Over 100 Years of Quality Care
On October 1, 1906, the first hospital in Watertown-St. Mary’s, opened to the public. Located on Main Street in the building formerly known as the Schiffler residence, the popularity of the hospital was evident from the start, backed by the fact it was filled to its capacity already on the second day after opening. The downstairs was devoted to a pretty lobby and reception room, nurses' rooms, a three-bed ward and the kitchen. The upstairs featured two wards with two beds and one with a single bed making twelve beds in total.
A New Building
On January 5, 1914 a sisterhood took over control of the hospital from the physicians and decided to erect a new building adjacent from the original hospital and connected by a structure which was used as a sun parlor. The great relationship between the community and the hospital, one which continues today, was evident during the construction and fundraising for the hospital. Although World War I took away from the fundraising for the new hospital, citizens were supportive by helping to furnish the rooms.
Building a hospital during a World War wasn’t easy but the project was completed towards the end of 1918. The equipment at the new hospital was said to be the best available at the time and second to none in the country. The quality of care provided at the hospital was known from miles away. No better testimonial could be given than that expressed by the head of a big Chicago hospital, who was called here during the prevalence of the Spanish influenza when his son-in-law was being cared for. He said: “Watertown should be proud of this splendid institution and should be proud of the great and noble work being done by the sisterhood. It is as complete in every detail as one could wish for”.
Watertown Memorial Hospital
In 1956, the Missionary Sisters Servants of the Holy Ghost, which operated St. Mary's Hospital for the previous 42 years, decided to sell. A citizen’s meeting was held and a decision was made to form a hospital association to cope with whatever problems may arise from the sale. In 1957, the Watertown Hospital Association was formed and officers were elected.
In 1960 the board made the recommendation to build a new hospital with the aid of funds under the federal Hill-Burton Act, which makes available federal funds to assist communities in erecting hospital buildings. In 1961 the hospital was offered to the Watertown Hospital Association and the City ofWatertown, a transaction that was completed in 1964 and ended with a change of name to Watertown Memorial Hospital.
In 1971 after more than a decade of planning, fundraising and building, a new, 120-bed, hospital was erected at its current location in the northeast part of the city, just beyond the highway 16 by-pass.
Partnership with LifePoint Health
After years of additions, including the most recent additions of Harvest Market and the state-of-the-art Emergency and OB Departments, Watertown Memorial Hospital joined forces with LifePoint Health and became Watertown Regional Medical Center.
As part of the joint venture, LifePoint Health owns 80 percent of the hospital, while WRMC and the community will retain a 20 percent ownership stake. Proceeds from the joint venture transaction were used to pay off WRMC’s existing financial obligations, and the remaining assets were used to create a substantial charitable foundation focused on community health.
Affiliation with LifePoint Health enables Watertown Regional Medical Center to envision a future of continued growth while maintaining a commitment to Making Communities Healthier.