About This Item
original unrestored early 20th century historically-important chicago building fragment in the form of a solid oversized name plaque fragment recovered from the michael reese hospital demolition site. the weathered and worn stone artifact is comprised of indiana limestone quarried from bedford, indiana. the section contains two deeply incised hand-carved letters that were apart of the centrally located panel (there were three altogether) that contained the word “resse.” together, with all panels combined, the building facade name plaque contained the words “michael reese hospital”, which rested above the hospital’s main entrance way columns. the fragment was possibly fabricated and/or carved by the bedford steam stone works, bedford, ind. the south side chicago michael reese hopsital was erected on the ground of the former hospital constructed in 1880. the hospital was dedicated with appropriate ceremonies on june 16th, 1907. built at a cost of nearly a million dollars, the hospital was considered the most modern and best equipped in the city during time of construction. the building itself was six stories in height, constructed of solid masonry, steel and tile, with the most approved “system of heating, lighting and ventilation.” the interior originally accommodated 240 beds, included sixty private rooms. there were three operating rooms , along with special provisions for isolating patients in the surgical, medical gynecological and maternity departments. the hospital was designed by the architectural firm of schmidt and garden and martin. although known primarily for their commercial and industrial designs, the firm also designed several residential buildings, more than 300 hospitals and a few public structures. richard ernest schmidt studied architecture at the massachusetts institute of technology and worked for a number of architects (adolph cudell and charles sumner frost) before starting his own practice in 1887. eight years later, he asked hugh gorden garden to join him as chief of design. a native of toronto, canada, garden had moved to chicago in the late-1880’s, apprenticing with several architectural firms, including flanders & zimmerman, henry ives cobb, and shepley, rutan & coolidge. he then became a freelance renderer, which brought him jobs with howard van doren shaw, louis sullivan, and frank lloyd wright. in 1906, the schmidt-garden partnership was formalized under the name of richard e. schmidt, garden & martin. the third partner was edgar d. martin, who later joined the firm of pond & pond. schmidt brought business acumen and social connections to the partnership, while garden brought the imagination, inventiveness, and sensitivity of a creative designer and versatile draftsman. martin was an extremely skilled structural engineer who was able to solve technical problems associated with large industrial buildings and modern materials, such as the montgomery ward & co. catalog house, one of the first buildings to be constructed of reinforced concrete. garden helped evolve the firm’s progressive approach to design, much in the way that his contemporaries, sullivan and wright, had done. approximately 26 inches x 7 inches x 21 inches.