July 18th, 2007

Before the gnomon

Posted in LIC Gnomon by Heidi

The Citibank tower (finished in January 1989) replaced a parking lot, and the parking lot replaced St. John’s Hospital:

St. John’s Hospital

From the Long Island Star-Journal, January 1900, via the Greater Astoria Historical Society’s website:

St. John’s Hospital at Jackson Avenue and 12th Street in Hunters Point was formally opened on January 7, 1900. Bishop Charles E. McDonald delivered the blessing. In the Long Island Star’s words “The formal opening was…one of the most intensely impressive events in the history, not alone of the community in which the noble edifice has been raised, but also of the entire Borough of Queens and the whole of Long Island. The hospital is the culmination of years of arduous labor and earnest, persistent, devotion on the part of the Sisters of St. Joseph, led by the sister superior in charge, Sister Mary David.”

Long before the hour for opening the doors of the new building, immense throngs, blocking thoroughfares for some distance, gathered in front of the building. A parade featuring about 1,000 marchers proceeded up Jackson Avenue to the hospital. At precisely 3:30 PM, the doors of St. John’s were thrown open, and the parade, preceded by police officers, marched into the building. Those in the waiting crowd followed until “every passageway was filled and vantage ground secured from which to view the ceremonies, which consisted of Bishop MacDonald and a small procession walking through every portion of the building , while “blessing and consecrating it forever to the work of the Lord.”

The hospital’s interior consisted mainly of five floors of wards, but there were 22 private rooms. While patients could be admitted immediately, the facility would not be fully operational until February.

The Star’s final comment on the hospital was noting that provision had been made for emergency cases of insanity. Two rooms in the basement had been set aside for lunatics (mainly female) awaiting examining. The only other facility available for this was the county jail.

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