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Highland Park's General Hospital

The Highland Park General Hospital (Bella Vista Glen Apartments) in 2010.
The Highland Park General Hospital (Bella Vista Glen Apartments) in 2010.
Author's Collection

The city of Highland Park today has become synonymous with crime and poverty.  This modern day perception masks the glorious past of this fine city.  At one time this small community, nearly completely surrounded by Detroit (it shares a small border with Hamtramck) was once the home of Henry Ford's "Crystal Palace," more commonly known as the Highland Park Plant, home of the Model T, as well as the headquarters for Chrysler Corporation.  With these two giants of the auto industry located within its borders this city was at one time a well kept, industrious place to live, and the money these two corporations generated for the city coffers gave it the power to provide many services, including a state of the art library.  Another institution that came into being during these halcyon years was the Highland Park General Hospital.

The Highland Park General Hospital is a actually a four building complex.  The main building face Glendale Avenue, about a block or so from the modern day exit from the Lodge Freeway.  It was created by the city in 1916, when the city decided to incorporate.  The main hospital wing, Designed by Meyer G. Sturm, construction of the main building was started in 1918, and finished in 1921, during the heyday of the Model T. Later buildings, such as a powerplant, were added in the 1920s and 1940s.  The hospital served as the major medical resource for the surrounding community, and was one of the many services offered up by this city at the time.

However, Highland Park eventually lost this affluence.  With the advent of the Ford Rouge Plant, Henry Ford's attention shifted from Highland Park to Dearborn, and the importance of his plant here was reduced dramatically.  Meanwhile, numerous other factors contributed to a growing decline, resulting in major financial strain on the city.  In 1992, Chrysler moved its headquarters from the city to Auburn Hills.  By this time the hospital was long gone.  The hospital closed its doors to the public in 1976.  However, the buildings history was already deemed important at that time: it was listed on the state register of historic places in 1979, and the national register in 1985.  Today it serves a second life, that of an apartment complex.  Now known as the Bella Vista Glen Apartments, the facility houses both seniors and the disabled, and has 138 apartments within.  This facility has found a second wind in life, hopefully the city of Highland Park will do the same.