Community Support Crucial to Our Success
As Cincinnati Children's expanded to serve patients and families, citizens stepped up to offer their support from the earliest days.
The second hospital was located on Mason Street, near the Christ Hospital in Mount Auburn. It opened November 23, 1887, with 20 beds on two wards.
Community Support Crucial to Our Success
The second hospital was located on Mason Street, near the Christ Hospital in Mount Auburn. It opened November 23, 1887 with 20 beds on two wards.
The following is an excerpt from the late Dr. William Gerhardt’s account of the history of Cincinnati Children’s that appeared in a 2008 issue of "Staff Bulletin."
The Episcopal Hospital for Children (now Cincinnati Children’s) was founded in 1883, occupying a private home in Walnut Hills. But with only 14 beds, it soon outgrew its physical space.
In 1887 the hospital’s Board of Trustees realized that the three small bedroom wards, lack of an operating room and the “insufficiency of hot water and the miserable, worn-out heating apparatus” were not conducive to the best patient care.
Enter the Emery brothers – Mary Emery’s husband Thomas J. and his brother J. Josiah, sons of the founder of Emery Industries. They pledged an acre of ground and a brick hospital building, a great gift at a crucial time in Cincinnati Children’s history.
The second Children’s Hospital opened November 23, 1887, with two wards of 10 beds each and two unfinished wards awaiting expansion. The hospital was located on the west side of Locust Street (renamed North Main Street in 1900, on a spot now occupied by the Christ Hospital Heart Department). The new hospital was well equipped with ample gas, plumbing and heating apparatus. Within the first month, the third ward was opened, and the fourth ward was filled by the end of January 1888. The hospital’s capacity was 45 beds, with an average daily census of 35.
William Garson, MD, and Nathaniel Dandridge, MD, made up the medical staff. Others were added gradually. One of them was Christian R. Holmes, MD, who became the second secretary of the medical staff for one year.
In the 1890s, the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra was being formed, McMicken Hall was being constructed at UC, and the first concrete bridge in the U.S. was being built in Eden Park. At that time, the annual budget of the Episcopal Hospital for Children was $9,227.57. The daily average cost per patient was $0.42 ½.
The Episcopal Hospital for Children was satisfactory for 39 years until a new hospital was built on our present campus – the third hospital, in 1926. A new wing was added to the North Main Street Hospital in 1903, a gift from William A. Procter, increasing the bed capacity to 70. An X-ray machine was added in 1907, and a two-year nursing school was administered in 1916.
Dandridge retired in 1909. The hospital’s future benefactor, William Cooper Procter, of Procter & Gamble, joined the Board of Trustees in 1913. What a major influence he would become in the next decade! In 1919 Ethel Winston, MD, became the first female on faculty as the first resident physician.
Mary Emery endowed the B.K. Rachford Chair and Professorship for the hospital in 1920. Rachford had been the second professor of pediatrics at the UC Medical Center and the first chairman of the department of pediatrics in 1917. He also established the “Baby’s Milk Fund” for safe milk in 1909, which still exists as clinics for low-income families. Mary Emery’s endowment was $250,000.
In 1921, the Board of Lady Managers was dissolved, and William C. Procter, president of P&G, became the president of the Board of Trustees. He and A. Graeme Mitchell, MD, who came on board from Philadelphia to be professor of the new children’s hospital in 1926, became a creative duo, and the rest is history. The organization’s official title became The Children’s Hospital in 1926, and it was accredited as a Class A hospital.
Patients play outside on a merry-go-round on the grounds of the hospital, ca 1914.
Josiah (left) and Thomas Emery provided the funding to build the second hospital, then called the Episcopal Hospital for Children.