I was Wednesday and I was off. Usually on my days off I have a lot to do and so we don’t adventure. Spencer was working and I had to get a haircut so I kind of wrote the day off. Sterling and Cryslynn were spending their last day together for a while. I got home from getting my hair cut and Sterling and Cryslynn are dressed and ready to go. I asked them what was up and they said, “Aren’t we going to that deli?” Well…….Let’s go!!
We had heard that there was an old hospital in Philadelphia that had closed and most of the things that they used in the hospital were still sitting in there, so that is where we went. The downstairs of the building had been restored to look like a drugstore but it was a diner so if nothing else, we were going to have a milkshake together. Either way it was a win for us.
We got to the diner and went in and let me tell you it was like stepping back in time. There were cases of things that you would have found in an old drug store lining both walls and there was a soda fountain as well. I thought that if this was how things were beginning then maybe the stories were true and we might get lucky after all. Our waitress came over and after we ordered the milkshakes I explained what we were after and she told me to let some of the lunch crowd clear out and we could definitely go up and look around. So, we sat enjoying real homemade milkshakes and taking in the drugstore around us.
As we were sitting there I happened to read the back of the menu. It told the story of the man who now owned the building, George Yates and his family. What I didn’t know is that the man that I saw cooking in the kitchen was George Yates and he was going to give us a guided tour of the building. Mr. Yates came over and sat down and started telling us about how the building was once much smaller and one story. His family added on to the back of the building and then added to the top of the building when the hospital was built. There are photos everywhere showing Mr. Yates’ family and showing a past that felt close enough to touch.
After telling us stories at the table he led us to the back of the store where we went through a door. On the other side of the door we found an elevator, one of 3 in the town. It was a counterbalanced elevator that was used for people as well as cargo. It was actually a really interesting feature of the building. On the second floor we came to the part of the hospital reserved for the black customers of the time. It was smaller than the main body of the hospital, but there were a couple things that were actually nicer I thought…it was on the second floor so there were fewer stairs and the old fashioned air conditioning came in through a window on that floor. I would think that that fact would make that floor cooler than the main body of the hospital on the floor above.
Once we reached the third floor you could definitely tell that this was the main hospital area. The thing that was amazing to me was that there were things that the doctors used back in the 1920’s that were still in the building and still worked. Things like the instrument sterilizer, the X-ray machine and an actual bone saw. The paint on the walls was peeling and there was stuff everywhere but you could tell by the stories and the fact that everything was so well preserved that Mr. Yates was restoring this place as a labor of love. He was full of knowledge and anecdotes and stories. The tour was so much richer for having someone that was actually born in that hospital give it.
Operating Room Light
Old Medicine Bottles with Medicine still in them.
Assorted things on a desk
The Hallway in the main part of the hospital
This adventure was amazing. We learned things that had nothing to do with history, (well water is usually anywhere from 46 degrees to 52 degrees) as well as really neat historical information. I know that the patients paid different times with cows and chickens or whatever they had and I also know that one family made sure that the citizens of Philadelphia and the surrounding area were taken care of. I learned that there are places where time stands still after all. Those are the places that I like to visit. See you next time!!