Friendship General Hospital


Picture from Olean Times Herald, Olean, NY 9/15/1985-Mark Floegel Photo

(Article below was reprinted from the Olean Times Herald, Olean,NY)

Friendship Ponders Fate of Former Hospital

by Mark Floegel, Times Herald Staff Writer

    Friendship -- Friendship Central School has a dilemma.  It is the owner of an aging house in disrepair, but the house's historical value is making the school board reluctant to demolish it.

    The house is a two-story green brick structure at 15 Sunnyside, on the property of Friendship Central School.  It has been owned by the school district since the mid-1950's, when the land the house stands on was purchased by the school.

    The house's resident for the last 20 years, Susan Robinson, said that she believes the house was built in the mid-1800's.

    The early history of the house is unknown, but it is known that the building served as a 16-bed hospital in the early 1900's.  Friendship's sesquicentennial in 1965 refers to an article from the Friendship Register of April 10, 1919, which tells of the opening of the hospital.

    The account says that the hospital was "promoted" by a Charles Dodson, and that his daughter, Donna Dodson, was the head nurse.

    "The upstairs dining room used to be the operating room," Ms. Robinson said.  "There's a skylight built in up there that they used for light when they operated on people."

    Many of the town's older residents were born in the hospital, she said.

    Another reason that the building may have some historical value is that the bricks used to build the house were made in the Moss Brook area of Friendship.

    Ms. Robinson has notified the school board that she intends to move from the house this month, casting doubts on the future of the building.  The school board has discussed several options for the 100-year-old plus building, including demolition, sale, or donation to the Genesee Country Museum in Mumford, NY.

    School Superintendent John Markell said, "I'd hate to see it torn down.  There are a lot of people in the community who would want to see that structure preserved."

    Mr. Markell noted that the school district is not supposed to be renting property and that the state education authorities have commented on the presence of the house on school grounds.

    One problem with preservation though, is that the house is in need of renovations.  Ms. Robinson said that the house needs plumbing, heating and electrical work done, as well as repainting inside and out.

    The school board is planning to walk through the house to get an idea of the condition of the building before making a decision on the fate of the building.-------------note: The house was torn down.