11/27/10 350 W, 2 I - + 13 - 7 Cherry Hospital Hose Reel

The mystery building in our prior posting is located at Cherry Hospital, a state mental facility in Goldsboro. Below is an antique hose reel that's displayed outside the hospital's museum building. The facility first opened in 1880, and served African-American patients for most of its life. By 1924, the hospital-- then-named the State Hospital for the Colored Insane-- had its own fire department. Nine employees operated three hose reels with 600 feet of 2 1/2-hose and 800 feet of 2-inch hose. Sanborn Maps are the source for that information.


Such institutional fire departments were common in North Carolina. They've protected such facilities as McCain Prison Hospital in Hoke County (1970s), Oteen Veteran's Hospital in Asheville (1920s-1970s), the Nazareth Orphan's Home in Rowan County (1950s), the North Carolina Zoo in Randolph County (1970s), and even St. Augustine's College in Raleigh (1900s). Plus the many fire department and fire brigades that served (or still serve) factories, mills, and military bases. 

How long did the Cherry Hospital fire department operate? Don't know. One of the main buildings has a 1950s-style fire siren on the roof, which suggests they provided fire protection through mid-century. The hospital grounds are presently protected by the Rosewood Fire Department. They were incorporated in 1959. Guess queries are worth making to both the hospital museum and RFD.


Ground was recently broken on a new Cherry Hospital, just up the road from the current complex. The other two state mental facilities in their day were Dorothea Dix Hospital in Raleigh and Broughton Hospital in Morganton. Both hospitals also had their own fire departments. The Dix fire department had hand hose reels at the turn of the prior century. The Broughton fire department also had hand equipment until the 1920s, when they received an American LaFrance motor pumper. They received newer apparatus in later decades, and served until the 1970s.

Read more history of Cherry Hospital. And see more pictures from Mike Legeros, who explored on Thanksgiving Day while traveling to and from Carteret County.

For those interested in the visual history of mental hospitals, allow me to recommend this superb book of photographs, http://www.amazon.com/Asylum-Inside-Clos..

Asylum: Inside the Closed World of State Mental Hospitals, by Christopher Payne.
Legeros - 11/27/10 - 11:45

Mike I believe the City of Goldsboro covers Cherry when I worked there in 1999-2000 we went there alot, the Oberry center down the street is in the city but they cover with Rosewood because of the distance from St. 1 to Oberry. And Goldsboro also covers the prison right down past Cherry.
car3550 - 11/28/10 - 17:24

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