Today we're going to go waaaay back in time. Back to the Before Time; back to the days before digital cameras. Back to the days when, despite owning a nice camera (a Pentax K1000, all manual), I shot everything with a $39.99 plastic 35mm point and shoot camera from Target. So these aren't going to be good pictures. I still like them though. Memories!
First, what little history I could find. I couldn't find anything about when the place was originally built. It clearly had many additions to it over the years, but there is almost nothing about it before the year 1947. Before that it was called Oklahoma City General Hospital, and in 1947 it was purchased by the Sisters of Mercy, and the name changed to Mercy Hospital.
It had 85 beds when it was purchased. Here's a neat thing I read about it: "At their newly-acquired hospital, the Sisters of Mercy made a change that was unprecedented in many parts of the country. Almost two decades before the Jim Crow Laws of “separate but equal” were abolished, the Sisters of Mercy integrated the hospital for all people."
In 1974 the Sisters of Mercy moved to a new hospital in Northwest Oklahoma City, abandoning the one downtown.
I first went there in 1993. I didn't know anyone in the area to give me a tour, and I was too chicken to go in alone. So exterior shots are all I have of most of the hospital.
Here is just one interior, taken from a window. Epic ceiling tile failure!
Here it is in March of 1996. I didn't live in Oklahoma anymore, but I would come back and visit from time to time. And I always made it a point to pay a little visit to my old friend, Mercy.
Interior of what I think was a parking garage for doctors, 1998.
Spring of 2000. The crosses were all torn off the tops. I think they were in the process of gutting it to tear it down at this point.
Also from 2000. This is the alley behind the hospital, and the hospital is on the left. The small 2-story building on the right was I believe a building for doctors, with parking in the back and offices and a chapel upstairs. When they tore the hospital down some time between when I went there in 2000 and 2001, they left the parking garage and the small doctors building.
I drove down with some friends in the spring of 2001, finally determined to go inside at long last! But alas, all that was left was the 2-story building on the other side of the alley. What once was a gigantic hospital was an empty field in the middle of the city. Sad day. I snoozed and I losed! But all was not lost - we were treated to a tour of the doctors building by a homeless couple who were crashing there. This is the pretty little chapel.
I went back one last time, in 2002. The parking garage is ahead on your left, and the doctors building is on your right. The doctors building was torn down some time later. Not sure about the parking garage. I heard they were thinking about keeping it there, but seeing those empty fields where that beautiful hospital once was was just to sad to go back anymore.
Here is a gallery of some more of my photos, some good, most not so good, spanning the years from 1993 to 2002. Enjoy!
And one last thing! I'm disappointed by the lack of historical information about Oklahoma City General and Mercy Hospital on the internet. If anyone out there has any additional info, please comment! I'd love to hear more about the history of this fantastic structure!