Although 2007 marked the 47th Anniversary of the first patient admitted to Hamilton Memorial Hospital and the 37th Anniversary of the first resident admitted to Hamilton Memorial Nursing Center, the history of Hamilton Memorial Hospital District starts long prior to these two events.
Hamilton Memorial Hospital started with an idea and a belief that the citizens of Hamilton County deserved the services of a hospital in the county. Citizens of the county working under the guidelines of the Hospital District Act in 1957 began collecting petition signatures in 1957 calling for the creation of a hospital district. These petitions would eventually lead to an election to decide if the voters of Hamilton County wished that the Hamilton Memorial Hospital District be formed. Petitioners circulating petitions in 1957 included: Charles H. Browning, Parley P. Smith, Bernard L. Minton, Amedee House, E.A. Satterfield, Carl Huffstutler, Mary B. Leslie, Olivia Miller, Gertrude Graf, Jack Fields, Paul Flannigan, Earl Hampton, Kenneth E. Webb, Val Bethel, Vern Auxier, R. Lewis, V.E. Clark, Faye Sisk, Edward C. Buhrmester, Mildred McMahon, Alvin Knight, Robert K. Irvin, Estel Waldon, Clarence Higginson, Bernard Boyer, W.T. Maulding, Sam Atkinson, Edwin C. Frey, Donald J. Morris and Elmer Holland. The petitions were filed on June 4, 1957 and a hearing was held on July 13, 1957. The Court found that the legal number of signatures had been obtained, sufficient notice and publication given and it therefore was ordered that an election be held on Saturday, September 14, 1957. An election was held and the results of the election were canvassed on September 20, 1957 with the results that 2,680 voters voted “Yes” and 726 voted “No”. Therefore, Judge Charles Jones ordered that the territory comprising all the County of Hamilton, except that that part of the Village of Macedonia, which lies within the County of Franklin, shall henceforth be an organized Hospital District under the Hospital District Law and named Hamilton Memorial Hospital District.
The original Board was appointed on September 26, 1957 and consisted of Ivan E. Colclasure, Hugh Dolan, Frank Garrett, Clemence Rubenacker, Warner Anderson, F.F. Aydt, W.E. Shuster, Charles Mitchell and Carl Launius. The Board held its first meeting on October 4, 1957 at the Courthouse in McLeansboro. A tremendous amount of work and effort was involved in organizing the District and much more would take place before the first patient would be admitted in 1960.
The first actions of the Board taken in October 1957 including passing Ordinances to set the District’s territorial limits, establishing a corporate seal, establishing a fiscal year, passing Bylaws, establishing the District as a Municipal Corporation and setting out its powers, and passing the annual Appropriations Ordinance. The Board then began work upon its primary purpose which was to establish a Hospital in Hamilton County. Specifications were drawn up, an architect hired and advertisements for bids for the construction of a hospital were published. It took almost 1 ½ years for acceptable bids to be obtained and the bids for construction were accepted on February 18, 1959. Again, it would be another year of work before the first patient could be admitted. The first patient was admitted on May 20, 1960. The Hospital was constructed with the assistance of a Hill/Burton Grant and through the use of General Obligation Bonds.