Henry Ford Macomb's Start The turn of the century was a time when bold ideas and new creations were met with plenty of skepticism. The Literary Digest asserted that: "The ordinary horseless carriage is, at present, a luxury for the wealthy; and although its price will probably fall in the future, it will never, of course, come into as common use as the bicycle." The horseless carriage most likely began as a dream, as did Father J. A. VanHoomissen's vision of a facility specializing in holistic healing, using the powerful Mt. Clemens mineral waters. That dream was shared by the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati, who had met Father "Van" of St. Peter Catholic Church while experiencing the water's benefits.
Those dreams were realized when the St. Joseph Sanitarium and Bath House was formally opened and blessed. It was hailed in local publications as "one of the most imposing and modern structures of its kind in the country." Father VanHoomissen died in the sanitarium he loved just two years after it opened. He told the sisters attending to him, "If I can have any power with God, I will ask him to bless and prosper this house." Few could have imagined the growth, change and prosperity that would bless St. Joseph's. But father and the founding sisters would undoubtedly still recognize the values and healing tradition that remain strong at St. Joseph's Mercy.
1898 - Work on the new sanitarium begins November 4. Drilling for mineral water continued night and day until the healing water was struck on January 11, 1899, at a depth of 1,000 feet.
1899 - The building is formally opened and blessed November 21. A brother and sister from Dunkirk, New York were the first guests to be received at the sanitarium.
1900 - The third floor of the sanitarium is equipped and staffed as a 50-bed hospital. St. Joe's opens the area's first nurse training program.