Following the depression of the late twenties, the talk of the establishment of a 27 – bed hospital in Lawrence County reached the stage of a special meeting. The federal government proposed at that time a forty-five percent cash grant of the total cost of the project with a bond issue to raise the local fifty-five percent. The Lawrenceville Chamber of Commerce named a special committee consisting of J.P. Alexander, George W. Lackey, Perry McCullough, C.F. Stoll and G.C. Armstrong, but soon there was evidence of the country’s financial recovery, and the federal government withdrew the cash grant, thus hindering the work of the committee.
Various angles were devised and studied within the county by committees and groups, including the Lawrence County Medical Society. A substantial bond issue was favorable, but the increased cost of construction resulting from the Second World War necessitated the action be postponed until conditions became more favorable. Instead, the funds were invested in war bonds to help the war effort.
In 1945, under an amendment to the Federal Hill-Burton Legislation, Lawrence County became eligible for Federal and State aid in the construction of a non-profit county operated hospital. Construction began on March 24, 1949.
Soon after the start, the Board of Supervisors named a “Lay Hospital Committee” that has carried on and today is the “Board of Directors.” Between 1946 and 1950 those serving on the ‘Board’ were C.P. Sherry, Harry Warner, Roy Mitchell, Burtis R. Stevenson, Louis Bloom, Mary Hamilton, S. W. Hancock, F.E. Brian, Bryan Buchanan, Tyler Andrews, Oran Calvert, Guy Richie, C.A. Porter, and Dean F. Campbell.
Lawrence County Memorial Hospital was unique in many of its innovations, the most outstanding of which was the combining of the offices of the Lawrence County Tuberculosis Sanatorium Board and the Lawrence-Wabash County Health Department with Lawrence County Memorial Hospital. This cooperative arrangement constituted the first such project in the State of Illinois.
Lawrence County Memorial Hospital was dedicated on Sunday, July 2, 1950. Sixty One employees opened the doors and received the first hospital patient on July 5, 1950. One of those original employees, Iva Mae Chism Carter, continues to volunteer at the hospital.
Early Medical and Surgical Staff were:
Dr. E.A. Fahnestock, Chief of Staff
Dr. R.F. Snider, Chief of Obstetrics
Dr. L.J. Bennett, Eye, Ear, Nose and Throat
Dr. Dale E. Scholz, Public Health
Dr. Richard Anderson, Surgeon
Dr. S. Joseph Smith, Surgeon
Dr. Nathan Ewing, Surgeon
Dr. Ralph Armitage
Dr. Lee R. Ireland
Dr. R.T. Kirkwood
Dr. R.O. Illyess
Dr. Robert C. Kirkwood
Dr. C.W. Cullison
Dr. Frank Arnold
Dr. P.W. Kensler
Dr. W.I. Green
Dr. Charles G. Stoll
Lawrence County Memorial Hospital • 2200 State St, Lawrenceville, IL 62439 • 618-943-1000