Temporary typhoid hospital helped scuttle 1910 epidemic
This building on Lucien L St. at Overdale Ave. was used as an emergency hospital for typhoid patients from late 1909 to early 1910. Someone had removed one of the plywood sheets used to board up the old structure and never put them back. I could not resist taking a peek. The inside was quite a mess.
I decided to do a little research on the building, on Lucien L’Allier St. at the corner of Overdale Ave. What I found was interesting and unknown to most: During a 90 day period in 1910, the locale served as a provisional facility for those unfortunate citizens suffering from typhoid fever.
The Bell Telephone Company constructed the edifice on what was then known as Aqueduct St. in 1891 92. During the early 20th century, it was occupied by the Northern Electric Company, which had become Bell’s manufacturing arm. In 1906, the corporation moved its operations to Notre Dame St., leaving its location on Aqueduct St. essentially deserted.
A few years later, Montreal was grappling with an especially severe outbreak asics running shoes of typhoid. While periodic outbreaks of the scourge were nothing new to Montreal, the severity of the situation at the end of 1909 was. Estimates placed the number of typhoid cases in December of that year at 3,000.
At the beginning of December, the city’s five public hospitals were no longer in a position asics running shoes to accept any more typhoid patients, their wards being already full. By late December, the epidemic was spreading into the northern suburbs of the city.
It was around Christmas that the question of an emergency facility to handle the overflow from the established hospitals first came up. A nearly unanimous demand for one originated from those closest to the problem Montreal’s physicians.
Accordingly, on New Year’s Eve 1909, 15 individuals met at the Mansfield St. home of Dr. Thomas A. Starkey to discuss setting up a crisis infirmary. Starkey was a well known critic of the municipality’s water supply, through which typhoid was being spread.
After that meeting, Northern Electric learned of the need and approached Starkey and offered the abandoned building on Aqueduct St. rent free for three months.
Starkey, a professor of hygiene at McGill University, accepted. With the help of Lady Julia Drummond of the Montreal chapter of the Victorian Order of Nurses, work rapidly began on making the structure suitable for a desperately needed health facility.
Volunteers came forward to prepare the building for its first patients.
Donations came forth from members of the business community. Some offered money, while others furnished supplies including beds, mattresses, pillows, towels, ice bags, hot water bottles and bottled water. Northern Electric also provided the edifice with 150 lamps and wired the structure before handing it over to the officers of the temporary hospital.
On Jan. 4, 1910, the Montreal Typhoid Emergency Hospital opened its doors and received its first patient. Alice Sole, 25, of Des rables St. was brought to the facility, accompanied by her husband. Practically delirious from the dreaded disease, she was unable to speak.
By the middle of January 1910, the epidemic was already beginning to s asics running shoes how signs of abatement. By offering a contained space for patients, the Aqueduct St. sick bay seemed to be chasing away what had become a regular autumnal visitor to Montreal.
By the time the lease expired on April 1, the worst phases of the epidemic were over, and the facility was vacated on that date, its last patient being discharged on March 26. The sick bay’s one and only birth had taken place a few days earlier, when Antonea Van Minden, whose mother was stricken with typhoid, came into this world. Happily, both survived.
The building, which was used by various enterprises, throughout the rest of the 20th century, was boarded up again a few days ago. It’s a credit to the devoted people who asics running shoes toiled there well over a century ago that only six typhoid patients actually died within its walls.