Wednesday, February 9, 2022

Bill Finger’s birth hospital and first address (in Denver!)

Bill Finger co-created Batman (and lived most of his life) in New York. But Bill was created in this address. 

(That house, at 1526 Lowell Boulevard, was built in 1980. Fingers crossed I can find a photo of what stood there in 1914...) 

It is around the corner from this synagogue-turned-church (a situation I also saw in the Cleveland neighborhood where Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster created Superman).

How did I find out the address where Bill’s family was living when he was born?

From Bill’s birth certificate (what Colorado calls a testimonial letter), which I first requested in 2013—but did not receive till 2022. (There were several requests and setbacks during that period.)

It also indicates that Bill was born in Mercy Hospital, which opened in 1901 and was seemingly demolished in 1966. Photos courtesy of Denver Public Library Special Collections:

sometime between 1901 and 1910


According to Dr. Jeanne Abrams, Professor and Director, RMJHS and Beck Archives at the Center for Judaic Studies and University Libraries at the University of Denver: 

1526 Lowell was then in the heart of the West Side Eastern European Jewish community. The area was filled with small Orthodox synagogues, Jewish-run businesses including grocery stores and bakeries, etc. Around that time, [future Israeli prime minister] Golda Meir lived in the neighborhood in a typical West Side duplex for about a year and a half. She had run away from her parents so she could continue her schooling. She was staying with her married sister, who had moved to Denver because she had tuberculosis. Denver featured two Jewish TB sanatoriums that were national in nature of support and patients.

This is not the first time that chasing Bill has led me to other notables.

2/11/22 addendum: History Colorado, Denver Public Library, the University of Denver, and the Beck Archives of Rocky Mountain Jewish History at the University of Denver could find a photo of the house site circa 1914 nor any other info related to the site or Bill Finger. This is no surprise, since Bill Finger was not an infant when he co-created Batman, and in fact would not be publicly notable till years after his death.

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