Randolph Hospital

I’m guessing that this wonderful postcard of Randolph Hospital was printed from a photograph taken about 1938 (based on the size of the maples trees planted after the building was completed in 1932).

When I put together my Architecture book in the early 1980s, I illustrated (on page 194) the original 1931 perspective drawing of this façade, and the entry (D:9, p. 234) includes an aerial photograph taken from the southeast. All illustrate the original monumental entrance steps to the second floor, which was originally the main floor for patients and visitors. The first, or ground floor, entered behind and under the steps, was the location of the kitchen, the operating rooms, and the “Negro Wards.”

From the south...

From the south...

This arrangement was entirely altered in 1951, with the demolition of the stairs and the erection of the “McCrary Memorial Wing.” From that time until 2007, this eastern façade barely changed, even down to the surviving maple trees. Alas, in 2007 not only the trees, but the original nurses’ quarters (out of sight in this photo to the left), were leveled and the entire hilltop paved for parking as part of the construction of the new outpatient treatment wing. That wing by itself is a strikingly beautiful addition to the long-neglected Fayetteville streetscape, re-establishing the hospital’s presence there after years of reorientation toward the Ward Street Emergency Room entrance. The upper Art Deco limestone trim of the 1932 wing received some overdue masonry repointing, but the least successful part of the new construction is the transition between the two buildings- a nest of underground loading docks and MRI bays that detracts from both the old and the new wings.

The 1931 design is, in my opinion, Flannagan’s local masterpiece. He went on to design the McCrary Recreation Building (1948 ) and Asheboro High School (1949) as well as the hospital additions, but none has the pure Art Deco flavor of the original hospital. The beautiful carved limestone cap over the original entrance was reused to crown the façade of the McCrary wing, but the sculptural plaque terminating the sidewalk front of the steps was not evidently re-used. Its present location is unknown, but it was one of the earliest examples of street art in Asheboro.

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