Family Hopes for Preservation of Davis Clinic
In Grant County, a family of doctors in the early 1950s brought innovative medicine and architectural design to Marion. The Davis Clinic, designed by high profile architect Harry Weese, opened in 1952 and recruited some of the country’s best doctors providing specialized care the city didn’t previously have. The now-vacant clinic has been listed on Indiana Landmarks’ 10 Most Endangered list.
The clinic was founded by Dr. Merrill Davis and his sons Joseph and Richard, the latter of whom worked with famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright to design a modern family home in the hills of Marion.
“Uncle Dick built this Frank Lloyd Wright house out in Shady Hills,” said Dr. Chad Davis, son of Joseph Davis. “As they were preparing to do that, my grandfather and uncle and my dad asked him if he would be interested in designing a medical building. Well, he said he had not done that before.”
Wright declined the Davis’ offer, but it would ultimately be awarded to Weese, who designed the Time-Life building in Chicago, the First Baptist Church in Columbus, and the U.S. Embassy building in Ghana.
When the clinic was completed, it featured some of the latest medical technology, including diagnostic X-rays and lab equipment.
Indiana Landmarks says the Davis Clinic closed in 1988 and the building is now owned by ResCare, which operates senior care facilities throughout the country. However, the building has sat vacant and neglected for several years.
ResCare has proposed demolishing the building, but Indiana Landmarks says the Mid-Century Modern design makes it a “ripe for reuse and too important to lose.”
“Why is it important? I think the legacy of the clinic and what that meant for the town is worth preserving. When you tear the building down, then a lot of the memory goes away,” said Ned Davis, son of Richard Davis.
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