St. Francis Hospital served as the beating heart of Beech Grove for almost a century.
It was a spot for moments of joy and grief. It provided a livelihood for thousands and a sense of community—and, of course, health—for many thousands more.
So there was a mix of sadness, grief and anger in this city of 15,000 when Franciscan Alliance in mid-March moved the last inpatient and emergency operations to the new Franciscan St. Francis hospital at Stop 11 Road and Emerson Avenue.
The departure of Beech Grove’s largest employer was no surprise; it has been in the works for more than 20 years.
But that didn’t make it any easier for Mayor Dennis Buckley and many others, including longtime employees, to see the hospital stripped of its signage. Even more disturbing: The life-size statue of St. Francis that greeted generations in the hospital lobby is headed to the hospital system’s new short-stay medical center in Carmel.