Dr. Brush and the Bricks

As I was searching for something in some of our old medical journals last week, I came across an article about our building written on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of its dedication. 

I was pretty confident that I knew almost everything about the building and the decision to build it. The Faculty had acquired a building on Eutaw Street’s Hamilton Terrace in 1896 and thought that it might serve as its forever building. They renovated it to include a banquet hall in the basement, an assembly room on the ground floor, a library on the second, and an apartment for the librarian on the third.

But there were also some problems. The roof leaked, ruining portraits and books, and in eight years, the membership had almost doubled to 700. Beginning in 1903, President Eugene Cordell began suggesting that the Faculty build its own building. 

By 1904, when Dr. William Osler announced that he was moving to England, the issue of a new building still had not been settled. At the presentation of the portrait of Dr. Osler to the Faculty, President Dr. Edward N. Brush urged the membership to get serious about a new building. He told them to think about how much they could afford to help fund the new building, and then double it!

That became the theme of the building campaign, and Dr. Brush became the building committee chair. A budget of nearly $100,000 was established, and the fundraising began. The architecture firm of Ellicott & Emmart was selected, a plot of land was purchased for $24,000, a general contractor was chosen and a time frame of ten months was suggested. 

The following year, Dr. George Linthicum took over as the Chair of the Building Committee and kept it moving forward, including taking out a $15,000 loan, which was quickly paid back. However, Dr. Brush stayed active on the committee and eventually played a seminal role in the building by donating all of the bricks for the façade of the building!