Our Building

The building that houses the Fayette County Historical Center was originally built in 1903 by Dr. Frank Beach Whitmore. He used his own resources to build the Maple View Sanitarium, the first county hospital. The building accomdated 12 to 15 patients, operating room, and office. It also provided space for a general store on the north half of the first floor. Dr. F.B. Whitmore's vision was, the care for the medical needs of people could be administered more professionally in a specific location.

The building was attractive and had the latest medical equipment for the time. However, the area doctors were not ready for that step into the future and did not support the concept of a hospital. If an operation were required, it was performed in the doctor's office. Mothers preferred to have their babies at home and the home was considered the place to be for the last days of a person's life. The idea of receiving medical care at the hospital was new to the public and not well received.

Dr. Whitmore decided to become a missionary in China, and the hospital closed in 1905. From that time until 1914 the building was used for retail businesses, professional offices, and apartments. Attitudes towards hospitals evolved and community leaders began to realize that hospitals were the door to better medical care. In 1914 the Nurses Benevolent Association bought the building under the auspices of the Seventh Day Adventist Church. The building again became the home for the hospital, with the public showing a personal interest. By 1920 the city fathers, realizing the importance of the hospital bought the building and retained it as a Community Hospital under the supervision of the city government with contributions from the county citizens and organizations.

In 1951 the Community Hospital was moved to a new building at a new location. The Good Samaritan Society purhcased the building and managed a nursing home here until 1973 when it was no longer financially feasible to comply with the new state laws.

In 1973 the Fayette County Bicentennial Committee organized a county-wide historical society, desiring to establish a county museum. In cooperation with the Fayette County Helpers Club, the Historical Society obtained the building in 1975 to house Fayette County documents and historical artifacts. The club actively contributed and helped to maintain the museum as well as used the facilities as a meeting place. This continues to the present day.

The Fayette County Historical Center is on the National Register of Historic Places.