Historically speaking

Bell Hospital developed

EDITOR’S NOTE: This is part one of a two-part series on Bell Hospital.

ISHPEMING — “(The) Iron Ore is very pleased to make the announcement today that the Cleveland-Cliffs Iron company is to erect a fine new hospital in Ishpeming, and we know that the people of the city will appreciate this move on the part of one of the most progressive mining concerns in this great company.

“The hospital will be second to none in this territory, the officials having come to the conclusion that they would have only the best. It will occupy a prominent place in the Cleveland field, which is to be parked and otherwise improved. It will cost the company a large sum of money to equip the building, as well as to pay its share of the deficit which is bound to occur, but a new hospital is badly needed, the old structure on Pine street having outlived its usefulness some time since.” (Op Ed, Iron Ore, June 30, 1917)

“The cost of the building will be very high as it is to be constructed at a time when material and labor are at the top. Mr. Mather did not consider these things, however, or he would have waited. He announced the decision just as soon as he possibly could.” (Iron Ore, June 30, 1917)

“The officials of the company have long planned the erection of a hospital and this site has been reserved for it. The hospital will be at the disposal of all of the mining companies here and will be considerably larger than the present hospital, on Pine street.

The plans for the new building have been prepared by Myer J. Sturm, of Chicago, an architect who makes a specialty of designing hospitals. He was assisted by the architects and officials of the company.” (Mining Journal, July 2, 1917)

“Work on excavating for the new hospital for the miners of Ishpeming was commenced last Saturday, the very day the announcement was made by (the) Iron Ore. That was getting right at it. The roof will be on before the snows of next winter, it is planned, and in the meantime the grounds will have been graded and made ready for the beautification that is to be carried out. This new hospital is going to be a beauty and will make up for the years in which we did not have it.” (Op Ed, Iron Ore, July 7, 1917)

“Trebilcock Bros. are hard at it digging out the back muck that is necessary to make a place for the basement of the new mine hospital. The ‘muck’ or peat, is 14 feet thick at the southern end of the excavation and more than 10 feet at the opposite end. … There are many cedar and tamarack roots met with, this having originally been a swamp. It may be that some of the school children can figure out just how long it took for this fourteen feet of vegetable matter to be deposited in the old swamp. It was’t concentrated there in a day.” (Iron Ore, July 21, 1917)

It wasn’t until late August that the contracts were let. O.W. Rosenthal company of Chicago would erect the building, electric wiring would be done by the Herman Andrae company of Milwaukee and the heating contract was awarded to the Lake Superior Steam Heating company.

“The assembling of the sand and gravel for concrete, plastering, etc. is now under way for the new hospital building. The excavating was finished ten days ago. Filling in of the grounds about the hospital building site is under way, waste being taken from the old dump pile on the south side of Division street at the old Moro mine, where there is an abundance of it. “(Iron Ore, September 1, 1917)

By early September construction was ready to start. However, there were a few problems.

“The pumping of the water from the excavation will not be a small task, at least until the sewer is extended from fourth street to the building lot. Water is flowing into the opening at a rapid rate and has now reached a depth of from six to eight feet. Trebilcock Brothers, who did the excavating, found it necessary to keep a pump in operation day and night, while the work was in progress. Mr. Rosenthal has an electric pump, which will be put into operation today or tomorrow, as the forms cannot be completed until the water is removed.

The contractor intends to employ a large crew of men in the hope of getting the work as nearly completed as possible before winter sets in.” (Iron Ore, September 11, 1917)

Throughout the fall, the work progressed.

“The contractor in charge of the construction of the Cleveland Cliffs Iron company’s new hospital building is making excellent progress, in spite of the fact that the working force is not as large as desired. A majority of the men came from Chicago, as the contractor found it impossible to get workmen here. A very efficient crew is in charge of the work, and everything seems to be moving along smoothly.” (Iron Ore, October 12, 1917)

“Unfavorable weather has greatly interfered with the progress of work on the new hospital building, the contractors having been forced to stop operations for several days. It was hoped to have the building under roof before real winter weather set in, but this was made impossible be the early cold season.” (Op Ed, Iron Ore, November 3, 1917)


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