Farmington Hills hospital property has rich history

Beaumont Hospital, Farmington Hills, formerly Botsford Hospital, is located within the Clarenceville School District. The land where the hospital stands was once part of a small settlement founded in 1837 called Clarenceville that encompassed parts of Farmington Hills, Livonia and Redford.

The settlement was named for Postmaster Thomas Clarency, a former owner of the Botsford Inn. The Botsford Inn is currently a part of the hospital’s campus.

Botsford Inn
The restored Botsford Inn. (contributed photo)

Orrin Westin built this historic structure as a home in 1836. Stephen Jennings converted it to a tavern in 1841. Milton Botsford bought what was by then called the Sixteen Mile House in 1860. A stagecoach stop popular with drovers, farmers and travelers on the Grand River plank road, it was the last stagecoach stop on the Detroit-to-Lansing route.

At its height, Clarenceville had a population of 200. When the stagecoach lines closed, the settlement blended into the surrounding towns.

In the late 1880s, Henry Ford attended dances at the inn with his future wife, Clara. He bought it in 1924 and renovated it to reflect the Victorian era. Henry used it as a private retreat and later opened it to the public. The Anhut family bought the property in 1951 and operated it as one of the state’s oldest inns until 1999. The hospital renovated the historic inn’s exterior in 2009 to its 1925 Henry Ford-era appearance.

How did Botsford General Hospital come about?

Dr. Allen Zeiger
Dr. Allen Zeiger (contributed photo)

Let’s explore the era of Allen Zieger, D.O., Botsford Hospital’s founder. During World War II, osteopathic physicians were not commissioned into the military. The war effort created a physician shortage that led to an increased demand for osteopathic physicians and hospital beds in Detroit. Back then, osteopaths were not considered for training or medical staff member privileges at allopathic, or M.D., hospitals.

In 1944, Dr. Zieger purchased a rooming house in Detroit and started his own 20-bed osteopathic hospital, Zieger Clinic Hospital. A widely recognized osteopathic training institution, the tradition continues today with the partnership between Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine and Beaumont, Farmington Hills.

Zieger Clinic Hospital, circa 1944
Zieger Clinic Hospital, circa 1944 (contributed photo)

Years later, Dr. Zieger purchased 15 acres in Farmington Hills for a new 200-bed hospital. His fellow physicians loaned $300,000 to help construct it. Botsford General Hospital opened in 1965 and Dr. Zieger served as CEO until his death in 1984.

In 2014, this independent hospital became part of Beaumont Health, Michigan’s largest health system based on inpatient admissions and net patient revenue.

Getting bigger, and so much better
In 2016, Beaumont, Farmington Hills began a multiyear $160 million expansion and renovation project. New construction will total more than 210,000-square-feet and is expected to reach completion in late 2018. Then, renovations will be made to more than 61,500-square-feet of existing space. Several underground utility improvements, a new central energy plant and a 470-space parking deck have already been completed.

Beaumont Hospital, Farmington Hills
An architectural rendering of the future Beaumont Hospital, Farmington Hills. (contributed photo)

The all-new Emergency and Trauma Center will feature 58 treatment and evaluation bays, including three trauma rooms, increasing capacity by nearly 40 percent. Surgical Services will contain nine operating rooms, 27 private patient rooms and a large family waiting area in a new pavilion. Also, there will be a new 20-bed critical care unit.

The new, five-story tower will offer private patient rooms: 80 new and 79 renovated, 45 renovated semi-private rooms and a new 29-bay observation unit.

The largest employer in Farmington Hills, the hospital staff included 2,757 employees, 645 physicians, 262 volunteers and 175 residents and fellows as of April 2017.

From its roots as rolling pastureland to being a densely populated suburban area, the area of the former Clarenceville settlement has seen big changes during the past 180 years.

– Submitted by Beaumont Farmington Hills