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The Bennett Building, which was built in 1924, is primarily significant for its ties to local women's history. Three women doctors—Charlotte McCuskey, Bernice DeConly and Harriet S. Hamilton—operated private practices in the building in the 1920s. During a time when society largely disapproved of women doctors, McCuskey, Hamilton, and DeConly represent the strides women made in the medical field in the early 1900s. The building is also significant as the work of two local architecture firms, which designed it in the Commercial style. Now an apartment building, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2001.

The Bennett Building is a historic commercial building constructed in 1924. It is significant for its association with three women doctors who operated private practices here in the 1920s.

Building, Property, Window, Fixture

The Bennett Building replaced three-story Victorian-style Woolworth's store that was destroyed by a fire in December 1922. The owner and some local businessmen formed the Bennett Building Corporation in March 1923 to build the present structure. They hired the architecture firms Jensen & Jensen and McDonald & McDonald to design it, as well as a local building contractor. It was built with reinforced concrete and steel and wireglass was used in windows facing the alley and adjacent building. Inside, the building featured equipment for the doctors and dentists (including gas and compressed air), cold and hot water in every suite, two fast elevators, and restrooms on every floor. It appears that doctors and dentists occupied the building until the early 1990s. Plans to convert it into apartments fell through at that time but it seems the transition finally occurred in the early 2000s.

Women doctors were rare in the country during the first half of the 20th century. Those women who did become working professionals usually left their chosen fields when they got married. However, this was not often the case for women doctors, who usually married men who supported them and championed women's causes in general. Bernice DeConly and Harriet S. Hamilton were both married (Hamilton's husband was a dentist who also worked in the building; it appears that Charlotte McCuskey was not married). Generally speaking, women in the early 1900s became doctors to raise the standard of living for families and communities. Osteopathy, which emphasizes the health of the body as a whole and not just a condition of disease, was a popular choice for women doctors, who also became pediatricians and obstetricians. McCoskey and DeConly were osteopaths; Hamilton was a regular physician. McCuskey operated her practice in the Bennett Building from 1925 to 1928. Hamilton also began hers in 1925 and left in 1933. DeConly operated her practice from 1927 to 1932.

Honebrink, Jennifer K. "Bennett Building." National Park Service - National Register of Historic Places Nomination Form. August 8, 2001.

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