Ever since my first glimpse of the Taborian Hospital, I have waited for the day I would be able to go inside. Abatement complete and the general clean-up done, and the long-awaited trip inside became reality last month. I am actually standing in the lobby/entry, in front of the doors that led to the men’s ward. I share some of my thoughts and feelings as I walked through a building that I know about only through the written page, comments from the people I have met in Mound Bayou, and the many times I have walked around it on the outside, attempting a glimpse inside, where history was made. Here we are, one step closer to saving a building that has a remarkable past, and one step closer to a city on the rise of new beginnings, continuing the legacy of social and economic investment in people and building community.
After the partners’ meeting in August, we got a quick tour of the building–last opportunity before construction begins. It was hot, and basically, airless, but nonetheless, I would never have passed up the chance to go inside. Although I was dripping wet with sweat by the time we finished, it was well-worth the expenditure of energy and effort. Join me?
Step through the front entrance, and the waiting room is to the left;
Straight ahead led to the old kitchen area. It was off-limits as it is a hard-hat area due to the roof damage.
It is pretty amazing how much the workers have done in clearing it and getting ready for construction however. Just about a year ago, the room looked like this:
That section of the building will become the education division of the Taborian Urgent Care Center. It will be converted to use as classrooms, utilizing telemedicine as well as other methods of consultation and training.
Making a right turn in the lobby, you enter a hallway that takes you past two semi-private rooms, the nurse’s station, and to the former men’s ward.
The men’s ward will become office space for the administration and staff for the Taborian Urgent Care Center. Note the sunroom at the end of the ward?
I suspected this room next to the women’s ward, with a small window, would have been the nursery. One of the women with us confirmed that it was indeed the nursery.
I think this is the first time I have seen one of the early metal medical storage units in person–as opposed to in the pages of a magazine where someone has utilized it in a bathroom remodel. This bathroom was next to the nursery at the entrance to the women’s ward.
We stepped into the women’s ward, and the woman who confirmed the nursery location pointed to the window at the end of the room and said,
Right there is where I had my baby 37 years ago…I was crying, saying I wanted my mama. The nurse said, ‘your mama can’t help you now…’
I wondered how many babies had been born in that room…how many babies had slept the first night of their lives in the little nursery next door? The women’s ward will become the Physical Therapy section of the Urgent Care Center.
Like the men’s ward, the women’s ward had a small sunroom where the women could sit with their babies.
Here, I am standing in the hallway at the ambulance entrance, looking toward the rear of the building, which I think housed the treatment rooms and surgery. This area will become the treatment and exam rooms for the Urgent Care Center.
In 1942, Mound Bayou enjoyed a revival when Taborian Hospital, founded by the International Order of Twelve Knights and Daughters of Tabor, a fraternal order, was completed. The hospital provided jobs and needed affordable health care to thousands of black residents of the Mississippi Delta. Other businesses, ones established previously and others newly created, began to succeed and the town, though small, became a viable community once more. (The NorthStar’s News and Analysis, July 12, 2012)
It happened before; it will happen again.
Note: The slideshow includes photographs of the interior that are not included above.