22 Dec 2012

Doctor, Doctor!


gary hospital

Way back in the unilluminated age of segregation in the United States to our great shame we did not afford all people the same rights to basic services such as health care; this was based solely on the color of one’s skin.  Certain regions of Indiana (as in most of it) failed to provide hospitals for people of African decent and turned them away from the doors of public, “whites only” hospitals.  Gary Indiana was no exception to this despite the fairly large black population and so Dr. Frederick McMitchell took it upon himself to open the McMitchell Hospital to serve this under served portion of the populace in 1929.  The following year the two neighboring hospitals relented in their segregation policy, but McMitchell stayed open for another 30 years during which time it became St. John’s Hospital.

Sadly this historic and lovely building is quite possibly beyond rescuing at this point; there is so much damage that the interior is quite unsafe and we did not stay long.   I wasn’t even going to try walking down this hallway, the section of floor I was standing on was already a good 2 inches lower than the entry way, and this hall another 3 inches lower than that.

gary hospital hall


You can just barely glimpse the second floor through the gap in the wall here, it appears there used to be a door somewhere in this mess but only half of it is above floor level now.

gary hospital second floor

If I could save any one building in Gary Indiana, it would be this one.

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