The Growth of Sharon Hospital 1909-2010

May 7, 2010 at 12:34 am Leave a comment

May 7th at 4pm we will open the newest Sharon Historical Society Exhibit:

The Center of Caring- Sharon Hospital 1909-2010

Sharon Hospital Photo Exhibit

Exhibit Area Wall

Sharon Hospital Exhibit Corner Wall

Trustees Approve Hospital Expansion

More photos at our Flickr Account.

You can also view three short videos of the exhibit rooms via YouTube:

Video #1:

Video #2:

Video #3:

The first Sharon Hospital opened on December 10, 1909 in a rented brick house owned by Otto Tiedeman on Calkinstown Road. (still standing)

Founded as “a place where the ill and injured may be treated” the hospital had 2 nurses, 8 beds, a small operating room and a medical staff consisting of Drs. Jerome Chaffee, founder, S.C. Appel of Dover Plains, NY, William B. Bissell and C.K. Peterson, both of Lakeville.

Sharon Hospital was founded by Dr. Jerome S. Chaffee. Born in Amenia on November 11, 1873, Dr. Chaffee was a graduate of Yale University’s Sheffield Scientific School and the University of Pennsylvania Medical School. He served with the U.S. Navy in the Philippines during the Spanish-American War.

The trustees approved plans for a new building at a cost of $16,787. The cornerstone was laid on the site of the current hospital on September 4, 1915.

The new hospital opened on April 10, 1916, with 16 beds, 3 nurses and an operating room. The first operation—an appendectomy—was performed by Dr. Chaffee on April 11.

In 1915, Mrs. Henry M. Gillette, of Lakeville, offered $10,000 for the erection of a building and $20,000 towards an endowment for a new hospital. Romulus Riggs Colgate of Sharon, and Thomas B. Hidden of Millerton, offered to pay for equipment and supplies.

The Sharon Hospital Association, Inc., is organized by the three incorporators who became trustees and officers: President, Augustus Van Cortland, Vice-President, A.B. Landon; and Secretary and Treasurer, Dr. J. S. Chaffee.

Sharon Hospital’s first head nurse was Miss Louise Hansen, serving directly under Dr. Chaffee from July 1, 1916 until she retired in 1941.

It may safely be assumed that there was a kitchen in the new hospital building opened in 1916. In the 1918 annual report, listed under donations are items including, “2 cans fruit, 1 can strong beans, 1 barrel apples, 1 can cherries and a coffee mill.”

Patient care is at the heart of Sharon Hospital. Between December 31, 1917 and July 1, 1918, the hospital saw 131 patients, including 22 in obstetrics where 3 “went home to wait.”

It is also noted 61 patients recovered, 58 “improved”, 7 died, and 2 were removed to other hospitals.

The 1916 hospital had a small laboratory which soon proved inadequate to the hospital needs. A new lab was installed and equipped in late 1921 or early 1922, and a full time laboratory technician was hired.

Lab services only continued to grow in importance. In the 1952 annual report it is noted that, “the installation of additional equipment in the Laboratory…afford us a type of service which previously could only be found in larger hospitals.”

In 1922, the hospital purchased the adjacent “Kenny” home to serve as a nurses’ home. When the building opened in 1923, the total number of beds expanded from 16 to 25. Maternity was located in the Nurses’ house.

Beginning in the early 1920s, fund raising was begun to expand the hospital’s already cramped quarters. The Sharon Hospital Auxiliary organized a series of street fairs and events raising $10,700.

A three-story fireproof addition was added between 1928 and 1930, adding a waiting room, nurses’ room 8 bed ward, full maternity department, and a new operating suite.

In 1945 the trustees appointed a building committee: Dr. Byron Stookey, Mr. Heathcote Woolsey and Mr. Lyman Rhoades. After the purchase of additional land to the north, the building began to take shape and opened its doors in 1948 at a cost of $799,405.13. The amount was financed in part by a loan from The Hartford National Bank. Later in 1949, a successful campaign made it possible to pay all the hospital’s debts.

1947: Dr. Jerome Chaffee, hospital founded, dies on November 26th.

In 1949, the new Chaffee Pavilion was added at the cost of $800,000. This addition expanded the hospital’s bed capacity to 50.
(The original Chaffee Pavilion was removed when the hospital expanded in 1972)

The expansion project that culminated in the 1949 addition began as the vision of Dr. William W. Herrick, a member of the board of trustees. In 1944, Dr. Herrick’s vision of a “Rural Medical Center” inspired the financial backing of Mr. Clement R. Ford and others.

In 1957, the new Harry Payne Bingham Wing and the Ford Wing were opened to increase the capacity to 68 beds in projects costing more than $200,000.

In 1957, the new Harry Payne Bingham Wing and the Ford Wing were opened to increase the capacity to 68 beds in projects costing more than $200,000.

In 1958, the hospital saw 2,618 patients, including 450 births and 774 operations!

The hospital kitchen was renovated in 1965 (perhaps before), and a new kitchen was built—and cmployee dining room—in 1995.

The hospital annual reports are full of interesting facts. For instance, in 1958 the hospital served 23,387 meals “regular diets”, and 22,353 “modified diets.” 9,579 meals were served to personnel, 733 to guests, for a grand total of 56,052.

In 1963 construction begins on Sharon Hospital’s largest expansion project, a $2 million project financed without any public fund drive, thanks to bequests from the estates of Herbert R. Fransioloi, Muriel Alvord Ward, together with a Federal grant under the Hill-Burton hospital construction program. The hospital serves 3,000 patients in this year—the most yet.

On August 1, 1965, formal dedicatory ceremonies were held to open the Fransioloi Building, the Berry Unit, and the Ward Unit. These projects provided facilities for pediatrics, obstetrics, gynecology, post-operative recovery, fracture room, emergency rooms, administrative offices, gift shop, improved kitchen and laundry equipment. Also completed was the renovation of the Ward C. Belcher Pathology Laboratory. Bed capacity was increased to 92.

Between 1972 and its completion in 1976, a major renovation project included improvements to and expansion of the Intensive Care Unit and the Emergency Room. The Laboratory and Radiology moved to their new wing and present location.

The new North Wing opened on April 29, 1995, adding four new operating suites, rehabilitation services including cardiac, a chapel, a new kitchen and employee dining room, and a new medical/surgical unit. The lobby was renovated and expanded and improvements were made to the physical plant.

The Sharon Clinic

The Sharon Clinic was opened in 1947 in the old farmhouse on Sharon Green The “Founding Fathers” were four members of the 1940 graduating class of Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons—Dr. Gevalt, Dr. Robert Fisher, Dr. George A. Fowler and Dr. Robert P. Noble. Dr. Fisher didn’t begin work at the clinic until completing his residency in 1949. Shortly thereafter, Dr. George Haydock joined the practice, and Dr. Roger Moore followed in 1951.

Later members of the Clinic practice included Dr. John Gallup in the early 1960s, followed a few years later by Dr. Peter Reyelt and Dr. Richard N. Collins. In 1972, the most recent additions were Dr. Charles Mirabile, Jr., Dr. John Charde, and Dr. John Curtis (part-time).


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