There’s not much left of the original facade of the old Deaconess Hospital on Oakland Avenue, slated for demolition if the sale of the property to the zoo proceeds.
There is still this nice nurses’ wing, I believe, that could be reused by the zoo. It looks like it’s in good shape, and has architectural merit.
My favorite part of the hospital is the row of three nurse statues that line the corridor that links the hospital with the west wing above. They have been moved to the Building Arts Foundation.
The rest of the hospital site is definitely looking worse for wear. The glass box office building, to be saved for the zoo’s expansion, is still in good condition.
It’s a shame the building is being torn down, but I must say that I believe the zoo would be a good steward of the property. Forest Park lost many, many acres of land to Highway 40, and I see no reason why the park can’t spread south a little, into space that has been institutional for close to a century. Less surface parking would be nice, if the zoo could alter its plans for the site.
And the saving of the two iconic towers would be a welcome sign from the zoo as well.