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City Hospital
City Hospital
TitleCity Hospital
DescriptionPostcard of the City Hospital
Historical ArticleEveryone knows that Col. Thomas F. Swope presented Swope Park to the city, but fewer are aware that he also gave the site of the City Hospital which became known as Hospital Hill, to the people of Kansas City.

Kansas City's General Hospital, a purely charitable institution under municipal control, had its beginnings in 1870 in a small frame building at 22nd Street and McCoy. (Today McCoy is called Kenwood Avenue.) By 1875 there were three frame structures with inferior accommodations for 75 patients.

A brick building was erected in 1884 with provisions for 40 additional patients. The city council appropriated $25,00 in 1895 for hospital improvements. A frame building used for small-pox patients was destroyed and a two-story brick building constructed on the site. This building was remodeled in 1897 at an expense of $7,000 and in the rear was erected a clinical amphitheater with seats for 150 students. The city spent $3,500 in 1899 in erecting a one-story brick building for 45 tubercular patients. The old hospital had a capacity of 175, but often held 200.

The new City Hospital pictured on the 1908 post card was designed by architects Root & Siemens and Fred C. Gunn. The city had voted $225,000 in bonds, but the architects reported that this amount was not enough for a modern fireproof hospital adequate to the city's future needs. Plans were changed making it a $400,000 structure with provision for twice the number of beds originally specified. The cost above the bond issue was taken from the general revenues.

The building shown was under construction some three years but was at last ready for occupancy in 1908. It was five stories high and fireproof. There was a ventilating system which washed the air and there were sun parlors for the convalescents. The kitchen was complete and modern, and all in all the completion of the hospital was the realization of a dream come true. Best of all, it had the facilities to care for 350 patients.

A story in The Star Sept. 20, 1908, with an artist's sketch of the new hospital similar to that on the old post card, describes the facility: The hospital faces west on Robert Gillham road, where the thoroughfare broadens into a parkway. Twenty-third Street is on the north side of the building, 24th Street on the south and McCoy Avenue on the east.

The hospital has an ice plant with a daily capacity of 1,000 pounds of ice. The building has an electric light plant and a complete laundry. Two electric elevators have been installed. The vacuum cleaning system will be used. The private switchboard has connection with 32 telephones in the building.

The floors are hardwood laid on concrete and the window sills marble. The corners on the floor are round. In summertime the air will be cooled and in the winter heated. The building will be heated by hot blast and steam, the degree of warmth to be regulated by thermostat.

To the right of the main entrance a bronze tablet was erected honoring Colonel Swope and to the left of the entrance a bronze tablet bore this inscription:

Built by the people of Kansas City, her officials, her physicians, her architects, her artisans -- each doing his part with loving thought of the good uses of these buildings.

Today the city hospital, as pictured, stands unused and empty. Kansas City's General Hospital moved in December 1976 to new quarters and with a new name, Truman Medical Center, 2301 Holmes. Nearby, on an expanded Hospital Hill, are Childrens' Mercy Hospital, UMKC School of Dentistry, University of Missouri School of Medicine and Western Missouri Mental Health Center.

Kansas City Times
August 18, 1978

AuthorRay, Mrs. Sam (Mildred)
Item TypePostcard
CollectionMrs. Sam Ray Postcard Collection (SC58)
See finding aid: http://localhistory.kclibrary.org/u?/Local,36981
Local SubjectHospitals
City Hospital
Digital FormatJPEG
RepositoryMissouri Valley Special Collections, Kansas City Public Library, Kansas City, Missouri
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