Monday, February 6, 2017

Chester Hospital Cornerstone laid 125 years ago this year

Chester Hospital about 1910


July 23, 1892 – Chester Times


Laying the Cornerstone Today

Interesting Exercises with an Oration by Lawyer Dickinson Who Will be There and What it is Like

                As was stated in Wednesday’s TIMES, the cornerstone for the new Chester Hospital building will be laid this afternoon.  The ceremonies will take place at 4:30 o’clock, and will be a decidedly interesting character.  Rev. Mowey, pastor of the First Presbyterian Church, will preside.  The principal address is to be made by O. B. Dickinson, now of this city.  Hon. John B. Robinson and Mrs. Robinson are among the special guests and the city will be represented by Mayor Coates, the city officials, and branches of City Council and the School Board.  Honorable M. Baker has accepted an invitation to be present, together with John R. Fow, of Philadelphia.  Caldwalader Biddle is also expected.
                The stone, which was donated to the building committee by Henry C. Cullis & Son, of East Seventh Street, who have the contract for doing the stone work, was carved out of a pretty piece of granite.  It is 24x10 inches, and on it is engraved:  “Chester Hospital, 1892.”  The stone will be set in place by Mrs. J. Frank Black, president of the Hospital Board.
                The movement for this hospital is a beautiful picture of which is given here, was started nearly ten years ago.  The first meeting was held at the house of Mrs. Julia A. Barton, whose husband was Mayor of the city at that time.  Mrs. Barton was the first president to serve on the Board.  The other officers chosen at the time were:  Vice president, Rev. P. H. Mowry; recording secretary, Mrs. Sarah B. Flitcraft; corresponding secretary, Mrs. Joseph R. T. Coates; treasurer, Col. Samuel A. Dyer.
                With the exception of Mrs. Barton, who has been succeeded by Mrs. Black, the old officers have served consecutively since the first meeting of the Board, which was held at Mrs. Barton’s on May 31, 1893.  The charter for the hospital was received in October 1883, and since that time the ladies and gentlemen interested in the movement have spared neither time nor energy in the work, which has advanced steadily.  Fairs and bazaars have been held and all have been liberally patronized by the citizens of Chester.  As an evidence of the truth of this it is but necessary to refer to the bazaar which was held about seven years ago.  From it the managers netted some $2,000.  The late bazaar held in the Armory was more successful, in the neighborhood of $2,400 being realized as the net proceeds.
                Besides liberally patronizing the fairs and baaars the citizens of Chester and vicinity have not been sparing in their individual cash contributions.  In Chester alone nearly $10,000 were received from this source.  Upland contributed nearly $600, through its citizens, from the schools and private individuals.  Eddystone raised $750, and Media, also, has not been found wanting in this respect.
                Notwithstanding this, the Board is in need of considerable more money and those who feel disposed to help an excellent cause, in which suffering humanity is directly interested, still have an opportunity of doing so.  The committee is still receiving contributions.  The lawn party, which opens up on Perkins lawn on Tuesday evening, will give all so inclined another opportunity of doing good.
                The building is now being erected under the auspices of this committee:  Thomas J. Houston, chairman; Mrs. Sarah B. Flitcraft, Mrs. Joseph R. T. Coates, Miss Mary Shaw, Mrs. Joseph Deering, Chas. B. Houston, and Colonel Samuel A. Dyer.  The Board of managers have worked earnestly all these nine years and are to be congratulated upon the success which has finally crowned their efforts.  The institution will be a great credit to Chester, and is thoroughly in keeping with the step toward the city has recently taken.
                The public is cordially invited to attend the ceremonies this afternoon.
                The idea of the need of a hospital in this city has first suggested to Mrs. J. Barton, at the time of the Jackson powder mill explosion in 1882, when a number of bodies were taken from the ruins, and the City Hall was converted into a morgue.  Actuated by incidents of the same, Mrs. Baron worked up a hearty interest among the citizens of Chester, and called a meeting to be held at her own home.  A number of ladies and gentlemen responded, and thus the good work received its first start. 
                The first money was donated to the cause by four small girls, viz. Miss Ariana R. Mowry, Miss Bessie T. Lees, Miss Lillie Frazer and Miss Washbaugh, daughter of Col. P. M. Washbaugh.  These young ladies held a fair on Rev. Dr. Mowry’s lawn, from which they netted $5.  This amount they handed over to Mrs. Barton.  Through the efforts of Hon. John B. Robinson and Hon. Ward R. Bliss, the State in 1801 appropriated $19,000, $15,000 of which was for the building, and the remaining $4,000 was to go towards the maintenance of the hospital.  As all similar institutions receive yearly appropriations from the State, it its but reasonable to suppose that the new Chester Hospital will, in the very near future receive State aid annually.
                In a neat zinc box will be placed a copy of this issue of the TIMES, and other Chester papers, together with a number of old coins and historic papers pertaining to the city.
                The autographs of the city officials, members of both branches of Council, with those of every member of the Hospital Board, will also be laid away with the stone.

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