In 1922, Fillmore Condit Had A Dream
To build a “community” hospital to serve the citizens of Long Beach at cost, below cost or at no cost. At the time there were only two hospital beds per 1000 citizens in Long Beach, four per 1000 were required.
Meet CHLB's Founder: Fillmore Condit
Born in rural New Jersey in 1855, Fillmore Condit educated himself in the Newark Public Library, and as a young man took a job in a meat market. By 1879 he had invented a refrigerator door fastener, obtained a patent, and opened up his own market.
Fillmore Everett Condit was described as a progressive man, inventor politician, oil expert and philanthropist; he had a good sense of humor and enjoyed writing letters to newspapers wherever he lived.
After marrying Ida Frances Rafter in 1881, they branched into real estate (Ida’s expertise), and bought and developed land in Verona, New Jersey, where they made their home. Fillmore served as a member of the Essex County Board of Freeholders. In 1901 he joined the Union Oil Company as the New York representative. In 1911 their oldest son Everett died suddenly and unexpectedly. To honor him, the Condit’s donated land that is still used today as a baseball field, Everett Field.
Fillmore became active in the Anti-Saloon League and supported the cause of women's suffrage. He served as president of the Hospital for Women and Children of Newark, and president of the board of trustees of the Verona Methodist Episcopal Church.
In 1919, Fillmore was the Independent Republican candidate for governor of New Jersey on the Prohibition ticket, but his wife Ida was determined the family move to California, and he withdrew his candidacy.
Fillmore retired from Union Oil, settling with his family in Long Beach, California. In 1920 he was asked to become a candidate for City Council. He served the city of Long Beach, as councilman and mayor, for a total of six years. During his term as councilman he helped the city acquire a municipally owned gas works that became financially successful. He also advocated for nationalization of the life insurance industry.
Fillmore was also president of the Condit Family Association and helped to research his family back to the first Condit arriving in New Jersey in 1678. He and Ida had four children: Jane, Everett, Jessie and Donald.
Ida died in 1921; Fillmore re-married in 1922 to Mrs. Helen MacKinnon, a widow. He devoted his time, energy and funds to the Long Beach Community Hospital Association, which he founded. The Association raised $369,000 – of which Condit initially donated $50,000 - the hospital officially opened on July 15, 1924
Fillmore Condit died in Long Beach in 1939 and was buried in Caldwell, New Jersey
Read more in "Doctors, Dreamers & Doers"