Morenci's two older hospitals 2009.09.16

Written by David Green.

Morenci’s “new hospital” on Sims Highway is likely to be demolished soon, but the community’s two older hospitals will remain standing.blanchardhospital.jpg

According to Morenci’s history book, “Our Journey in Time,” the Blanchard Hospital was established Jan. 15, 1935, after Dr. James A. Blanchard purchased the former home of Dr. H.L. Older on N. Summit Street, across from the United Methodist Church.

Dr. Blanchard began his practice in Morenci in 1930 and he set a goal of establishing a hospital in order to serve patients from the area without having to transfer them to Adrian or other locations.

He equipped the Older house for use as a private hospital with 16 beds, six bassinets, an operating room, a sterilizing room and a nursery. There was also a laundry facility and kitchen in the basement.

Dr. Blanchard opened the facility to any licensed physician or surgeon who cared to use it.

In 1960, an inspection by the state fire marshal led to an order for improvements to meet state standards. Due to the cost of the changes, the hospital was closed in 1961.

In its 26 years of operation, 1,734 births were recorded and 13,000 patients were admitted.

Morenci’s other older hospital—believed to be the first private hospital in Lenawee County—is located next to the Observer office on North Street.

Dr. Hal Blair had the building constructed in 1908 and it was used as a hospital through the late 1920s.

The waiting room and doctor’s office was on the first floor and the operating room was on the second floor, along with five beds.

For $15 a week (payable in advance), a patient was given room, board, dressings and the services of a nurse. The operating room charge was $5 and anesthetic cost $10.

Orla Bachman was the only nurse who worked at all three of Morenci’s hospitals. She told the story of the first X-ray machine at Dr. Blair’s office, which appears in “Our Journey in Time.”

“The patient was given an anesthetic and put on the examining table which was partly constructed of iron. After the machine was turned on the doctor became entangled with the cord and the patient was shocked into unconsciousness. Miss Bachman was holding the patient and she also received such a shock that the ends of her toes were burned.”

  • Cecil
    THE MAYOR—Cecil Schoonover poses with a collection of garden gnomes that mysteriously arrive and disappear from his property. Along with the gnomes, someone created the sign stating that he is the Mayor of Gnomesville. He hasn’t yet tracked down the people involved in the prank, but he’s having a good time with the mystery.
  • Front.rest
    TAKE A BREAK—Last Wednesday’s session of Stair District Library’s Summer Reading Program ended with a quiet period in a class presented by yoga instructor Melany Gladieux of Toledo. Children learned a variety of yoga poses in the main room at the library, then finished off the session relaxing. Additional photos are on page 7. Area children are invited to visit the library today when the Michigan Science Center presents a flight program at 11 a.m. and roller coasters at 1 p.m.
  • Front.batter
    THE DERBY—Tyler “Smallpox” Flakne of Minnesota’s Home Run League All-Stars goes for the fence Friday night during the National Wiffle League Association’s home run derby in Morenci. This year the wiffleball national tournament moved from Dublin, Ohio, to Morenci’s Wakefield Park. During the derby, competitors had two minutes to hit as many home runs as possible. The winner this year finished with 21. See page 6 and 7 for additional photos.
  • Front.green Screen
    OUT OF THIS WORLD—Elizabeth McFadden and Elise Christle pose in front of the green screen as VolunTeen Noah Gilson makes them appear as though they are standing on the Moon. More photos from the Stair District Library’s NASA @ My Library program are on page 12.
  • Front.snake
    Lannis Smith of the Leslie Science and Nature Center in Ann Arbor shows off a python last week at Stair District Library's Summer Reading Program.
  • Front.fireworks
    FIREWORKS erupt Saturday night over Morenci’s Wakefield Park during the waning hours of the Town and Country Festival. Additional festival photos are inside.
  • Pipeline Spread
    LINED UP—Lengths of pipe were put in place last week along the route of the Rover natural gas pipeline that will stretch from Defiance, Ohio, to Ontario, Canada. Topsoil was removed before the pipes were laid out. The 42-inch diameter pipeline is scheduled for completion in November.
  • Front.rock Study
    ROCKHOUNDS—From the left, Joseph McCullough, Sean Pagett and Jonathan McCullough peer through hand lenses to study rocks. The project is part of Morenci Elementary School’s summer camp that continues into August.

Weekly newspaper serving SE Michigan and NW Ohio - State Line Observer ©2006-2017