The Homestead Health Care Hospital was founded by a doctor from Chicago in 1929, and it became a national symbol of the Depression.
The facility had a reputation for caring for people with serious illnesses.
But the hospital also created a tradition of medical excellence.
When its patients needed urgent care, staff members would drive from the Chicago hospital to Homestead and deliver their patients.
“We wanted them to be cared for in a very professional manner,” says Jim Hines, the former head of the hospital’s trauma department and now president of the American Hospital Association.
The hospital was founded in 1929 by a Chicago doctor, James D. Kostner.
(Courtesy of the Homestead Public Library) “You don’t see them running from the hospital.
They’re walking down the hall, taking care of a patient.”
As Hines recalls, “We had a culture in which everybody was doing their jobs.”
The Homestretch Medical Center was built in the 1930s.
It served people with chronic conditions, such as heart attacks and strokes.
It was a hospital built to serve its patients in the hospital, not on a day-to-day basis.
The Homestsretch Medical Clinic was founded on the site of the old Homestead Hospital in 1929.
(Photo: Courtesy of the National Memorial Museum) “We didn’t have a lot of beds and we didn’t offer any of the specialized services that we had,” says Dr. William M. Hensley, who served as head of Homestead’s trauma section.
He says that despite the hospital having a reputation as a place where people with a serious medical condition could be cared with dignity, the hospital was also “very much a place for medical personnel, doctors, nurses and other medical professionals.”
Hines says he remembers the hospital as a “house of cards.”
“We did not have the ability to build up a reputation,” he says.
The lack of public access to medical care contributed to the hospital being “a kind of a ghost town,” Hines said. “
The problem was that we didn and still don’t have good access to care in the general public.”
The lack of public access to medical care contributed to the hospital being “a kind of a ghost town,” Hines said.
The building was eventually torn down in 1957 and replaced with a nursing home.
But it was not long before a group of Homestosters had to move into the building, to avoid being displaced.
When the building’s owner died in 1964, Hines was forced to move to a nursing facility, where he would spend nearly half his life.
He died in 2013.
Hines worked in the Homestrest Medical Center for nearly two decades before his retirement in 2014.
“I think that when we built the hospital we were trying to get the whole world to see it,” he said.
“So that’s what we did: we had to do that.”
Today, the Homersretch Medical Building is a place of history, an icon of health care in America.
Its facade stands tall, and its walls are adorned with photographs of the homesteads’ patients, including many of the patients who died in the building.
“That was the first thing I thought about,” Hens.
“Because it was a building that I was living in.”
For Hines and his family, the building has become a home.
“You can’t see the roof.
It’s almost a curtain for the hospital,” he explains.
“There’s no windows.
It has no ventilation.
It doesn’t have air conditioning.
It only has a shower, and there’s a toilet, but it’s just very small and we just can’t get there.”
The building is now home to the National Memory Museum and the Homiestretch Historical Society, and Hens says he hopes to be able to take visitors there in the future.
“What I’d like to do is bring back to the Homestsretts people who were treated there and those who worked there,” he told me.
“And that’s my goal, my goal is to bring those back.” Read more: