Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Tobacco In Abundance At Eloise; Scarce Elswhere

Detroit Free Press, August 27, 1944
The summer of 1944 brought a shortage of many things to war-time America, tobacco included. The average Detroit smoke shop was bereft of their staple fare but Eloise had no such no problem due to its self-sustaining farming of the prized crop.

According to this article the practice began in 1938 with a recurring $2 investment in seed that annually produced 12,000 pounds of tobacco. With an abundance of patients to produce and consume the product it was likely a break-even enterprise but surely much cheaper than simply purchasing it from a third-party source.

Father and son team Charlie and William Hudson oversaw the tobacco production along with the entire farming operation. The idea of producing tobacco was the brainchild of both William and Superintendent Thomas Gruber.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Victor Cleveland Has No Place Else to Go

Detroit Free Press, September 9, 1957 (enlarge)
Do you know Victor Cleveland? You do now.

In 1946 Victor Cleveland came to Eloise financially depleted, broken in body and homeless. Osteomyelitis took his vitality and Eloise helped assuage that ache. For several years he worked in the library mending books and at the time of the article in 1957 he held an "executive" position at the facility distributing newspapers to the charges.

His limited mobility, however, didn't prevent him from an active lifestyle. Besides his work at Eloise he shuffled off to church and for outside visits with one of his children and grandchildren whenever possible. A sober man he seemed relegated to an otherwise solitary loneliness among the rabble of derelicts, drunks and madmen filling the institution save for a few like-minded souls.

A familysearch.org perusal shows that he died in July of 1966 at the age of 65.

Aside from Mr. Cleveland there were some interesting glimpses into institution living. The most intriguing was the "Smoker." A room comprised of hundreds of feet of closely lined green benches. There the hoards congregated to watch television, converse, babble, zone-out and smoke themselves into a haze of tobacco vaporized pollutants. The only saving grace in the mayhem was the fact that publicly donated television sets allowed for every channel to be broadcast where heated battles over the programs were the previous norm.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Postcard From Eloise


This postcard that I found on eBay was sent from Eloise to what looks like Mrs. Wa. Hogan of 4692 Millie Road in Dearborn on December 30, 1941. The problem is that the text is written in either such poor English, was written by a Pig Latinest or is in a foreign language that is made more illegible because the cursive is hard to decipher as well. Anyway, I can't read it. It might be of the utmost importance but until somebody translates it we'll never know.


One ironic thing is that a Free Press search revealed this article concerning the husband of the postcard's recipient Walter S. Hogan. Apparently he was a member of the Dearborn Township Board of Education during the 1940s--perhaps even at the time of the postcard transfer--and lost his re-election bid due to mail fraud in which another Dearborn resident and postal carrier Howard Weaver chucked Mr. Hogan's campaign advertisement postcards because he didn't feel like carrying the extra weight. Luckily, the carrier who delivered this card to Hogan wasn't a slacker or I wouldn't be typing this missive presently.

Detroit Free Press, July 15, 1949

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Beer-Bellied Beeves

Detroit Free Press, February 3, 1934
A brewer's problem of refuse mash is a farmer's Godsend save for one extenuating circumstance: corpulent cows! Big-bellied beeves are fine for feeding humans but not-so-great for their caretakers as was evidenced by Eloise workers in 1934. The cows became so large from consumption of beer mash that they couldn't fit in their milking stalls.

Superintendent Thomas K. Gruber's answer was to enlarge the stalls. County Board Auditor Edward H. Williams, being a more diplomatic soul, deferred to the dictates of governmental reason and mandated that Eloise procure smaller cows.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Frozen Sleep at Eloise

Detroit Free Press, December 17, 1939
The general hospital at Eloise bedded about 130 cancer patients annually during the 1930s. With the catastrophic rates of survival time after diagnosis of cancer the medical community tried many therapies from vibration, ultrasound, hydrotherapy to heat and cold. Frozen Sleep was one such method which gave mixed results from patient to patient but ultimately didn't help slow the mortality rate. Nonetheless, it was employed at Eloise sometime in early 1940 joining select medical institutions across the country which also practiced it.

Since I know next-to-nothing about cancer or its treatments, let alone archaic methodologies, I'll defer to the article below for an overview. Dr. A. P. Rieman of North Hudson Hospital in Weehawken, New Jersey shared his experiences with the three patients that he was treating during or around 1939.

Detroit Free Press, October 30, 1939 (enlarge)

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

They Don't Call Her ELOISE Anymore

Detroit Free Press, June 19, 1949 (enlarge)
Resembling a scene out of a B horror movie or the cover of a vintage pulp novel this is aesthetically the best article that I've come across in the five years that I've been scouring the internet for blog material.

The written material is a bit more sobering. No lunatics howling at the moon. No POGIES plugging away at lawn work. No forlorn heiresses meting out their feckless life-ends. This is all about the medical advancements of the Wayne County General Hospital, statistics measuring the magnanimity of the facility and a futile attempt at distancing itself from the Eloise namesake. This post is further refutation of such a crude notion as forgetting Eloise.

While there are a few doctor's names bandied about the patient is king on this page. Roscoe Hensley of Plymouth had his left arm crushed in a car accident but the work of surgeons at Eloise reversed some nerve damage as well as saving the arm itself.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Mrs. Hilda Vau Consant: Eloise Angel of Mercy

Detroit Free Press, November 12, 1960
Face it, there are better people than we who give freely of their money and time to causes and the disaffected among us. Mrs. Hilda Vau Consant of 18280 San Juan street, presumably of Detroit, was one such arbiter of goodwill.

This snippet from the "Religion Today" section of the Free Press in a column called "They Give, Too" showcased her charity towards Eloise patients. For more than 35 years she delivered flowers, get well cards, Bibles and prayer books to charges at the institution as a simple act of kindness. At the time of the writing she was 75 and still going strong with her mission. Below is a newspaper photo of her from 1942: