Today’s Tidbit | Chelsea Private Hospital

The other day, I came into contact with a cousin of my wife’s, related through their Notten family line. She had found one of my other blog postings. I look forward to sharing information her. It got me to wondering what else I could find out about the Nottens that I didn’t already know.

I ran across an interesting article about the Chelsea Private Hospital, which was located in Chelsea, MI. I had never heard of this before.

Ehlert Notten is a 1st cousin, 3 times removed of my wife. Their common ancestor is also named Ehlert Notten, and he is her 3rd great grandfather. The younger Ehlert was born in 1876 in Chelsea. He became a well established dairy farmer.

The Chelsea Private Hospital was owned by Ehlert and his wife Nellie. The Nottens opened the hospital in 1926, in a house on Main Street in Chelsea. It then relocated, ten years later, to 138 Middle Street when the federal government wanted the original location for a post office. This Middle Street house was built in 1885 by Dr. George Palmer.

The hospital served the patients of 2 local doctors. Nellie attended to the patients, and Ehlert would commute daily to the family farm. They lived on the house’s first floor and would also sell some of their dairy products out the back door.

The hospital occupied 3 bedrooms on the house’s second floor. Two of the rooms had patient beds, and the third served as the operating and delivery room. An adjoining alcove was made into a nursery. New mothers were put in one of the two patient rooms and were usually the hospital’s only patients. They stayed in bed ten days, not even getting up to go to the bathroom!

One of the doctor’s retired and, when WWII broke out, the other joined the military in 1942. As a result, the Nottens closed the hospital. After that, patients wanting to go to a home hospital were referred to one in Stockbridge.

After the hospital closed, Nellie’s health declined and she died in 1946. Ehlert remarried and sold the house. He died in 1960.

In 1991, new owners bought the house and have been restoring it to it’s original elegant look. In 1996, the George W. Palmer house was added to the National Register of Historic Places.

More about the hospital can be read here. Most of the information in this posting came from this article.