Dunbar Hospital, photo submitted 1976
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Dunbar Hospital
580 Frederick Street, Detroit - Wayne County
Other Names Detroit Medical Society Headquarters
Property Type hospital
Historic Use DOMESTIC
Style Queen Anne
Architect/Builder GUY VINTON
Narrative Description Dunbar Hospital is a rectangular, multi gabled, three-story Queen Anne building with walls of red brick and rough-cut ashlar, with bracketed, overhanging eaves. The entrance facade features an interesting mix of elements including a recessed first-floor porch with a second-story double-arch brick balcony. The house is topped by a side-gable slate roof broken by tile-faced gabled dormer with a bay window.
Statement of Significance Dunbar Hospital was the first hospital in Detroit dedicated to the treatment of African-Americans and was the residence of prominent African-American politicians Charles C. Diggs and Charles C. Diggs Jr. Constructed in 1892 by the Guy W. Vinton Company for business owner Charles W. Warren, the home was later purchased by the Allied Medical Society. Allied, the first society of medical professionals organized for the treatment of African-Americans, opened the house as Dunbar Memorial Hospital in 1919. Charles C. Diggs, the first African-American Democratic state senator (1937) purchased the home soon after Dunbar Hospital relocated in 1928. Diggs' son, Charles C. Diggs Jr. followed his father into politics and was elected to the Michigan State Senate from 1951 to 1954 and the U.S. House of Representatives in 1954. Restored in the 1970s, Dunbar Hospital currently houses the Detroit Medical Society headquarters and a medical museum.
Marker Name Dunbar Hospital
Marker Text DUNBAR HOSPITAL At the time of World War I, health care for black Detroiters was inferior to that available for whites. Black physicians could not join the staffs of Detroit's white hospitals. On May 20, 1918, thirty black doctors, members of the Allied Medical Society (now the Detroit Medical Society) incorporated Dunbar Hospital, the city's first non-profit community hospital for the black population. It also housed the first black nursing school in Detroit. Located in a reform-minded neighborhood, this area was the center of a social and cultural emergence of the black residents of the city during the 1920s. In 1928, Dunbar moved to a larger facility and was later renamed Parkside, operating under that name until 1962. In 1978 the Detroit Medical Society, an affiliate of the National Medical Association, purchased the site for their administrative headquarters and a museum.
Period of Significance 1866-1900
Significant Date(s) 1892
Registry Type(s) 06/21/1979 Marker erected
06/19/1979 National Register listed
Site ID# P25082