I remember back in the 90s watching a trailer for a movie called The Road To Wellville with Anthony Hopkins and Matthew Broderick or as I call him Ferris Bueller. I thought sure seems like a strange looking move and plot. Later I found out it was based on John Harvey Kellogg and his “unique” way of treating patients. I figured since I was in Battle Creek I had to stop and see the old Sanitarium. There is a historical marker in front of it that reads.
The Battle Creek Sanitarium opened in 1866 as the Western Health Reform Institute. The institute was founded on the health principles advocated by the Seventh-Day Adventist Church. In 1876, Dr. John Harvey Kellogg became the medical superintendent at the sanitarium. Kellogg’s many innovations included the use of radiation therapy for cancer patients and the invention of flaked cereal. The sanitarium burned in 1902; the following year a six-story Italian Renaissance Revival-style building, designed by Dayton, Ohio, architect Frank M. Andrews, was constructed. Kellogg’s brother W. K. Kellogg worked at the sanitarium for twenty-six years before leaving to establish the Battle Creek Toasted Corn Flakes Company. The Battle Creek Sanitarium is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
In 1928 the Battle Creek Sanitarium was enlarged with a fourteen-story “towers” addition and dining room annex designed by M. J. Morehouse of Chicago. After the stock market crashed in 1929, business declined; the facility went into receivership in 1933. The sanitarium continued to occupy the site until 1942 when the U. S. Army purchased the buildings and established the Percy Jones General Hospital, named for an army surgeon whose thirty-year career included commanding ambulance units during World War I. The hospital specialized in neurosurgery, plastic surgery and the fitting of artificial limbs. Approximately 100,000 military patients were treated at the hospital before it closed permanently in 1953. In 1954 the building became the Battle Creek Federal Center.
In 2003, the building was re-dedicated as the Hart-Dole-Inouye Federal Center in honor of three U.S. Senators who had met as wounded servicemen while they were being treated at the hospital during WWII: Philip Hart of Michigan, who had been wounded during the Normandy Landings at Utah Beach on D-Day, Bob Dole of Kansas, who was wounded in combat over Italy, and Daniel Inouye of Hawaii, who had been wounded while engaged in combat in Italy.
P.S. I still have not watched The Road To Wellville since it looked strange but maybe I should. I am sure I can find it on VHS somewhere.
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