Charleston General Hospital

The first Charleston General Hospital started life in the late 1880s as a privately owned hospital on Elmwood Ave, just across the street from where a new larger Charleston General would later be built in 1924.

Charleston General Hospital

Not long after, the hospital was moved  up on the hill near the Spring Hill Cemetery

Charleston General Hospital 1907

The second Charleston General Hospital started life in 1904 up on the hill off Piedmont Road and right in front of the Spring Hill Cemetery. It was called Thomas Hospital and Sanitarium at first,  but after several changes over the years became Charleston General Hospital. (Notice the nurses standing on the second floor)  It closed in 1924 and all patients and equipment was moved to the new hospital built on Elmwood Ave and Brooks Street. 


A wonderful picture of nurses at the very first Charleston General Hospital.

Nancy Williams grandmother Ida Dell Pierson, is on the back row, third from  left

Here she is with a patient.  This is the only picture I've ever seen of an actual patient at the old hospital.

Charleston General Hospital

Graduate Nurses at the old hillside hospital

Charleston Gen Hospital

Nursing Staff in the late 1900s at Charleston General

Charleston General Hospital

Mickey Deitz of Charleston  found this picture among his old family pictures just recently.  The picture must have been taken in the late teens or in the 1920's because of the ivy growth on the building.  He stated that  his mother had two aunts who were nurses and worked at the Charleston General Hospital.  They were old enough to have worked at the hospital when it was on the hill but didnt know if they did, so it's unknown who the child is in this photo but someone took a lot of trouble to make a nurses uniform for her.




Charleston General

The best photo ever published of the hospital

Without a doubt one of the most beautiful and substantial buildings in the area,  I could never
discover exactly why the city would allow this mini masterpiece to fall into disrepair.  The city
was donated the property to be used for a hospital and/or city park.  The hospital was built and
leased to a doctor. Not too many years later, a new Charleston General Hospital was built on
Elmwood Ave.  This building was then used for several things, none of which paid the bills.
The city even allowed families to live in the building for a time.  Then, hobo's used it.  By now
the building was in need of serious repair.  Children played in it's spooky halls and talked of
ghosts from the cemetery right behind the building. Finally, it was torn down in 1931 and the
property made into a city park. So what happened?  I suspect that the building was too far away
from the downtown section, and too hard to get to up that muddy hill, especially in winter and
Spring. When this hospital was built, there was no electricity, no city water, and very little fire
protection. So, the building like all of our more beautiful buildings was destroyed, and all we
have are the photos.

This interesting photo shows the hospital in the background and headstones of Spring Hill Cemetery to it's right. In the late 1800s,  circuses would set-up in an empty field between Morris & Brooks St.  This part of town was relatively empty at the time.  What I find so interesting in all of the pictures of Charleston in the late 1800s and early 1900s is the many Black faces in the crowds.  This is only 50 years or so after slavery and yet Blacks appear to be doing very well,  appearing at all the shows and entertainment venues this area had to offer.  This area never suffered the "Black Question" as so many would have you believe.   Racism?  Of course,  but there's racism in every culture.  The Blacks here did relatively well and their community at the time proved it


After the hospital moved to Elmwood & Brooks Street,  the old hospital property was partially turned into a citypark for the citizens of Charleston.  It was under the condition that it never be used for anything else.  But along the way, the city decided a park wasnt needed.


This is a photo of me in the City Park. I used to ride up there all the time on my Schwinn Corvettte. 



When I was a young adult, my mom lived at what was then called "City Park Village",  a group of high-rise buildings that were erected in the old city park.  At the time, City Park Village was THE place to live, with many professionals calling it their residence.  Later however,  the complex slowly became a HUD property and soon became one of the most notorious addresses in the entire city with much crime and many murders.  It has now been renovated as new HUD housing with better rules and regulations ...they say.

First two Nurse photos courtesy of Nancy Williams

First hospital photo and  other nursing staff photos courtesy of CAMC archives.

See more Charleston General History Here

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