Following 1899 fire city council
had to provide a medical building
EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is another article on Findlay-area history adapted from a series written from 1959 to 1974 by the late R.L. Heminger, publisher and editor of The Courier.
By R.L. HEMINGER
Following the fire which destroyed Findlay hospital on Oct. 23, 1899, city council lost no time in seeking to provide the city with hospital facilities anew.
In 1898, the women’s organization which had owned the hospital building, since occupancy of the former Dennis French home in 1895 on South Main Street, had deeded the property to the municipality, which assumed the outstanding debt of $5,100. The women had paid the Frenches $10,000 in 1895 for the property.
The transaction called for the women to lease the property for $1 a year and to operate the hospital. This is virtually the situation that has continued to exist down to this time (1969), except that the county has replaced the city as the owner of the grounds and structure.
So, with this situation, the city was faced with an immediate problem of providing new housing for the hospital. The $5,000 insurance on the building which had burned did not give much hope of finances from this source for a new hospital.
At the first council meeting following the fire the matter of a new hospital was discussed. There were those who advocated rebuilding on the site of the burned down structure. Others wanted to purchase some large residence and transform it into a hospital.
A committee was appointed and it later reported to council that three properties were available, if council wanted to take over some existing building. The three were:
(1) The Carlin Hotel, standing on North Main Street at the corner of Santee Avenue. This three-story building later was to become the Rummell Furniture House.
(2) The Jacob Barnd dwelling, standing at the southwest corner of South Main Street and Baldwin Avenue. (This was the residence which burned down in the 1950s. Mr. Barnd owned the lime kilns on down Baldwin Avenue.)
(3) The George L. Cusac home at 2131 S. Main St. at East Edgar Avenue. Mr. Cusac, who had been a sheriff of Hancock County, has acquired the property from R.E. Peabody, a boom days manufacturer here, who built the home.
Council discussed the matter thoroughly and advocates of each property and of rebuilding spoke at length in succeeding meetings of the city legislative body.
It was finally decided to buy the Cusac property, council taking formal action to this effect. It was only a few blocks south of the old hospital and this fact won considerable support.
But those who wanted to build a new hospital persisted in their urgency of such a step and eventually council rescinded its Cusac property action and decided to rebuild on the site of the hospital which had burned down.
The extreme east portion of the hospital was not burned completely and in the new building this was retained to become the entrance to the new structure.
The matron of the hospital at the time of the fire was Miss Duckett. She lost considerable of her belongings in the fire. Dr. J.C. Tritch, Findlay surgeon, lost some of his personal property, including instruments.
The Dennis French who had built the structure were prominent in Findlay affairs. He was engaged in the real estate business here. He built a block at 131 N. Main St. in Findlay and his adorns the top of the structure.
After the burned structure had been replaced, the women’s hospital association continued to operate the institution until late in the 1930s, when an entirely new type of organization went into effect.