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Mason County Memories

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History Columns are arranged by year of publication in the Ludington Daily News

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david k petersen

Hospital's Centennial History Column Dave Petersen This has been the year of the Hospital's Centennial since the Hospital Association was formed in the fall of 1906. Sunday November 5th 2006 from 2 to 5 PM will be the open house at Memorial Medical Center. There will be a display of medical artifacts and photographs, the time capsule from the cornerstone of the Paulina Stearns Hospital will be opened and displayed as well. Postcards have been printed of each of the hospitals major milestones to be given as souvenirs and Jim Fay will be bringing his pharmacy collection. Those are just a few of the things on the agenda for the day. A day of celebration of the history of the hospital and of looking forward to the future. It all came about from some very humble beginnings that we have outlined in other articles earlier this year. The woman whose name the hospital bore was born November 24th 1849 in Conneaut Ohio, the daughter of Robert and Clarissa Lyon. She was married March 4th 1868 to Justus S Stearns and moved with him to Ludington in 1876. Paulina's sister if you recall was married to Eber Ward who had been president of the Flint & Pere Marquette Railroad and had lumber interests and mills here in Ludington. Like Justus she came to love Ludington in the 28 years that she was here and she was actively involved in the social affairs of the city and had also been a member of the Literary club that worked for the building of the Public Library. It was the friends that she was involved with that worked toward the opening of a hospital in Ludington after she passed away in 1904. We have often heard Paulina's name used in conjunction with the hospital but I don't know if anyone ever delved into the person. Paulina had become ill in the month before her passing while away from Ludington, and they rushed home according to the Ludington papers "Instinctively her heart ached for home and Ludington held that sacred spot" They went on to say " She lived among you, she lived with you, this is the secret of her life, she loved everybody and therefore everybody loved her. She lived only to comfort and bless." Those brittle century old papers breathed life into a person who has been gone from the community these 100 plus years and gives us a little insight into her influence on her friends and the community and how that influence is still felt today. I love those old newspapers and the way they would weave their words to add beauty to their stories, the obituaries of the times said so much more, they closed their tribute to Paulina Stearns by saying " Here while gentle beams of sunshine were falling on the woodland and green turf were committed, earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust, then the sunshine quietly gave way to shadows and the day closed in gentle rain." Come on out, join the celebration of our past history and the future as Memorial Medical begins it's second hundred years. If you have any stories or photographs to share with our readers please feel free to contact me anytime at 757-3240 or davep@blackcreekpress.com

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