated a significant amount of the funds for the nurses’ residence to be built). It was designed by renowned architect Raymond Carey and was furnished by Mrs. Emory L. Ford. The nurses’ residence opened in February 1930, with housing for 30 – the entire nursing staff and “domestic help”. You can read the full story of the Cottage Hospital Nurses’ residence by clicking here. The nurses’ residence is now the location of The Helm. Image courtesy of: Katie Doelle.
Over the years Cottage Hospital has been expanded - in 1942 and 1953. The latter expansion increased the hospitals’ capacity to 101 beds. By the late 1960’s Cottage had reach capacity once more and a three-story wing that included a roof garden, opened in 1971. Along with increasing the capacity to 175 beds, the new three-story wing had 125,000 feet of floor space - a basement, and three above-ground floors – which included 33 mental health beds, 30 continuing care beds, new departments for physical medicine, intensive and coronary care, an expanded ER and surgical suite, radiology, and a lab. Source: Grosse Pointe News, (May 2019).
Today Cottage Hospital is owned by Henry Ford Health, a not-for-profit organization. While the painted white exterior walls may have gone, the facility still plays a major part in caring for the community - a multi-service outpatient center with a 24/7 emergency department as well as a same-day care services for minor medical concerns. Image courtesy of the Grosse Pointe News.
In 2019, Cottage Hospital celebrated its 100th anniversary. The small hospital that started life in a small cottage on Oak Street (now Muir Road) continues to hold a pivotal role in the community and always will. Please click here to view a photo gallery, created by the Grosse pointe News.
*Photos courtesy of the Higbie Maxon Agney archives unless stated.
** Research, information, and data sources are deemed reliable, but accuracy cannot be fully guaranteed.
Written by Katie Doelle
Copyright © 2023 Higbie Maxon Agney & Katie Doelle
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