Renovation work at Franciscan Health’s former Michigan City hospital provided look at the facility’s history as well as a chance to examine artifacts from a century ago.
Crews from Tonn and Blank Construction removed a time capsule placed into the stones of the former St. Anthony Hospital more than a century ago. Franciscan staff revealed the contents of the time capsule to Michigan City staff Dec. 1.
Sister Petra Nielsen, vice president of mission integration, carefully opened the containers in a conference room at the current hospital site facing I-94. Tonn and Blank Construction has been working on the $20 million renovation of Franciscan’s former Michigan City hospital site since November.
The time capsule held a glass container, which had been placed in the original hospital building when the cornerstone was laid in 1903. When that building came down, the cornerstone was relocated to the sign at the main entrance on Wabash Street.
Franciscan representatives said the glass container was broken but the time capsule included a button recognizing the hospital’s 75th anniversary, indicating it likely was opened at one point. Along with a glass-encased cross, the container held several religious medals, a piece of blessed palm and two scapulars were inside.
A metal container was found better preserved in the chapel of the 1926 building, Franciscan said. It was labeled 1903 to 1924 and contained a multitude of mementos, including an Apostolic Blessing from Pope Pius XI; two rosaries, one of which had been worn by sisters at the hospital; several blessed medals, and tiny religious statues.
There also was a copy of the Nov. 5, 1924 edition of the Michigan City Evening Dispatch among the items announcing President Calvin Coolidge’s election victory.