In 1876, the women of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church opened the state’s first civilian hospital in Fourth Ward, called Charlotte Home and Hospital, later known as St. Peter’s Hospital. In the late 1910s the Elizabeth and Dilworth neighborhoods became the central headquarters for several of the city’s hospitals and medical personnel. In 1916 Mercy Hospital, founded in 1906 by St. Peter’s Catholic Church, moved to Fifth Street and Caswell in Elizabeth from its original location downtown beside the church. Mercy’s move signified a shift in the town’s hospitals from the center city to the less expensive land of the suburbs, which were also convenient to the new upper-and middle-income residential areas that were home to many hospital directors. In 1940, St. Peter’s patients were transferred to a new municipal hospital recently completed in the Dilworth neighborhood. Seen above soon after its construction, Charlotte Memorial Hospital was built on Blythe Boulevard, near Kings Drive and Morehead Street.
This aerial image, showing a wing being added to the hospital in the 1960s, gives an idea of its orientation in Dilworth.
By the 1980s the ailing facility was suffering from high employee turnover and physical disrepair. Over the next twenty years, new management built a powerful two-state network of hospitals, nursing homes, physician practices, and other health-care facilities. Since it opened, the hospital has undergone several major expansions and renovations. Most of the major changes began in the late 1980s and culminated in 1990 when Charlotte Memorial became reinvented as the main campus of the Carolinas Medical Center. A tower that greatly increased bed capacity was added to replace the hospital’s original 1940 wing, and the site was expanded to include a heart institute and an eleven-story tower with all-private patient rooms. Levine Children’s Hospital was added to the complex and opened in 2007, making it the largest children’s hospital between Washington, D.C. and Atlanta. Although the building has completely changed since the late 1980s, its front portion still maintains the initial L-shaped design in this current view (above).
Until next week!
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Information taken from:
Charlotte Then and Now, Brandon Lunsford, 2013.
“We have to do with the past only as we can make it useful to the present and the future.” – Frederick Douglass