Detroit Osteopathic Hospital

Detroit Osteopathic Hospital was founded in 1919 on the corner of Highland and 3rd Streets. The hospital started out in a converted house with 38 beds donated by Mr. Phillip Gray, eventually moving into an adjacent house, before the first major expansion began in the mid 1930's.

The 2-story Phillip Gray Memorial unit of the hospital was completed in 1937, increasing the capacity of the hospital to 100 patients. Amenities included a modern x-ray facility, surgical wards, an operating room, and a modern communication system. As the building was being completed, plans were already being drawn up for new expansion that added offices and another 2-story patient wing in 1943. As the city of Highland Park grew the hospital expanded again in 1950, 1953, 1955, 1957, and 1958, adding new buildings and additional floors onto existing ones. The original homes that made up the hospital were demolished during these expansions, replaced by an 8-story tower in 1955. The Detroit Osteopathic Hospital became a network, building hospitals in nearby Trenton and Warren.

By the 1960's the city of Highland Park stopped growing, but health care needs continued to increase. A 400-car parking garage was built to the north of the hospital in 1966, and an office building for doctors in 1967. The last addition was a two-story ambulatory wing on the west side of the complex, built over 1975 to 1977. Part of the older hospital was renovated during this time as well.

Detroit Osteopathic continued to expand their offerings through the 1980's, including emergency care, dialysis, medical imaging, and mental health treatment. It was the second largest employer in Highland Park, with over 700 workers watching over 220 patient beds. The hospital partnered with local schools, including the nearby Highland Park Community College.

Though the hospital was profitable in 1990, it lost money through 1991 and again in 1992. Detroit Osteopathic had a death rate that was higher than the state average, and employees had started to look for new jobs, sensing that change was coming. By August of that year Horizon Health Systems opened negotiations with Detroit-Macomb Hospital Corporation to sell the hospital, and stopped accepting new patients. When DMHC purchased Detroit Osteopathic in December for $2.5 million, its primary interest was in the hospital's doctors and their patients. The company had opened Detroit Riverview Hospital on Jefferson Avenue just six years earlier, but the modern facility was underused and losing money. Closing Detroit Osteopathic and moving the hospitals' doctors to Riverview paid off for DMHC in the short-term, as the doctors took with them patients that bolstered the finances of the company and brought the hospital closer to capacity.

Detroit Osteopathic Hospital closed its doors on December 18th, 1992. DMHC had initially planned on demolishing part or all of the hospital, and budgeted $2 million on top of the sale price to cover the expenses. But for whatever reason demolition work never started. Instead, parts of the hospital remained open, including the doctor's office building on the north side, which became a health clinic. Most of the medical and surgical equipment was auctioned off, ending up at other local hospitals.

For most of the 1990's the main building was vacant. Then, in 2004, the hospital building got a new lease on life when part of it was renovated and reopened as the Business Entrepreneurship, Science, Technology Academy - or BEST Academy. The first three floors of the west side of the complex were cleared and renovated into classrooms, while the fourth floor was used for storage. While there were early plans to convert the remaining wings of the hospital, this never went beyond the planning stage, and the eastern wings were bricked off and left to fall into ruin as scrappers and vandals found their way in.

Scrapping wasn't limited to just the old hospital though, as on at least once occasion in 2007 the school was forced to close for two days after the telephone lines stopped working. When the school principal went down into the tunnels under the building to investigate, he was "startled by a man with pliers and a black suitcase with wheels, copper wire spilling from it," according to the Michigan Chronicle. The principal tied up the copper thief until police arrived.

Though the school opened with some promise, parent feedback of the school was mostly negative, and BEST Academy closed in the summer of 2012.