Frances Willard Hospital

Frances Willard HospitalhospitalsIn January, 1917, 23-year-old clerk Tillie Vrzal died at Chicago’s Frances Willard Hospital from complications of an abortion performed by an unknown perpetrator.

In March, 1924, 30-year-old Etta Marcus died at Chicago’s Francis Willard Hospital from complications of a criminal abortion performed that day. The coroner concluded that Dr. William J. Wick had performed the fatal abortion at his office. However, Wick was acquitted in April.

Frances_Willard_Hospital.jpgThe hospital is described in some detail in the March 15, 1905 Gettysburg Compiler:

THE WILLARD HOSPITAL
WAS DEDICATED AND OPENED TO PUBLIC IN CHICAGO
A Native of Adams County is One of the Board Managers who Built the Hospital

Recently there was dedicated and formally opened to the public in Chicago the Frances E. Willard National Temperance Hospital. It is a memorial to the great leader in temperance work and is one of the most unique hospitals in the country. The only restriction being that no liquor in any form whatsoever is to be prescribed or used. Another peculiar thing in connection with the hospital is that the board of directors, the officers, the house physician and all employed on the place are women. Mrs. Talitha C. Riley, a native of Adams county, now residing in Evanston, is a member of the board of directors and secretary of the board.
The hospital was conceived while Miss Francis e. Willard was living, who said of it, “Be assured I am always glad to do anything I can for our blessed hospital enterprise, and this principle of non-alcoholic medication must be generally accepted before prohibition can be established on firm foundations:
At the dedication of this unique hospital, Mr. Wheelock, the architect, gave the following interesting description of the building:
The board has diligently studied to make this hospital building like the character of its founder, pure and simple. Its architecture in design and construction is simplicity itself. The exterior is of gray pressed brick, with blue Bedford stone trimmings; the plan is of a building covering three sides of a rectangle with the front open court, in which is to be located a fountain, just in front of the spacious porch entrance. The building covers an area of 96′-0″ frontage by 70′-0″ deep, being four stories and basement high. It is of fire-proof construction; no wood of any kind enters into the floor construction or finish thereof. All floors in each story are built up of re-inforced concrete, finished on top with monolith or tile. The monolith is particularly adapted to hospital uses, it being possible to continue this same material up on to the wall for a base; thus there are no cracks or joints in the floor or between floor and base, making a water and vermin-proof floor susceptible of taking a wax or varnish finish.
The partitions are all of tile, with a hard plaster finish having cove instead of square angles; the window, even, have plaster jambs, so as to do away with all woodwork possible. All stairs are of iron, including the outside rear porch stairway. The building is wired throughout for electric lights, the wires being concealed in iron conduits, which are embedded in the floors or partitions. An electric elevator is installed in the building. Plumbing pipes are exposed where necessary, making them more accessible for cleaning out purposes. the steam plant is so designed as to be used on the low or high pressure system as desired, though the latter is used exclusively, furnishing power for engines and pumps, and live steam for sterilization and cooking purposes. The ventilating system has also been provided for, so that ample fresh warm air is admitted and distributed throughout the building, while the foul air is withdrawn from the various rooms.
The basement and one-half of the first floor is used for administrative purposes, and the balance of the building for private rooms, wards and operating rooms. There are four small wards and thirty-five private rooms, making accommodations for about seventy-five patients. The operating rooms have been erected with the greatest care: one is in the form of an amphitheater, providing for about one hundred seats, the other is a private operating room.
The sterilizing room, located between the two operating rooms, is thoroughly equipped with the latest and most approved apparatus.
The solid porcelain fixtures in the physicians’ toilet room are so arranged that the water supply is controlled by foot pedals; a shower is also provided for this room.
The culinary department in the basement has been made very complete, the kitchen having direct access to a dumbwaiter leading to the diet kitchens on each floor, which latter are also throughly equipped for service independent of the main kitchen. The laundry and drying-rooms are equipped with the most modern appliances and operated by steam power.
Cold filtered water can be drawn on each floor for drinking purposes.
Many other details might be mentioned, but an inspection of the premises will speak for itself.
The architect, after receiving his instructions from the Building Committee, endeavored to plan a building void of all superfluities, but abundant in modern and necessary conveniences; producing what you see today, an up-to-date hospital building.