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Apr 04

Remembering Royal Oak General Hospital

Posted on April 4, 2021 at 4:24 PM by Judy Davids

Washington Square Building in 1928

Last Emergency  at Royal Oak General Hospital

Empty Cribs at Royal Oak General Hospital

Dr. Albert P Ohlmacher
Earlier we did a post on Royal Oak architect Frederick Madison. 

Madison more than any other architect shaped the skyline of Royal Oak in the 1920s and ’30s. The Washington Square Building, built in 1927 and located at Washington and Fourth, was Royal Oak's first "skyscraper" at six stories.

A couple of people came forward after we did the story on Madison and said they were born at Royal Oak General Hospital, which was on the fourth floor of the Washington Square Building. Before that it was known as Royal Oak Private Hospital, but more on that later.

Here’s what we could find out about Royal Oak General Hospital:

• The City of Royal Oak controlled Royal Oak General Hospital for 12 years. It took the hospital under its wing on Oct. 15, 1942.
• The first baby born was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Orville Mills of Berkley, on Dec. 30. 1942.
• The 24-bed hospital closed at noon on Dec. 27, 1954 giving way to the 200-bed William Beaumont Hospital, which open in January of 1955.
• The last baby at the hospital was born on Dec. 14 to Mr. and Mrs. Harold Rembeoski of Hazel Park.
• The last three emergency patients were treated on Dec. 22, 1954 – two for cuts on the head and one for an eye injury.
• More than 80 percent of all emergency cases were brought to the hospital by the Royal Oak Police.
• The hospital was staffed by 55 employees. Many went on to work at the William Beaumont Hospital -- in fact so many, that city commission at the time determined it would be impossible to carry on the service of the Royal Oak General Hospital and voted to close it on Oct. 25, 1954.
• Practically all the medical and surgical equipment and supplies were transferred to the William Beaumont Hospital. The management of the William Beaumont Hospital agreed to remove all of equipment from the Royal Oak General Hospital on December 23 and 24, 1954.  
• On Dec. 31, 1954 the fourth floor was cleared and returned to the owners of the Washington Square Building.

Before it was Royal Oak General Hospital it was Royal Oak Private Hospital.

• Royal Oak Private Hospital was founded by Dr. Albert P. Ohlmacher in 1930. He was 33 years old and lived on Vinsetta Blvd with his Frances, four children and a Danish servant. 
• Ohmacher was born in Ohio and attended the University of Michigan circa 1922.
• In 1942, Ohlmacher was enlisted into the US Army. Here’s what Ancestry.com says about what is known as the “old man’s registration.” 

‘The U.S. officially entered World War II on 8 December 1941 following an attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Just about a year before that, in October 1940, President Roosevelt had signed into law the first peacetime selective service draft in U.S. history, due to rising world conflicts. After the U.S. entered WWII a new selective service act required that all men between ages 18 and 65 register for the draft. Between November 1940 and October 1946, over 10 million American men were registered. The Fourth Registration, often referred to as the "old man's registration", was conducted on 27 April 1942 and registered men who born on or between 28 April 1877 and 16 February 1897 - men who were between 45 and 64 years old - and who were not already in the military. (Ohlmacher was born on Jan. 10, 1897.)

• On Oct. 5, 1942, with Ohlmacher headed off to the Army, members of the Royal Oak Women’s Club urgently requested of the city commission that the city take over the management of his private hospital. They wrote, “Owing to the fact that the War Department is taking many of our Royal Oak practicing physicians and that the Detroit hospitals are overcrowded and also handicapped by the lack of personnel, we feel that such a step is very necessary to the well-being of the residents of our city.” Mayor Fletcher Renton appointed Commissioners Clawson, Horn and Hayward to a committee to investigate taking over the hospital and to make provision for a clearance hospital in connection with the Civil Defense Program.
• On Oct. 14, 1942 the city entered into a contract with Ohlmacher to purchase the hospital and its inventory for $8,800. The hospital then closed tor alterations and reopened in December, 1942.
• Ohlmacher died on July 11, 1979 in De Soto, Florida. He was 82.

Sources: Tribune Archive, city commission minutes, US Census data and Ancestry.com.

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