I drive around a lot, and see lots of buildings severely damaged by decades of abandonment and neglect, but every so often I come across a building has been abandoned for only a year or two. In general, there’ll be a few windows missing, but the building will still look occupied on cursory inspection. Sadly, the Jewish Orthodox Old Home, which sits at Grand Boulevard and Blair Avenue, has only been vacant for a year, and it’s been completely trashed.
Last functioning as Tower Village Senior Services, in reference to its close proximity to the Grand and Bissell water towers, the home has been completely covered in graffiti, windows smashed out, and otherwise vandalized.
Which is a shame, because the Modernist wing built probably sometime in the 1960’s, has a nice design, which is still somewhat evident despite the damage. It attaches to the main wing, which looks like it was built at the turn of the Twentieth Century. Other buildings on the property may be older, and there’s a large wooded area on the property to the northeast.
There is clear evidence of a fire having swept through one portion of the main wing, which has some nice terracotta detailing below. I have no idea why the last nursing home went out of business; its website is no longer active despite being active for at least a year or two after its closing; all I can find is that the building was condemned on June 5, 2012. It was cited for unsanitary conditions six months before that…
This side building, which perhaps was a maintenance building, is not doing too well, showing signs of severe deterioration.
The Jewish nursing home began sometime in the late Nineteenth Century, as can be seen in the Sanborn maps; at the time, it was one of several mansions enjoying the high elevation with its breezes and its distance from the coal dust and smog of the central city. At some point, what looks to have been originally a Romanesque Revival mansion on the site was torn down, and replaced with the central Beaux-Arts wing, whereupon, at mid-century, the Modernist wing was added. You can see the Bissell water tower, and two other mansions that were apparently later demolished, their properties combined with the nursing home’s.
Back in the fall of 2012, I took a picture of the screen-work on the Grand façade, and I’m certain the building was not in such bad shape.