Editor’s Note: This is the 366th in a series of articles recalling vanished Huntington scenes.
HUNTINGTON — In 1923, Dr. Arthur S. Jones founded what was then called the Huntington Children’s Hospital in a former residence on the southwest corner of 5th Avenue and 11th Street. Unlike any other hospital in the area at that time, it exclusively specialized in caring for seriously sick children.
The stone house, with a soaring turret that made it look a bit like a medieval castle, was built by Bradley W. Foster and his wife, Mary. Foster arrived in Huntington in 1871, the year of the city’s birth, and he prospered with the city’s growth, earning a fortune in the hardware business.
Foster and his wife had no children. She died first. When he died in 1922, he left $800,000 to build and operate the Foster Memorial Home for Aged Women. Over the years, the stately home at 700 Madison Ave. sheltered thousands of older unmarried women and widows.
Jones operated his hospital on 5th Avenue for only a few years. He later renamed the facility the Huntington Orthopedic Hospital and moved it to a home at 1330 3rd Ave. that had been built by Ely Ensign, the founder of Ensign Manufacturing Co. (later ACF Industries). Later he moved it yet again, this time to a four-story house on the northwest corner of 6th Avenue and 13th Street. Today’s River Park Hospital can trace its roots to Dr. Jones’ early efforts.
After Jones moved his hospital out of the former Foster home, it housed a number of different businesses, including the Shelton Funeral Home, Self’s Health Club and the offices of Ratcliff & Wayburn, obstetric physicians.
In 1947, what’s today the Huntington Federal Savings Bank purchased the old house, demolishing it and erecting a new building.