Benedict Portal returns to Greenwich Hospital

Greenwich Hospital has an old friend checking in, but it’s not a patient.

Instead it’s the Benedict Portal, a piece of the historic entrance to the hospital that is regarded as an “architectural gem.” The portal, which was first built in 1917, has been called “a masterpiece” by Thomas Hastings and “part of the architectural heritage of the town of Greenwich and Greenwich Hospital.”

A gift from Greenwich philanthropist Commodore Elias C. Benedict, the Italian Renaissance portal originally served as the main entrance to Greenwich Hospital from 1917 until the hospital expanded in 1951 and the structure became known as the Benedict Building. Now it’s back and has a new home as a monument at the hospital’s Sherman and Gloria Cohen Pavilion in the city’s historic district.

“The Benedict Portal has returned to the hospital campus as a monument to highlight a significant architectural treasure that respects the history of both Greenwich Hospital and the community it serves,” said Frank Corvino, the hospital’s president and chief executive officer.

The old building was razed in 1996 to make way for the Helmsley Medical Building, but the ornate doors and lamp posts that decorated it were not lost. Instead they went into storage with “the promise they would one day return” to the hospital campus, said Barbara Campbell, director of facilities planning at Greenwich Hospital.

The portal’s new William Street location, said Ms. Campbell, is “an ideal spot for the free-standing monument because it fits in with the neighborhood’s historic character.” A paved path from the portal leads to a garden with a water fountain, benches and bronze sculpture.

“It’s a beautiful garden open to everyone in the community,” she added.

Using photographs as a guide, architect Jeffrey Hall of New York restored the portal to its original look to attempt and highlight the limestone columns and arched pediment surrounding carved oak doors, classical moldings and a bronze transom. The classic look has been added to with small busts of Plato and Aristotle adorning the door grilles. The cast iron lamp posts were stripped and restored with bronze green enamel paint. Another light focuses on the door and transom to accent the architecture.

The monument stands atop a masonry pier with brick to match the Cohen Pavilion, which houses Bendheim Cancer Center and the Breast Center. The installation was a challenge, considering the monument weighs 250,000 pounds, according to Matthew Feichtner, the project manager.

“It was a massive effort,” he said, “but the results are spectacular.”

By participating in the comments section of this site you are agreeing to our Privacy Policy and User Agreement

© Hersam Acorn. All rights reserved. The Greenwich Post, 10 Corbin Drive, Floor 3, Darien, CT 06820

Designed by WPSHOWER

Powered by WordPress