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Demolition of St. E. has locals reminiscing on its past

Two buildings which were a part of the old Saint Elizabeth hospital are being torn down. Several community members are sad to see the pieces of history go, but the hospital says it was a project that needed to be done.

Posted: Aug 20, 2019 6:43 PM
Updated: Aug 20, 2019 6:46 PM

LAFAYETTE Ind. (WLFI)-An afternoon at Budge's Drive-In is almost always busy. This Tuesday afternoon, people were stopping and staring at a piece of history coming to the ground.

"It's hard to watch it go down,” said Diane Diehard.

Diane and her husband used to own Budge's back when the north and west building was fully operational. However, Diane herself has memories that go back even further.

"In high school, I used to candy stripe at the hospital in the pediatrics area,” said Dienhart. “Then when I graduated from high school I started in nursing, the other building they are going to tear down, I did not finish. Then out of our three children, two were born here at St. E.

Diane isn't the only community member sad to the building go.

"There are memories alright,” says Melvin Linback who has lived near the hospital for 60 years. “When we were kids we used to run through there and ride the elevators."

While not all of Melvin's memories are positive ones, he says he still sad to see it go.

"I laid in there for a month and a half after I got hit by a drunk driver,” said Linback. “My father passed away in here 12 years ago this coming February. My brother, his father in law passed away two days before my father did in here as well."

The hospital says the community isn't alone in feeling the way they do.

"I know how they feel it's the first thing I will tell them,” said Terry Wilson the Hospital CEO. “Hospitals are very special places to people whose lives have been touched within them."

The hospital emphasized that the demolition of the buildings was the most economically sound thing to do.

"We felt that this was proper stewardship of the local health care dollar to bring them down," added Wilson.

It's a bittersweet project for all involved, but the hospital was sure to make renovating the chapel a priority since it's not only historic to Lafayette but also the health system itself.

"This was the very first campus that our sisters ever built,” added Wilson. This is where the whole health system started this was the site of the motherhouse."
The buildings are expected to be completely demolished in 5 months. The hospital system is also planning on adding a healing garden to their campus, but have not decided on where it will be located.

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