Tri-State hospitals have come a long way

March 27, 1999|By KERRY LYNN FRALEY

Several hospitals in the Tri-State area today started out the same way - with a few beds in a converted home at the turn of the century.

The area's first permanent hospital, Chambersburg Hospital, opened with nine beds on Sept. 21, 1895, in a converted house at 217 S. Main St., Chambersburg, Pa., according to a hospital pamphlet.

The building was rented by the Children's Aid Society of Franklin County. Doctors brought their own instruments and splints.

Twenty-three patients were admitted the first year.

The next year, a group of residents formed The Chambersburg Hospital Auxiliary to support the new hospital, which would later move to its current home at 112 N. Seventh St.

The first permanent hospital in Washington County, Washington County Hospital, was opened in October 1905 thanks to a push by the Washington County Medical Society and an act of the Maryland General Assembly.


Housed in the former M.P. Moller residence at Fairground and Potomac avenues in Hagerstown, it had 10 beds and plans to double capacity in the next few years by converting two adjacent properties.

But the space soon proved inadequate for demand.

In 1909, the hospital acquired the campus of the former Kee Mar College for women on King Street between Baltimore and Antietam streets.

The main building was remodeled and opened as a 46-bed hospital in 1912. The S.M. Bloom Memorial annex, which opened in 1935, increased capacity to 158 beds.

In 1950, the old Kee Mar building was razed to build a new eight-story nursing unit - Pangborn Hall. Finished in 1982, it increased the number of beds to 311.

A new wing added 72 more beds in 1968.

City Hospital was founded by Dr. Theodore Kensell Oates, who came to Martinsburg, W.Va., to start a practice at the turn of the century, according to a history compiled for the hospital's 85th anniversary.

Oates bought a home at Burke Street and Maple Avenue to use as a surgical hospital. It opened in 1904 with three beds.

The following year, Oates built a bigger building to handle the increased demand.

Within three years, it was outgrown and Oates called upon local doctors and businessmen to help build a much larger facility at the same site.

The current City Hospital on Dry Run Road opened in 1972.

In 1977, it merged with Kings Daughters Hospital, which had operated in downtown Martinsburg since 1896.

A $17 million expansion brought the new City Hospital up to 260 beds in 1982.

Jefferson Memorial Hospital, now in Ranson, W.Va., started out with another name in another town in 1904, according to Jefferson Memorial spokeswoman Teresa McCabe.

That December, a former physician agreed to convert the second floor of his home on Congress Street in Charles Town, W.Va., to a hospital, McCabe said.

A new Charles Town General Hospital was built in the late '50s.

The hospital was renamed Jefferson Memorial Hospital when the current building on Third Avenue in Ranson opened in 1975. A third floor was added in 1982.

-- History of hospitals timeline

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