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C&O Hospital, 1900-1917

Time Capsule-Historic Images and Recollections ()

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The Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad operated a hospital in this location between 1900 and 1971. The hospital served employees of the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad and their families, offering free or low-cost healthcare services. Prior to 1960, C&O workers and their families could travel to the hospital at no charge, making the C&O Hospital a regional healthcare provider for railroad employees and their families.

C&O Hospital Postcard
C&O Hospital
C&O Rail Station
C&O Railroad Shops
Chesapeake Magazine
Dr. R.J. Wilkerson, C&O physician

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The Chesapeake and Ohio Hospital Association was established and organized on November 1, 1897.  The C&O Railroad established hospitals throughout its rail line to provide the railroad’s workers and families with healthcare and medicine at little cost. The hospitals maintained separate units for African-American workers.  A dispensary for prescriptions was established in Huntington, West Virginia in 1897.

The Huntington C&O Hospital opened in 1900 in a home located on 6th Avenue and 18th Street.  Rising demand for medical services allowed for the construction of a new building for the Huntington C&O Hospital across the street from the old facility.  The new hospital was four-stories tall with a basement.  It maintained eighty beds.  The old hospital building received renovations and became an annex for the African-American ward, the contagious ward, kitchens, staff dining rooms, incinerators, and laundry rooms.  The Huntington C&O Hospital contained an x-ray department, an obstetrical floor, laboratories, private examination rooms, an otolaryngology (ear, nose, and throat) department, and pharmacy.  The medical staff of the Huntington C&O Hospital compiled reports of the hospital, including patient ailments and treatments, and published these as The Bulletin of The Staff of The Chesapeake and Ohio Hospital of Huntington, West Virginia

The Huntington C&O Hospital also maintained a training school for nurses.  Applicants to the nursing school were required to be educated women between the ages of 18 and 35.  The nursing school consisted of three years of instruction through lectures, demonstrations, and classes.  The nursing students received training in surgical, medical, and gynecological care.  The nursing school was affiliated with the Cincinnati General Hospital in Cincinnati, Ohio, which allowed senior students to complete four months of training in pediatrics and obstetrics at that institution.

The C&O Hospital system worked well to provide the railroad’s employees with affordable healthcare until 1960 when quality healthcare became more accessible so that the employees did not have to travel long distances to be treated at company hospitals and with the closure of rail passenger service on C&O lines, employees could no longer use the company’s free passes to travel to C&O hospitals.  After the Huntington C&O Hospital closed, the building remained vacant.  In 1971, the building became the Doctors’ Memorial Hospital in honor of physicians Ray R. Hagley, H.D. "Pete" Proctor, and Joseph E. Chambers who lost their lives in the 1970 Marshall University plane crash.  Three years later the building was used to house Marshall University’s newly established medical school.  As new facilities were built for the school, the old C&O Hospital building was no longer needed.  The building was demolished in 2001 to provide parking spaces for Marshall University students. 

Sources

Chesapeake and Ohio Lines Magazine, July 1930. Chesapeake and Ohio Hospital Association papers (1897-1979). Marshall University Manuscript Collection. Huntington, WV. This magazine provides information about the C&O Railroad and the C&O Hospitals in rail towns. MU Regional Photo Collection. Box 5, folders 22-24. Marshall University Manuscript Collection. Huntington, WV. This collection contains photographs and postcards of buildings in Huntington, West Virginia. Photo of Dr. R.J. Wilkerson. Chesapeake and Ohio Hospital Association papers (1897-1979). Marshall University Manuscript Collection. Huntington, WV. This is a photography of Dr. R.J. Wilkerson, who was a physician for the C&O hospital. “Report of the Chief Surgeon of the First Year’s Operations of the Chesapeake and Ohio Hospital Association (January 31, 1899)”. Chesapeake and Ohio Hospital Association papers (1897-1979). Marshall University Manuscript Collection. Huntington, WV. This report focuses on the operation of the C&O Hospital in 1898. It includes information on patient treatment, physician and nurse salaries, operational costs, and supplies used. Sparkmon, William R. The Chesapeake & Ohio Railway in West Virginia: Huntington Division. Alderson: C&O Historical Society, 1988. In this book, William R. Sparkmon focuses on how the C&O Railroad came to Huntington, West Virginia, and its effect on the city. Stevens, Geo. W. “Chesapeake and Ohio Railway Co., Office of the General Manager (Geo. W. Stevens) Circular” (October 20, 1897). Chesapeake and Ohio Hospital Association papers (1897-1979). Marshall University Manuscript Collection. Huntington, WV. This document focuses on the day-to-day operations of the C&O Railroad. It contains an article concerning the opening of the C&O Hospital in Huntington, West Virginia. Stevens, Geo. W. “Chesapeake and Ohio Railway Co., Office of the General Manager (Geo. W. Stevens) Hospital Circular” (April 1, 1898). Chesapeake and Ohio Hospital Association papers (1897-1979). Marshall University Manuscript Collection. Huntington, WV. This document contains an article concerning the C&O Hospital in Huntington, West Virginia. The Bulletin of the Staff of the Chesapeake and Ohio Hospital Huntington, West Virginia 1, no. 1 (November 1936). Chesapeake and Ohio Hospital Association papers (1897-1979). Marshall University Manuscript Collection. Huntington, WV. This document is a collection of doctors' notes from the C&O Hospital in Huntington, West Virginia. These contain information concerning patient treatments and diagnoses.

Address
6th Ave and 18th Street
Huntington, West Virginia 25701
Tags
  • Architecture and Historical Buildings
  • Labor History
  • Medicine and Mental Health
  • Railroads and Transportation
This location was created on 2014-12-09 by Jennifer Gehringer .   It was last updated on 2016-03-28 by Clio Admin .

This entry has been viewed 835 times within the past year

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