150-year-old piece of legacy makes way for progress

WNLP photos by Bob Wellinski; historic information by Sandra Provan

Swipe by swipe, the landscape west of LaPorte Hospital is changing. A crew from Pavey Excavating is meticulously bringing down the Legacy medical building located at the corner of State and Tyler streets to make way for construction of the new LaPorte Hospital. The crew started the demolition Monday, Sept. 24, 2018.

The Legacy Building, which once held medical offices, had a long history. It was built by the LaPorte Sash and Door Co. in 1868. It burned down and August Backhaus and Louis Schumm rebuilt it in 1872. In 2000, the renovated building was donated to the LaPorte Hospital Foundation by Drs. George and M. Barbara Backer, Dr. Seth and Rose Philbrook, Jean and Dr. Edward Mladick, and Thomas and Carolyn Casper.

The building’s rehabilitation won an award from the American Medical Association and was touted as an example of how buildings could be renovated for professional offices all over the country.

At the 2000 dedication, Rose Philbrook said the poplar beams still supporting the building were hand-hewn in Door Village and donated to rebuild the burned-down building in 1872.

“We give it to you with heartfelt love and the confidence that you will carry on the legacy of the building,” Seth Philbrook said at the 2000 dedication.

11 Responses to “150-year-old piece of legacy makes way for progress”

  1. Tim

    Sep 28. 2018

    The “legacy” Seth Philbrook spoke of appears now as a pile of rubble. Some call it progress.

    Reply to this comment
  2. kljaar

    Sep 28. 2018

    Nothing carries on a legacy like hammering it into the ground.

    Reply to this comment
  3. Julie

    Sep 28. 2018

    That is a shame. A beautiful, historical renovated building torn down so that another building that probably won’t hold up for 40 years (much like the hospital) can be built. That is not progress and it’s also a huge insult to those that donated it to the Hospital Foundation and entrusted it to their care.

    Reply to this comment
  4. Anon

    Sep 28. 2018

    “Let the past die. Kill it if you have to.”

    Reply to this comment
  5. lawman

    Sep 28. 2018

    why do people in this town so fiercely want to hang on to old buildings?? I saw this with the old shaffers laundry and more recently with the old Lenicks. they are eyesores. granted this med building was not an eyesore but if no one wants to use it-who is to maintain it? it’s not like we are dealing with an Alamo or an Independence Hall. a new hospital is being built to help people now and in the future. This hospital seems to be a bone of contention but it will help thousands in years to come. it’s simply progress

    Reply to this comment
  6. Sally

    Sep 28. 2018

    So sad. Buildings like the one being demolished is what gives our town so much character and history. All those restored buildings are what keeps it from being just another small town. So thankful to those who worked hard to find grants to help restore the building fronts in town. It’s beautiful. Boston School is also an example of a beautuil old building that has held up so well over so many years. The key is they must be taken care of and that one certainly has. I would bet the new buildings won’t last that long. We are just living in a throw away society.

    Reply to this comment
  7. Tim

    Sep 28. 2018

    Laporte has lost a lot of buildings. Just look at few pictures of the downtown from the 1940’s and 50’s. When an old building falls we all lose a part of our shared history and heritage. It never returns and we as a community are less because of it.

    Reply to this comment
  8. Left LaPorte

    Sep 30. 2018

    I can see both sides of this argument, but at least the new hospital location make a lot of sense.

    I loved the atmosphere of growing up in LaPorte and remember so many historic buildings and houses. My first real job was at Holy Family, then Pine Lake hospital and finally, the current hospital. A trip to the rooftop before it opened, gave me a wider view of things. Guess what, people got over the fact that the old Allis Chalmers building was razed to make way for a modern hospital that was centrally located!

    Progress forces us to make choices as there is limited land available for small communities grow and develop. We can’t stand still and expect the future to work around the past without choices!

    Reply to this comment
    • ILUVLP

      Oct 01. 2018

      ” Left LaPorte”, I couldn’t have said it any better. Well put.
      I remember the good days of LP too. Great times in the 60’s and 70’s I had.

      Reply to this comment
  9. Col

    Oct 01. 2018

    First: for you who LOVE your rustic old Lincolnway, when your rustbelt town has a chance to rebuild its core, you take that opportunity and run with it. Look at how many towns don’t & leave behind beat up vacant “charm” that no one ever wants to upgrade or repopulate. Giving up a building like Legacy to move something in that is more viable, means you stand a greater chance of attracting other niche businesses into those old original spaces just down the street.

    Second: Dr Philbrook’s “legacy” was LOADED with black mold. The La Porte Hospital (& the Foundation) both knew it and moved everything & everyone out of the lower level because of it. They kept medical offices in there (upstairs) as long as they could but they needed to gut the place anyway.

    Reply to this comment
  10. Tim

    Oct 02. 2018

    It seems an inherent tragedy when a community advances itself in some respects while erasing itself in others.

    Reply to this comment

Leave a Reply