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    Archives Find of the Month: Children’s Orthopedic Hospital

    2654Proving that NIMBYism is not a recent phenomenon, a petition was signed by over 30 Queen Anne residents in 1908 protesting a proposal to build a Children’s Orthopedic Hospital in their neighborhood. Their reasons included:

    • The proposed lot was “entirely too small”;
    • All but one of the other lots on that block contained “a valuable residence” with families who had spent “many thousands of dollars in making permanent improvements”;
    • The lots were “in the heart of a choice residence part of the City” and property values would “greatly depreciate” for many blocks around if the facility was built;
    • The hospital was to be used “for the treatment of deformed and crippled children and especially those who are deformed because of Tubercular troubles, and…the sight of said crippled and deformed children being constantly before the residents in the vicinity of said hospital will be a constant source of annoyance and in fact may cause permanent injury to women under certain conditions of health and cause their children to be hideously deformed who are born under such conditions.”

    The petition stated that of course the signers believed the purpose of the hospital was “commendable” – but “under no circumstances” should it be built in their neighborhood. The City Council’s Health and Sanitation Committee was apparently persuaded by their argument and recommended that the Board of Public Works reject the permit. However, the permits were eventually approved, and a facility known as Fresh Air House was built on the site. The hospital expanded nearby a few years later, and in 1953 moved to the present Laurelhurst site of what has become Children’s Hospital and Regional Medical Center.

     

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