Terre Haute Postcards - Union Hospital (3)

Terre Haute Postcards - Union Hospital (3)

More postcards from my collection...

Union Hospital, Terre Haute

Union Hospital - 1909

This is not a postcard but seems to be an image from a catalog for a limited edition print set.

By 1892, Terre Haute was a thriving city and it was becoming apparent that the only hospital, St. Anthony's, could not keep pace with the increasing demand for medical services. One respected doctor, Leo J. Weinstein, had thoughts about establishing another hospital but was having trouble convincing his friend and colleague, Dr. Benjamin Franklin Swafford, to join him in the endeavor. Dr. Swafford, however, changed his mind when one afternoon a driver jumped off his wagon and burst into the doctor's office, explaining he had no friends in town and his wife was about to give birth.

Because St. Anthony's would not accept maternity cases, Dr. Swafford cared for the woman in his office. It was then that he decided that Terre Haute must have a hospital to accommodate maternities. Consequently, he and Dr. Weinstein opened the 20-bed Terre Haute Sanitarium in a two-story house on the corner of North Seventh Street and Eighth Avenue in 1892. The first patient was admitted on 11th August.

The hospital has seen many changed, both in name and structure. In 1895 the Terre Haute Sanitarium became the Union Home for the Invalids. In 1899 it was changed again to the C. W. Williams Union Hospital of Terre Haute. Then in 1906, it was finally changed to simply Union Hospital.

The original building was made of wood and the first brick building was erected in 1902. The old wooden building was demolished in 1909 but an extension was built to the brick building. Between 1922 and 1928 a new south wing was added, this is the building pictured in the lower postcards, raising the capacity to 188 beds. The building did not take 6 years to build, what happened was that on completion the first two floors were equipped and the other floors followed as more funds became available. In 1953 the north wing was added, the south wing remodeled and the hospital boasted 219 beds.

By 1992 had room for 343 beds and employed 1,800 people handling 40,000 emergency room visits, 11,587 inpatient visits, 158,000 outpatient visits and 1,700 births annually.

These old buildings were demolished in 2004. But the same year, the new buildings employed 2,103 people handling 42,643 emergency room visits, 13,309 inpatient visits, 319,014 outpatient visits and 1,425 births.

I've written a slightly fuller history of Union Hospital.

This page created 12th November 2008, last modified 12th November 2008

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