No One Home
Located in Kansas City, MO
Photo © 2009 Tom Kirsch, opacity.us
Wheatley-Provident Hospital History
Despite Kansas City's growing African American population at the turn of the century, there were few places where non-white residents could work or train for medical job positions, or even obtain medical assistance. Hospitals were segregated, and racist professionalism kept many non-whites out of the circulation of doctors.
Dr. John Edward Perry, an African American doctor from Texas, sought to change this inequality by moving his practice to the Midwest. Dr. Perry's small two-story sanitarium on Vine St. in Kansas City struggled to stay open, however. With merged efforts from the Phyllis Wheatley Club, and an African American elite group called the New Movement Association, the first black-owned and operated hospital in Kansas City would be formed. A former catholic school named St. Joseph's Parochial School at 1826 Forest Ave was located in the middle of the city's largest African American community, and proved to be an ideal location for the new hospital. Over the course of a few years, enough money was obtained through various fundraisers to establish the Wheatley-Provident Hospital in 1916.
The original limestone building received a new wing in 1925, designed by the firm Hoit, Price, and Barnes of Kansas City. It was around this time that the hospital began a new pediatric department, spearheaded by Dr. Katherine Richardson, who was greatly disturbed by the refusal of the treatment of African American children at white hospitals in the area. Wheatley-Provident provided care to the community until the opening of Martin Luther King, Jr. Hospital, where all Wheatley-Provient patients were transferred to on June 12, 1972.
The building was used as a haunted house attraction during the 1980s (a large sign was placed on the roof which reads "ASYLUM"), then quickly fell into ruin. Although the hospital is listed in the Kansas City Register of Historic Places, it is neglected and left to decay.