The wealth it has given would be truly immense.
Our Hospital pours it on poor and on rich –
The man in the office, the man in the ditch.
It makes no distinction in color or creed
But gives, and gives freely, whatever the need.”
Lydia Baird Home and Hospital
In the early 1890s the community launched a movement to establish a hospital in Carlisle. Their vision was to offer an avenue through which the poor would receive medical treatment through a charitable institution.
In April 1893, The Hospital Wards of the Lydia Baird Home and Hospital were opened. Contributions of citizens and businessmen as well as proceeds from a concert in which the Indian School band took part furnished the 8-bed hospital. It had one private room. When the doors opened, no rush for treatment occurred. In fact, April gave way to May without anyone venturing to cross the hospital’s threshold for treatment.
So when the first patients actually did arrive, they were “greeted with much acclaim”. This came about when the Barnum and Bailey Circus came to town. An accident occurred and injured circus employees became the first patients on May 12. Hospital officials were so excited they forgot to call a doctor.
The Baird Hospital lasted three years, setting a precedent for the need of such an institution in the community. The doors only closed to make way for a new and better hospital. The building still stands on the north side of East High Street today.
In January 1896 Todd Hospital opened in a brick house on the northwest corner of F and North West Streets thanks to money donated by Carlisle resident Sarah Todd. With a population of about 9,000 at the turn of the century, the Todd Hospital reported 43 people were hospitalized during the year – 18 men, 24 women, and one child. Hospital rules cautioned patients, often referred to as “guests” to “conduct themselves with decorum towards each other and the officers of the hospital on pain of immediate expulsion thereon.” In the 20 years that the Todd Hospital was open, its main difficulty was dealing with a shortage of nurses whom they tried to lure with fringe benefits such as free trolley service and free telephone service offered free of charge to hospital nurses by the town’s two telephone companies.
In June of 1915, the contract was awarded to build the new Carlisle Hospital for $43,500 on 20 lots located between Parker and Wilson streets. On June 26, 1915 the community turned out for the “grand occasion” of laying the cornerstone while children had the honor of breaking ground for the hospital.
In early 1916 Todd Hospital’s assets, including the $30,000 endowment from Mrs. Sarah A. Todd and the building – later sold for $3,400 – were transferred to the new Carlisle Hospital.
On July 21, 1916 about 1,000 people braved thunderstorms to attend the hospitals open house.
On July 24, 1916, four or five patients were transferred to the new Carlisle Hospital located at 246 Parker Street. In its first year of operation, Carlisle Hospital recorded 350 operations, 38 births, and an average of 10 patients per day. It cost $2.50 per day for bed, board and medicine and nursing in semi-private wards and $3 and $4 a day for private rooms.
In 1916, Walter C. Stephens, the first president of Carlisle Hospital, believed on the conviction that Carlisle Hospital’s purpose was “to foster the neighborhood spirit which conveys to everyone the knowledge that in the Carlisle Hospital they will find food, shelter, rest, kindly care, sympathetic attention and the most humane and scientific treatment.
Built on the roots deeply planted here in 1916, Carlisle Hospital has branched out to become a healthcare network that transitioned Carlisle Hospital from being primarily an inpatient care facility into a progressive outpatient services center.
In 1931 the hospital was increased to 75 beds. And in 1942 was expanded to add a 48-bed wing and operating rooms. In 1961 the cornerstone was laid for a three-story building to include a laboratory, x-ray and dietary departments, heating plant, physio-therapy section, modern emergency facilities, piped-in oxygen and a recovery room in the operating suite.
In 1998, Carlisle Hospital expanded beyond its walls at 246 Parker Street and expanded to a 25-acre campus about 1.5 miles away off Walnut Bottom Road. In May of 1998, the Board of Trustees and Medical Staff broke ground for new Cancer Center on the property. On July 13, 1998 Carlisle Hospital Surgery Center opened the area’s first outpatient surgery center on 25 acres off Walnut Bottom Road. And in July of 1998 opened the new Pain Management Center to assist patients in managing chronic and acute pain.
October 1998 Carlisle Hospital and Health Services launched a new Customer Satisfaction Program to educate and motivate our employees to continue to provide excellent care and service to those using our services.
On May 23, 1999 Carlisle Hospital dedicated and opened its new Cancer Center citing the critical need for bringing together radiation therapy, chemotherapy to be offered in a single facility that is close to home for so many cancer patients. In 1999 the 13,000 square foot facility, equipment and furnishings cost a total of $6 million.