Shelby  County,  Indiana

Major  Hospital

Postcard image compliments of George Young

The  Shelby  Democrat
Thursday, September 19, 1935
Page 6   column 3-4
Ralph Adams, City Attorney
Describes Stages in Development
of Local Institution in
Address Before Kiwanians.
First Money for Establishing
Hospital was $1,100 Fund Left
From Flood Relief Campaign ---
Expresses Hope 1936 Levy Will
Be Left by Tax Adjustment
Body. ----------
          A review of the history of the  William S. and Frances Cory Major  hospital here and a discussion of laws governing cities of the fourth class, such as Shelbyville, were given by  Ralph Adams,  city attorney, in an address before the members of the Shelbyville Kiwanis club Tuesday evening.  Mr. Adams is a member of the club.
          First considered in 1913 when the city had $1,100 left over from a fund raised to care for sufferers in the big flood of that year, bids for construction of the hospital were not let until 1922, after a long campaign by physicians of the county and other persons interested in a local hospital.
          Much credit for establishment of the hospital was given to physicians of the county by Mr. Adams, who pointed out that they organized the Shelby County Hospital Society in 1918 and acquired a strip of land which they later sold to the city without profit, to form a part of the present hospital grounds.
          In 1915 the first levy for building a hospital was affixed to the tax rate by the city government.  Amounting to a very small sum in its earlier years, the levy gradually raised a fund with which to construct the fine building in 1922.  In 1920, upon the death of William S. Major, it was disclosed that he had presented the city with the building and part of the ground on which the institution now stands.  The gift, however, was subject the life interest of Mrs. Major.  In 1921 Mrs. Major turned over to the city the entire lot and building, with certain reservations providing for her care, and the hospital was erected the following year.
          From 1922 until 1931 there was an annual tax levy for operation of the hospital, but for three years that levy was dropped.  A five-cent levy has been included in the city's budget for the coming year, however, and Mr. Adams expressed the hope that that levy would not be slashed by the tax adjustment board.
          "I believe it is the hope of the entire community," he said, "that the city will be able to care for more charity cases at the hospital through a renewed hospital levy."
          The small number of police on the city's law-enforcing department was brought to attention of the members of the club by Mr. Adams, who pinted out that the force is entirely too small for a city the size of Shelbyville.  A levy for addition of one new policeman ofr the coming year has been included in the budget, however, he said.
          Work of the city fire chief,  William Briggs,  and of his department was praised highly by the speaker.  The fire insurance rate in Shelbyville is unusually low, he said, and pointed to the work of the fire department are carried on with but dition.[?]
          Operations of the city street department are carried on with but little cost involving property tax, he said, showing that the work of that department is cared for largely with gasoline tax funds.
          The American Legion was highly commended by Mr. Adams for its operation of the Porter pool as a civic enterprise.
          The various duties of the mayor, the council, the board of works, all in the civil city, and of the city board of education, governing body of the school city, were reviewed by the speaker.
          A short meeting of the club's board of directions was held following the regular meeting.
Contributed by Phyllis Miller Fleming

          Alfred Major  designed this home for his second wife, Helen Thompson Major.  Alfred died without completing the home and it was finished by  William S. Major, a son of Alfred and his first wife.  In 1922, Frances Cory Major, wife of William S., deeded the home to the city for use as a hospital.  The renovated structure was completed 24 Apr 1924.  A grand open house in June 1924 spanned several days.  The newspaper was filled with articles; Barb chose the article below as the "most informative."

The  Shelbyville  Republican
Monday June 16, 1924
Personnel of Nursing Staff Was Announced
Today By The Superintendent
Patients Will Be Accepted During Next
Week - To Add Two Nurses July 1
          The Major Memorial Hospital, which will be operated by the city, will be opened for business next Monday, according to an announcement which was made today by  Dr. L. C. Sammons, secretary of the city board of health. Emergency cases, providing there are any, will be taken care of at the hospital during the present week.
          The public opening of the hospital has been fixed for Wednesday and Thursday of this week.  On Wednesday afternoon and night doctors of the city and county and surrounding cities will be taken through the hospital.  Thursday and Friday the hospital will be open to the public.  Visitors will be made welcome and will be shown through the institution, which is one of the most modern and complete of the smaller hospitals in this section.
          The hospital will be governed by the members of the city board of health.  They are  Dr. Samuel Kennedy,  Dr. L.C. Sammons, and  John M. Hogue,  Miss Clara Widdifield,  an experienced graduate nurse, is the superintendent of the hospital.
          Today for the first time, a list of individuals and organizations, contributing to the equipment of the hospital, was announced by Dr. Sammons.  It was stated that money for the equipment of all the rooms in the hospital, with the exception of two, had been donated.
          Those who contributed for the equipment of rooms in the hospital are as follows: Eagles, Zion Evangelical Church of Union township; Modern Woodmen; colored citizens;  Mrs. Emma A. Strong, in memory of her husband, Norman H. Strong; Ladies' Aid Society of Vine Street M.P. church; American History Club; Liberty Bell Klan, No. 49; Knights of Pythias; Elks; First M.E. Sunday School; Colescott Parent-Teachers Club; Red Men;  Mrs. Emma Doble, in memory of her mother, Sarah Alexander; Odd Fellows;  Perry Amos, in memory of his daughter, Vallie Amos; Presbyterian Ladies' Aid; Sheldon Bible Class; Mr. & Mrs. Edgar Tennant, in memory of their daughter, Mrs. Pearl S. Hungerford  and  Miss Blanche Tennant;  St. Joseph Catholic Church;  Winnie B. Carson, in memory of her son, Conwell Carson, and Rotaty Club.
          The local chapter of the Tri-Kappa sorority furnished the children's ward of the hospital, and the convalescent room was equipped by the Ladies' Aid of the Blue Ridge Christian Union Church.  The Shelbyville Manufacturers' Association provided for the main surgery.  Mr. & Mrs. Edwin Porter  equipped the minor surgery, in memory of their son, Edwin Thompson Porter.  The name of  Sarah Muchmore  is on a plate over the door of the rooms.  Her son, John Muchmore, of Florida, formerly of this city, gave $2,000 to the hospital fund.
          Other gifts made for the hospital were made as follows: Mrs. William McLane, Connersville, two invalid chairs, in memory of her mother, Mrs. David Levison; Current Topics Club, invalid chair; Chambers Fireless Cooker Club, range; Coterie, oil painting; Music Study Club and Choral Society, hall clock; Daughters of American Revolution, clock; G.A.R. and W.R.C., flag and staff; J.G. DePrez Co., dishes;  Louis Todd  and  Mrs. Ora Gray, silverware, in memory of their mother; and the primary department of the Presbyterian Sunday School made a gift of money.
          There are twenty-nine rooms in the hospital, two wards, and a ward for children.  There is space in the hospital for forty-two beds.
          Miss Widdifield and three graduate nurses will be in charge of the hospital for the first few weeks after it is opened.  In addition a practical nurse has been obtained to take care of  Mrs. Fannie Major, who will occupy one of the hospital rooms.
          Two additional nurses have been retained and will begin their work here July first.  As business of the hospital grows, other nurses will be added to the staff.
          Miss Clara Widdifield, superintendent of nurses, was for a number of years associated with  Dr. G. W. Crile, a member of the staff of the Lakeside hospital, Cleveland.  Dr. Crile is known internationally as a specialist on goiter operations and general surgery.  His was the first unit to enter service overseas, and his school possesses the first flag that entered the war with the Red Cross.
          Miss Donna Funkhouser, the surgical nurse, is a graduate of the Deaconess hospital, Indianapolis and a post graduate of the Boston Floating hospital.  The latter, which is located on ships in Boston harbor, handles children's cases and is the only one of its kind in the world.
          Miss Ella Unger, anesthetist, was graduated from the Hartford hospital, Hartford, Connecticutt and from the School of Anesthesia of the same school.
          Miss Evelyn Davies is a graduate of the Miami Valley hospital, Dayton, Ohio.
          The hospital, which will be opened next week, is the result of a magnificent bequest made to the city by  William S. Major.  Mr. Major bequeathed his residence property in West Washington street, valued at $75,000, to the city of Shelbyville, for use as a city hospital.  The gift was subject to the life estate of his widow, Mrs. Fannie Major.
          On December 31, 1922, the fiftieth anniversary of the marriage of Mr. & Mrs. Major, she gave the city a quit claim deed for the property, stating that she desired to see the wish of her husband that Shelbyville have a hospital, carried out.
          The city purchased the Muchmore property, adjoining the Major property on the west, at a cost of $11,000.  Plans for the remodeling of the Major residence and the construction of an additional building were prepared by  D. A. Bohlen  and Son, Indianapolis architects, and were adopted by the city.  Work on the building has been pushed as rapidly as possible.
Contributed by Barb Huff

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