Hayes Green Beach Memorial Hospital celebrates 80 years, just as Charlotte’s Sesquicentennial year is being recognized in many ways. Milestones inspire us to look around and ask when some of our wonderful assets appeared on the scene and who are the people behind the names we see. For example, the four founders of our community can easily be recalled with a simple walk around the Courthouse Square museum block, reading the four street signs of Cochran, Lawrence, Bostwick, and Harris.
Each day, we walk across streets, in and out of buildings, and past various landmarks that hold the stories of vision, courage, dedication, and collaboration of a time gone by. As days grow warmer and events spring up everywhere, it is a great time to learn about our history and how it can shape our future. In this, Charlotte’s 150th year, there will surely be more opportunities than usual.
One name we see in several places around Charlotte is that of Fitch H. Beach. From the Beach Market downtown to Hayes Green Beach Memorial Hospital to the Fitch H. Beach Municipal Airport, we observe clues about a person who invested in the assets he believed were needed in his local community. Fitch H. and Fred S. Beach started a manufacturing business for culverts and highway machinery in Lyons, Michigan in 1890, which they moved to Charlotte in 1903. Beach Manufacturing held 25 patents for pieces of various machinery and was very successful. In 1940, Fitch sold his interest in Beach Manufacturing to his brother Fred.
Fitch Beach was part of the 20-member Charlotte Flying Club and donated money to establish the airport in 1943. He had earlier given money to start the Charlotte Country Club in 1926, which began with 85 members. And in the early 1950s, he donated money to establish the first modern hospital building, which had been operating since 1933 as Hayes Green Hospital in the old Hollyhurst mansion. Later, his name was added to create Hayes Green Beach Memorial Hospital.
Two of these connections will come together soon, as we recognize 80 years for Hayes Green Beach Memorial Hospital. The community is invited to join a celebration of the hospital at a hangar party, held at the Fitch H Beach Municipal Airport in Charlotte. The party takes place during the Celebrate Charlotte festival, on Saturday, June 15, from 4:00 PM to 6:00 PM. Also at the airport that evening will be a hot air balloon lift-off and a fireworks display.
The party will feature photos and stories through the eight decades of life at HGB. Community members who have photos or memorabilia related to Hayes Green Beach they would like to loan for scanning or display on that day are encouraged to contact Barbara Fulton at 517-543-1050 or to email firstname.lastname@example.org.