Battle Creek Sanitarium
|Battle Creek Sanitarium|
|Building Style||Single Building|
|Architect(s)||Frank Andrews, Merritt J. Morehouse|
|Location||Battle Creek, MI|
It started in 1854 when the Adventist Church was established in Battle Creek. In 1860, the denominational name was changed to Seventh-day Adventist (SDA): “Seventh Day,” because their Sabbath is on Saturday, the seventh day of the week; and “Adventist,” because they were remnants of the Millerite movement that erroneously predicted the advent of the Second Coming of Christ in 1844. The denomination believes in sanctity of body and soul, and advocates temperance and preventive medicine as a way of life. To support this belief, the Adventists opened their first health retreat, the Western Health Reform Institute, in 1866.
Dr. John Harvey Kellogg (1852-1943) took charge of the Institute for the Seventh-day Adventist Church in 1876 and changed the name to the Battle Creek Sanitarium. He came up with the word “sanitarium” to reflect his idea of a sanitary retreat for health restoration and training (“a place where people learn to stay well”) rather than “sanitorium,” which meant a hospital for invalids or for treatment of tuberculosis. The San, as the place was familiarly known, prospered under Dr. Kellogg’s direction. The original building was expanded and a new structure (“Old Main”) was completed in April 1878.
Dr. Kellogg’s medical treatment embraced all branches of medicine, including surgery, but with emphasis on fresh air, sunshine, exercise, rest and diet. The SDA dietary practices eliminated meats, condiments, spices, alcohol, chocolate, coffee and tea. Nutritious substitutes were created for “harmful” foods. Dr. Kellogg invented some 80 grain and nut products. He originated peanut butter in 1893 by grinding cooked peanuts in the kitchens at the San. He manufactured the first Battle Creek health food, granola (an ancestor of Grape-Nuts) in 1878. A “Caramel Cereal” coffee substitute beverage (an ancestor of Postum) was developed as a suitable drink for use at the San in 1876.
In 1880, Dr. Kellogg hired his brother, Will Keith (W.K.) Kellogg (1860-1951), as the San’s bookkeeper and business manager. Among his various duties, W.K. Kellogg assisted his brother in food experiments.
The national and international reputation of the San continued to grow, as did that of the extroverted little (about 5 feet 4 inches tall) doctor, J. H. Kellogg, who later in life wore completely white outfits (shoes, socks, suit, shirt, tie, hat, coat, galoshes) that, later in life, accentuated his white hair, mustache and goatee. In contrast, W. K. Kellogg was taller (5 feet 7½ inches), heavier, bald, unsmiling and introverted. W.K. inconspicuously served his brother for 26 years at the San.
The famous doctor was absorbed with running “his spa.” He spent his time editing magazines, authoring and publishing books, traveling, inventing medical equipment, creating health foods, lecturing, administering his Battle Creek College, operating his numerous business enterprises and performing as a highly skilled physician and surgeon.
W. K. Kellogg is said to have developed the first edible corn flake product, working after his normal hours as business manager, in the food laboratory at the Sanitarium. Accounts vary, so both Kellogg brothers may have been involved in the discovery. Probably the most significant food products developed at the San by the Kellogg brothers were flaked cereals: Granose, the first wheat flake (1895), and Sanitas Corn Flakes, the first corn flake (1898). The discovery and development of the grain flaking process by the Kellogg brothers is an interesting story in itself. The first toasted and ready-to-eat cereals were produced in a dry and crisp, ready-to-be-eaten form, without addition of sugar or milk. It was W. K. Kellogg who saw the potential of combining the cereal with milk for a quick, nutritious breakfast alternative. He was also a pioneer in mass marketing of the product to the public.
The discovery of flaked cereals spurred more than 100 companies to locate in Battle Creek in order to copy the Kelloggs’ process. In 1891, Charles William (C.W.) Post relocated in Battle Creek suffering from nervous exhaustion. He entered the San as a patient, and while there became interested in developing his own line of products. After leaving the San, he introduced Postum Cereal Coffee (1895), Grape-Nuts? (1898) and Post Toasties (1906) from his own manufacturing plants (now the Post Division of Kraft foods) in Battle Creek.
Things were going along well at the San, with major structural expansions being made. Then, a disastrous fire destroyed the San on Feb. 18, 1902. Dr. Kellogg, with the help of W. K. Kellogg’s business and financial skills, immediately started a new structure, which was completed on the same site and dedicated May 31, 1903. The 550-foot-long six-story portion of the building that faces Washington Avenue was built for about $700,000 to $1 million, according to differing reports. Prominent architects called the building an “ideal hospital design.” The 1903 San was Italian Renaissance in style, with nearly seven acres of indoor space, and “fireproof.” For further insurance, property was donated to the city to build a brand new fire station directly across from the new facility.
Inside, beauty prevailed and elegance was apparent. Some of the most noticeable features included a spacious central Grand Lobby with an ornamented ceiling and several large, leaded-glass windows. It also had a solarium; a large chapel; parlor; J.H. Kellogg-designed posture chairs throughout; 40 to 60 staff doctors’ offices on the first floor; patients’ rooms on the second, third, fourth and fifth floors. On the top floor were modern kitchens and a grand banquet hall (Dining Room in the Trees), with hand-painted ceiling murals and beautiful views of the countryside or downtown Battle Creek from every window.
Directly through the central grand lobby, to the rear of the main building, was a glass-domed, 60-by-40-foot, semi-circular palm garden, which displayed a rockery, fountain waterfall, fish pond, exotic tropical plants, palm trees, a 20-foot fruit-bearing banana tree, citrus trees and a spectacular rubber tree that reached to the ceiling.
General prosperity prevailed throughout the United States during the 1920s. That, plus increasing popularity and financial success, caused the San’s Board of Directors to urge a San expansion program onto the nearly 80-year-old Dr. Kellogg. In 1928, a connected, yellow-brick, sculptured concrete and copper trimmed, 15-story “Towers” addition (facing Champion Street) and a four-level dining room were completed at a cost of more than $3 million (excluding furnishings).
The “Towers” addition made it the highest building in Battle Creek, containing more than 265 hotel-like guest rooms and suites, a majority of which had private bathrooms, a convenience not common in hospitals at the time.
In addition, the “Towers” had many plush interior features. The first, and most conspicuous feature, was the luxurious, spacious, two-floor-high open main lobby with its 12 massive domestic “Mankato” marble columns, with imported Italian marble bases, topped with golden Corinthian capitals that supported a deeply sculptured, intricately decorated, Florentine ceiling. Two huge, gold and mirrored chandeliers and eight rose-glass and gold auxiliary light fixtures illuminated the lobby with soft light. The lobby walls were of the finest, delicately grained, pink-gold marble with inlaid black-white marble margins, the same as that used for the columns.
This beautiful main lobby was completely surrounded by a wide, thickly carpeted mezzanine with recessed, hand-carved marble drinking fountains in the walls. At each end was a carved marble arch and clock bezel over both the right and left halls. Originally, well-appointed but separate men’s and women’s parlors were located at either end of the main lobby near the clock arches.
There were exquisite draperies on the lobby and parlor windows and fine oriental rugs on the polished, beige marble terrazzo lobby floor.
The exterior of the towers building remains practically unchanged, and the main lobby is today known as the Champion Street entrance.
The dining room was topped by a 15,000-square foot, red-tiled, outdoor “Sun Garden” promenade deck for exercise formations and social gatherings. In addition, there were indoor and outdoor swimming pools, tennis courts; a separate Union Building with a large recreation center and gymnasium used for exercises, square dancing and games, with bowling alleys and a billiard room; a Creamery Building for processing milk products; a huge laundry (the largest in Michigan at that time); a modernized power and heating plant; and its own private water wells with a pumping and water softening plant. Not far away (in what is today the Lakeview area of Battle Creek), the San operated its own farms, greenhouses, vegetable gardens, orchards and dairy barns.
The originally ascetic San had become quite plush. Operating at the height of its fame, it accommodated more than 1,250 patients with a staff of 1,800 at any one time in both buildings. More than 400,000 guests from all parts of the world visited the San. Many guests were famous. President William Howard Taft was the 100,000 guest to be registered. Although he had visited the San many times before, Henry Ford was the first guest to be registered in the Towers building. Other guests included Eleanor Roosevelt, J.C. Penney, S.S. Kresge and Amelia Earhart. The San was prosperous when the building program was completed, but economic and social changes were on America’s horizon.
 US Army Hospital
By 1933, the San went into receivership and Dr. Kellogg’s role was diminished by the San’s new board of directors. Yet, Dr. Kellogg and his San continued to be recognized around the world. In February 1942, Dr. Kellogg was honored by 3,000 local citizens as the governor declared February 26th “John Harvey Kellogg Day” in Michigan. The buildings were sold to the U.S. Army later that year and the San moved to the nearby Fieldstone Building. Dr. Kellogg died the following year on Dec.14, 1943, at the age of 91. The San operation gradually declined, returning to Seventh-day Adventist control in 1974. It became part of the Battle Creek Health System in 1993.
The Army purchased the Sanitarium in August 1942 for $2.5 million. It was at that time a 1,000-bed hospital. Capacity of the facility was enlarged to 1,500 beds and in January 1943, the first combat casualties began arriving in Battle Creek via the Grand Trunk and Michigan Central Railroads, on United States Army hospital trains.
The first commander was Colonel Norman T. Kirk, the former chief of surgical services at Walter Reed General Hospital in Washington, D.C. Kirk named the new hospital after Colonel Percy Lancelot Jones, USA, who had been an Army surgeon in the Spanish-American? War, the Mexican Campaign and World War I. Jones was a pioneer of modern battlefield ambulance evacuation and commanded the ambulance service which was detached from the Allied Expeditionary Forces to the French Army during World War I. Jones was decorated by America and France after the war for organizing what was called the finest mobile medical treatment in military history. Jones and his ambulance service were instrumental in creating the U.S. Army Ambulance Corps. He retired from the Army in 1931, was superintendent of Hamon Hospital in Erie, Pa., and died in 1941.
Kirk had served under Jones in 1913, and the two remained friends afterward. Percy Jones Hospital was officially dedicated on Feb. 22, 1943. Attending the ceremony were the Surgeon General of the Army, Major General James Magee, Michigan Governor Harry R. Kelly, and the widow and daughter of Colonel Jones. Kirk left Percy Jones in May 1943 as a brigadier general and was named Surgeon General of the Army.
The hospital grew as the flow of casualties increased. In 1944, W.K. Kellogg donated his mansion on nearby Gull Lake to the Army, which assigned it to Percy Jones as a convalescent center. The Fort Custer Reception Center was also taken over by Percy Jones for use by patients on “casual duty.”
In 1945, Percy Jones became the largest U.S. Army medical installation. Following V-J Day (victory over Japan) in 1945, the hospital population peaked with 11,427 patients assigned to its three area sites. Percy Jones specialized as an Army center for neurosurgery, amputations and handicapped rehabilitation, deep x-ray therapy and plastic artificial eyes. In one month alone, 729 operations were performed.
V-J Day did not mark the end of “war work” at Percy Jones, although the number of patients decreased. In 1948, there were about 50 patients hospitalized with war wounds, as well as about 1,000 with peacetime injuries. After a short deactivation period, the hospital reopened only a few days after hostilities broke out in Korea in the summer of 1950. In 1951, about 1,000 patients were at Percy Jones, many of them with frostbite caused by the bone-chilling Korean weather.
It’s hard to overstate the historical, social and economic significance of Percy Jones to Battle Creek, its host community. Battle Creek became the first city in America to install wheel chair ramps in its sidewalks because of the number of Percy Jones patients who wanted to go downtown. Many citizens volunteered at the hospital. Some volunteers found romance, which led to marriages and new families in the community.
In fact, as of 2003, several persons who had been born at the Percy Jones Hospital were members of the Federal Center workforce.
The Hospital complex functioned like a city within itself. It had its own water supply, electrical facility, bank, post office, radio station (“KPJ”) and Percy Jones Institute, an accredited high school with more than 20 schools for various subjects ranging from business to agriculture. A single day could bring more than 2,000 visitors.
There were stories of extraordinary care, cures and rehabilitation of soldiers who arrived with little hope at the hospital. In November 1953, Percy Jones Hospital closed for the last time. It had treated more than 78,000 patients during World War II and 16,500 during the Korean War. Each Percy Jones patient was special, and the impact of their lives on the future is beyond measure. Amid the thousands of everyday heroes were many who went on to successful careers in business and government, including U.S. Sen. Daniel K. Inouye of Hawaii, former presidential candidate and retired U.S. Sen. Robert (Bob) J. Dole of Kansas and the late U.S. Sen. Philip A. Hart of Michigan. In honor of these individuals, on May 31, 2003, the Federal Center held an official ceremony recognizing the name change to the Hart-Dole-Inouye? Federal Center as part of its Centennial celebration.
While at Percy Jones Hospital, all three men showed great personal courage and determination in recuperating from their wounds and subsequently focused their energy to distinguish themselves with outstanding public service. Sen. Daniel K. Inouye, who first served in Congress from 1959 to 1962, was elected in 1962 to the United States Senate, where he has served continuously for more than 40 years. The late Sen. Philip A. Hart rose from local and state government to his election to the U.S. Senate in 1958, where he served for 18 years. He died just a few weeks short of completing his third term in December 1976.
Years later, in the 1990s, Sen. Dole wrote the following letter, which was printed in the Battle Creek Enquirer newspaper, praising the Percy Jones Hospital staff and Battle Creek community for the medical care and support, enabling him and thousands of other patients to literally take a step forward and build new lives.
While the closing of Percy Jones created a void in Battle Creek, it would soon be filled with the national offices of the Federal Civil Defense Administration along with Staff College of the National Civil Defense Training Center. In 1949, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) exploded an atomic bomb, and the Cold War began in earnest. Concerns over atomic warfare became widespread and led to the creation of the Federal Civil Defense Administration (FCDA) in 1950. The FCDA mission was to prepare America for the possibility of an “atomic attack.” The offices relocated to Battle Creek from Washington, D.C. in 1954.
Reporting directly to the Office of the President of the United States, the FCDA had top security status. As a result, little public record of a decade of work remains. During that time period, however, it is known that all civil defense materials were created in and distributed from Battle Creek. The Public Affairs Office and the briefing division had a staff of professional scriptwriters and nationally recognized radio announcers who lent immeasurable credibility to briefings and to the production of all materials.
The agency art department consisted of nine artists, two photographers and a professional display person. All the materials produced here and distributed nationally helped to organize medical and law enforcement units across America. These organizations were trained to respond to a potential nuclear attack, and how to coordinate services for natural disasters like tornadoes and floods. The Office of Civil Defense planned and coordinated volunteer technical services, public education, health and welfare service, fallout shelters, attack warnings and communications. The work started here in the 1950s proved to be so vital to the nation that it evolved into what we know today as the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA. The agency is now part of the Department of Homeland Security.
The Civil Defense Staff College remained in the Federal Center after 1962. Between 1954 and 1968, more than 30,000 resident students attended the Staff College with many more attending extension courses given through 52 participating universities. Offering courses such as Civil Defense Management, Shelter Management, Radiological Defense and Civil Defense Adult Education, the Staff College remained until 1980 when it moved to Emmitsburg, Md.
Percy Jones and Civil Defense were each sole occupants of the Federal Center. In 1959, the General Services Administration (GSA), which had managed the buildings since 1954, began utilizing all the facility’s space by opening it to other federal organizations. To mark the new era, the name of the facility was changed to the Battle Creek Federal Center.
The Early Battle Creek Federal Center Years Early tenants included the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Processed Products Branch of the Fruit and Vegetable Division, and offices of the Social Security Administration, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Post Office, the Internal Revenue Service, and a local congressman. By 1962, 28 different organizations were housed here, ranging in size from one to hundreds of employees.
Despite the smaller tenants, departure of the primary Civil Defense function in 1962 left a gap in Battle Creek. In 1963, the gap was filled when two organizations, the Sixth Corps of the U.S. Fifth Army and the Defense Logistics Services Center (DLSC), were transferred to the Battle Creek Federal Center. In moving DLSC, Lt. Gen. Andrew McNamara? of the Defense Supply Agency anticipated the movement of personnel and computers to Battle Creek to be the answer to consolidating inventories and military stockpiles.
The primary mission of the Sixth Corps of the Fifth Army was to maintain military personnel records and to furnish supplies to reserve units and Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) units in Indiana, Michigan and Wisconsin. They also sent Inspector General teams from Battle Creek to reserve units in their territory.
DLSC traced its roots back to the World War I era. The Naval Depot Supply and Stock Catalog was established in 1914 in order to have a standardized catalog of items used by the Navy. After World War II, the Army-Navy? Munitions Board created a single Department of Defense (DoD) catalog system called the Joint Army-Navy? Catalog System. It was a problem during World War II when each service maintained a separate supply system with its own catalog of items. Many items were given a different name by each service, making efficient use of available stock impossible.
The first federal stock number was assigned by Munitions Board personnel in 1949. In 1952, the Defense Cataloging and Standardization Act became the key legislation to create a single catalog system for DoD. In 1958, the Armed Forces Supply Support Center (AFSSC) was established in Washington, D.C., to maintain the Federal Catalog System and standardize item names used by the military services. When the Defense Supply Agency (now the Defense Logistics Agency) was created in 1961, AFSSC was assigned to DSA, was renamed the Defense Logistics Services Center (DLSC) and was eventually relocated to Battle Creek in 1963.
Aside from DLSC’s original mission of developing and maintaining the Federal Catalog System, it was assigned the additional task of managing the Department of Defense surplus sales and reutilization and recycling programs.
In 1971, a congressional commission recommended that all aspects of DoD property disposal should be centralized in order to improve accountability. The Defense Property Disposal Service (DPDS) was created in September 1972, assuming the surplus sales and utilization missions from DLSC. DPDS also managed more than 300 U.S. Army, Navy and Air Force property disposal offices at installations around the world. As its mission expanded to include the Precious Metals Recovery Program, the proper disposal of hazardous property and the Resource Recovery and Recycling Program, DPDS was renamed the Defense Reutilization and Marketing Service (DRMS) in 1985.
In 1976, the Air Force Logistics Command consolidated all its cataloging and standardization functions into one office. The Cataloging and Standardization Office (CASO) was upgraded to an Air Force Logistics Center (CASC) in 1983.
In 1998, five months after DLSC was renamed Defense Logistics Information Service (DLIS), CASC was deactivated and its cataloging mission was transferred to DLIS.
The name change to DLIS reflected the command’s increased use of information technology to help customers manage their logistics needs.
Other changes at DLIS included incorporation of military cataloging operations, previously performed by each service, into the command’s operations. The consolidation was completed by early 2000.
The Hart-Dole-Inouye? Federal Center Today Now, in the 21st Century, the Federal Center houses approximately 1,600 federal employees and 200 contractors, who provide services and products ranging from sophisticated logistics information for U.S. and NATO military forces to cost-effective, environmentally compliant disposal solutions for U.S. military units worldwide.
Defense Logistics Information Service The Defense Logistics Information Service (DLIS) is the largest operational unit within today’s Hart-Dole-Inouye? Federal Center, with about 1,000 employees. DLIS employees manage logistics information for supply items used by the U.S. government, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), and other foreign governments.
DLIS administers the Federal Catalog System, a single cataloging system with a uniform identification for all military supplies, providing economical, efficient and effective supply management. It gathers, creates, processes, distributes and manages logistics information for six and a half million supply items, ranging from missiles and space vehicles to washers and screws. Another DLIS mission is the maintenance of the Military Engineering Data Asset Locator System (MEDALS). MEDALS provides the ability to search for the location of technical data management community. MEDALS contains location information for over 25 million data assets.
DLIS offers training on all its products and services, including platform (classroom) instruction. In addition, DLIS now features “Distributed Learning” such as computer, web- based and satellite broadcast training. Learning opportunities are provided around the world, as well as at the Federal Center, and are available to Defense and civil agencies, participating foreign governments and the private sector.
Internationally, DLIS supports goals for NATO and other governments. At home and abroad, DLIS products and services help American military men and women get the supplies and equipment they need. Providing help and information to customers is DLIS’ top priority. The Battle Creek Customer Contact Center answers thousands of questions annually about DLIS products and services. (Visit the DLIS Web Site: www.dlis.dla.mil or call the Customer Contact Center at 1-877-352-2255 for more information on DLIS.)
Defense Reutilization and Marketing Service DRMS employs about 350 people at its headquarters in the Federal Center and another 1,200 in 39 states and 13 foreign countries. DRMS is responsible for the disposal of excess property generated by the military services. The inventory changes daily and includes thousands of items from tools to vehicles and clothing to computers. Property is first offered for reuse within DoD, then transferred to other federal agencies or donated to state and local governments and other qualified organizations. Increasingly, the DRMS mission is being carried out, streamlined, made more efficient and timely by direct contact and sales over the Internet through a Commercial Venture partnership.
Field offices, called Defense Reutilization and Marketing Offices (DRMOs), are located on or near U.S. military installations worldwide. It is at the DRMOs that the day-to-day mission of DRMS is carried out. Each workday, DoD activities turn in thousands of excess equipment items to DRMOs. The DRMS Reutilization Program is an excellent source of supply for both DoD mission-essential and support items. DRMS also supports the State Department’s Humanitarian Assistance and Foreign Military Sales programs.
The DRMS Demilitarization Program ensures that material with inherent military characteristics is rendered useless for its intended purpose before or as a condition of sale, turning offensive battlefield equipment into harmless scrap. DRMS also manages the disposal of hazardous property for DoD worldwide, keeping the environment in mind. It offers the property for reuse; what is not reused is made available for sale through commercial disposal contracts. This maximizes the use of each item and minimizes the environmental risk and cost associated with disposal. Tightly controlled disposal actions ensure hazardous property is handled, transported and disposed of in an environmentally safe and compliant manner. The DRMS Resource, Recovery and Recycling Program conserves natural resources, reduces waste products and returns revenue to the military services. This program encourages DoD activities to identify and segregate marketable recyclable materials.
The DRMS Precious Metals Recovery Program contracts for recovery of electronic parts that contain gold, silver or platinum and platinum family metals. This significantly reduces DoD’s? need to purchase them, saving taxpayers an average of $10 million a year. (Visit the DRMS Web Site: www.drms.dla.mil or call the Battle Creek Customer Contact Center at 1-877-352-2255 for more information on DRMS.)
Federal Center is Home to Other Organizations In addition to the Defense Logistics Information Service and the Defense Reutilization and Marketing Service, the Hart-Dole-Inouye? Federal Center is home to more than 20 other organizations. Both government and non-government organizations support the federal activities and their employees, and cover a unique spectrum.
The Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) Systems Integration Office, Logistics Systems Business Support Unit (DSIO-J), was established in 1983 to develop automated information systems for the Defense Reutilization and Marketing Service (DRMS). Its Federal Center employees assisted in development of a modern computer network with an integrated database. Today, DSIO-J employees support the automated information systems for both DLIS and DRMS. DSIO headquarters, located in Columbus, Ohio, manages and maintains all the
HQ Air Force Materiel Command/Logistics Information Support Office (AFMC/LGIS) supports the U.S. Air Force fleet of aircraft by ensuring parts and information are available through data systems for all airmen who maintain, support and fly U.S. Air Force aircraft. The General Services Administration (GSA) manages and maintains the Federal Center, keeping this historic 21-building complex in good condition.
The Federal Protective Service (FPS), a part of the Department of Homeland Security, Bureau of Immigration Customs Enforcement provides law enforcement and overall security for the Federal Center, including screening of employees and visitors as well as patrolling the Center 24 hours a day.
Printing services for the Defense Department activities are supported by the employees of the Defense Automated Printing Service. The Battle Creek office supports DLIS, DRMS and DSIO-J.
Peckham, Inc., is a private contractor and performs many services for Federal Center tenants. Its employees provide photographic and audiovisual services, graphics, mail room operation, receiving, distribution of forms and publications, furniture moves, room set-ups, motor pool and supplies.
The U.S. Army Recruiting Headquarters at the Federal Center oversees and supports recruiting offices throughout southwest Michigan.
The Federal Center also houses other offices that serve DLIS, DRMS, DSIO-J and others in the building. They are: Occupational Health Nurses, Public Affairs, Federal Center Library, Security, Equal Employment Opportunity, Legal, DLA Training Center, American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) Local 1626 and Emergency Services.
The Quality of Life (QOL) Program benefits all Federal Center employees. Under the QOL program, there are five offices: the Family Advocacy Program; the Information, Ticketing and Registration (ITR) Office; the Relocation Office; the Fitness Center; and the Recreation Department.
We’re Part Of The Community Community support is important at the Federal Center. Our Red Cross blood drive averages more than 1,000 pints of blood per year. We contribute more than $120,000 a year to local and national charities through the Combined Federal Campaign. Support also includes the Salvation Army’s Adopt-a-Family?, Adopt-a-School?, World’s Longest Breakfast Table and Cereal City Corporate Cup. Employees contribute thousands of hours a year to community and charitable activities.
A Unique Historical Resource The historical significance of the Federal Center has been officially recognized. In 1976, Building 2 (the six-story section dedicated in 1903) was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. Finally, in 1989, Buildings 1 and 1A (the towers addition) joined Building 2 on the City of Battle Creek and State of Michigan Registers of Historic Places. A historic marker was installed at the corner of Champion Street and Washington Avenue in May 1990.
Symbolic of the historic renaissance of the Battle Creek Federal Center was the discovery and restoration of the Italian Fountain. When the new dining room opened in 1928, it was graced with a 17-foot-tall marble and walnut fountain. The fountain was sold at a public sale when Percy Jones was remodeled in 1950. It was lost until 1985, when members of the Historical Society of Battle Creek found it listed in an estate sale in Grand Rapids, Mich. It was purchased by the society and restored by a committee of Federal Center employees.
In April 1997, a three-year $25 million renovation of the Federal Center was completed. Major improvements to the 480,000 square-foot building included fire safety upgrades, a new heating-ventilation air conditioning system, new electrical work, removal of asbestos, enhanced telecommunications and power supplies, installation of sprinkler systems, new roofing and improvements to the building’s mechanical infrastructure. While strict security is observed at all times at the Federal Center because of its important military role, the building is not secluded from the community, nor is it reserved for federal workers alone. Weekday tours are given by appointment only — call the Public Affairs Office at (269) 961-7015. All visitors’ names are required in advance and a photo ID for each is needed the day of the tour. Seventh-day Adventists come from throughout America and other countries to see this part of their church’s heritage.
World War II veterans are frequent visitors, and have held conventions to remember Percy Jones Hospital. The large dining room is available for use by the Battle Creek community for high school proms, community concerts and nonprofit organizational banquets.
Whether a Sanitarium, an Army hospital or a federal center, these buildings have remained a landmark and source of pride to the community and the people who work within its walls. As the late “official” Federal Center historian, John Buchmeier was fond of saying, “It is not an ordinary federal government building like a post office or courthouse - - it is historically unique and a most interesting place.”
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