History Of Leominster Hospital
In 1902, President Roosevelt passed through Leominster by train on his way to a speaking engagement. But what was most prevalent in the minds of the people in Leominster was the need for a hospital. In March of 1902, a group of 22 local residents formed a corporation known as the Leominster Hospital Association. In October of the same year, "an organization of ladies interested in the hospital movement" formed the Guild. A "Committee" on Site and Buildings was also created to look for and purchase a suitable house or land to locate the hospital. This process took nine years!
In the meantime Dr. Francis H. Cohan established the city's first hospital. In 1909, he constructed a building on Merriam Ave. and opened Cohan Hospital. His efforts proved to the town that a hospital was needed. In 1911, property known as the George S. Jones Estate on Blossom Street was purchased by the "Committee" and on January 12, 1912 Leominster Hospital was opened. Cohan Hospital was closed and Dr. Cohan became head of the surgical staff at Leominster Hospital.
Headlining national news in 1918 was the anticipation of World War I nearing an end. Topping local news was the growing concern that a new hospital with "greater capacity and improved facilities" was needed in Leominster. Mr. Bernard Doyle, President of the Board, decided to take action and spearheaded efforts to make it happen. He appointed a Building Committee and a Fundraising Committee, and hired a consultant for the hospital construction program.
With profound foresight and exceptional generosity, Mr. Doyle donated a gift of 20 acres of land for the new hospital with the provision that money was to be raised by the community for its hospital. The campaign for a new hospital was successful. While the community became actively involved, the Board became reassured that this was the proper plan and direction for meeting the health care needs of the community. In 1923, Leominster Hospital moved to its new location on Hospital Road. In 1928, the Nurse's Residence was opened.
But as time will have it, things will change. By 1939, the hospital had once again become overcrowded. New additions, new construction and major fund drives became a necessary and recurrent part of community health care. One of the major changes came in 1971 with the construction of the Foster Wing, named in honor of distinguished local leader Joseph C. Foster.
Reflecting back in history we see a united and caring community that faced inevitable changes with strength and stamina. Today, as we approach the 21st century, we mirror their efforts and continue to address the present and future heath care issues that impact our community. At the Leominster Campus, plans are underway for a new $25-$28 million building that will house new Operating Rooms, a Radiology Wing, Critical Care Unit and an expanded Emergency Department. Four separate design teams comprised of architects, engineers, physicians, staff and board members have been created to evaluate new construction and ensure successful completion.
As we review Leominster Hospital's modest beginnings, we applaud individuals like Dr. Cohan and Mr. Doyle for their trailblazing efforts. We also recognize that the tremendous support and enthusiasm of local residents can make a positive difference.
We have endured the marks of time. As we move forward with new challenges and changes, we look back with gratitude to the wise and good judgement of those who led the way 100 years ago.
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