The Helen Newberry Nurses Home was built in 1898 to provide housing for future nurses attending the Grace Hospital Training School for the Nurses. Built in the English Revival style, the Helen Newberry Home is the last existing example of late 19th century medical buildings constructed in this region. The funds to construct the building were donated by Helen H. Newberry, widow of John S. Newberry, one of Detroit’s most significant businessman and philanthropist as well as co-founder of Grace Hospital. Of all the original nurses homes built in the late 1800s, only the Helen Newberry Home at John R and Willis remains.
After experimenting with housing nurses in special quarters within the hospital, Harper Hospital and Grace Hospital built nurses’ homes in the surrounding neighborhood to house the students enrolled in these programs. The nurses’ home was designed to provide a convenient, safe, and hospitable setting where the training school’s exclusively female student body could rest, socialize, and take part in evening classes related to their medical training. Seven hospitals from over the state sent their students to Grace so that they may receive quality experience in the nursing field. The number of resident students increased drastically, beginning with only fourteen in the first class, the school closed having graduated over seven thousand nurses.