CEE Celebrates 100th Aniversary

Hospital opened its doors Jan. 31, 1911

Charlotte Englehart Hospital as is appears today

Oil Barron's Home Bequeathed to the town for a hospital

In the spring of 1905, then Petrolia mayor John D. Noble was presented with a petition from a group of prominent citizens who were calling for the establishment of a hospital in their fair town.
Noble agreed and wasted no time in calling a public meeting to gather further input from the community.
He subsequently appointed a five-member committee to work with the public and the town’s medical community in drafting a strategy for attaining the much desired facility.
However, upon assessing the town’s fiscal realities those involved soon realized that to accomplish such a gargantuan task an “angel” would have to emerge to provide the financial resources needed.
After all, there were very few towns in Ontario the size of Petrolia that could boast a fully-accredited hospital.
Miraculously, several years later, as though by the hand of divine providence, that angel did appear in the person of Charlotte Eleanor Englehart, the wife of prominent Petrolia oil man, and Imperial Oil founder Jacob Englehart.
Jacob Lewis Englehart,was an American-born entrepreneur who arrived in Petrolia in 1880 via London, Ontario, where he had been engaged in oil production and refining for a number of years.
If not wealthy upon his arrival here, he certainly was shortly thereafter, mainly from the success of his his Petrolia-based Silver Star Refinery, which at that time was Canada’s largest oil refinery.
He subsequently merged the Silver Star with elements of John D. Rockefeller’s Standard Oil Company and became a founding partner in one of Canada’s great corporations, Imperial Oil Ltd.
On Dec. 29, 1891, he married Charlotte Eleanor Thompson of Adelaide Township and as a wedding gift to his wife,  bestowed upon her Glenview, an imposing red brick Victorian mansion with circular turrets set on an impeccably landscaped property which included a beautiful nine-hole golf course.
By all indications the Engleharts led a happy, albeit busy, life at Glenview with Jake focusing on his business interests and Charlotte taking an active role in community and church activities.
She, being a devout and active member of Christ Church Anglican.
Unfortunately, less than two decades later Charlotte encountered health problems and following a two-year illness died a relatively young women on Dec. 31, 1909.
It was widely reported that her untimely death cast a pall over the entire community.
In her will, Charlotte bequeathed her stately home, Glenview, with its attendant property and buildings, including the beautiful golf links that adjoined it, to the Town of Petrolia, that it may be used as a hospital.
The only restriction to that was that it would occur only after the death of her husband, Jake.
However, Jake Englehart was of a generous nature and obviously construed it as his duty to see his wife’s wishes carried out.
He abandoned the house almost immediately to make way for the establishment of the town’s new hospital, adding a substantial legacy fund to ensure the hospital would be self-sustaining.
On Jan.31, 1911 Charlotte Eleanor Englehart hospital was opened with a compliment of 17 beds, which over the years has seen a number of expansions, renovations and additions.
Since its inception, Charlotte’s House, as it is affectionately known by many of the locals, has remained a highly regarded and even loved facility in the community.
Anyone who has visited CEE or been a patient there can attest to the personal quality of the care provided by a dedicated and attentive staff and physicians.
However, as counter intuitive as it may seem, every so often outside forces arise in an attempt to curtail, or in some way diminish, the excellent services provided by Charlotte Eleanor Englehart hospital to a very appreciative rural community.
The continued operation of C.E.E.H. is, and always has been, a motherhood issue within the Town of Petrolia and surrounding municipalities and will continue to be.
In the Petrolia area, no other issue galvanizes the community like a perceived threat to its beloved hospital.
While C.E.E.H has now transcended its 100th anniversary, residents of Petrolia and its surrounding communities have every reason to remain optimistic that Charlotte’s House will continue to be a functioning part of this growing and vibrant community.

Charlotte Eleanor Englehart

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Latest comments

17.08 | 00:02

My name is Patricia Mcilwain , Kate Newton was a second cousin,. My mothers first cousin, Florence( Chambers) Young. Interesting story.

22.01 | 13:44

William Hay, my uncle, served on Petrolia as cook. My picture dressed in a navel uniform with an H.M.C.S. hat band, I was told was the " JACK" (Mascot)

19.08 | 12:32

I was Raised to the sublime Degree of a Master Mason on September 6, 1975 in a Masonic ??? Lodge #503 Ontario Canada.
My lodge Ira A. Beck #503 Battle Creek MI

05.06 | 03:34


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