Focus on History: The Fort Hamilton Hospital

Mercy Hospital had been on the East Side of Hamilton since 1892, but the deadly Spanish flu epidemic of 1918 helped arouse community interest in a second hospital in Hamilton. Known as the Protestant Hospital and the Martha Washington Hospital in its early formative stages, the drive for a second Hamilton hospital gained momentum in January 1925 with formation of a 21-member Butler County Welfare Club that sought local pledges for land and construction. That group evolved into the Fort Hamilton Hospital Association.

On February 26, 1926, a meeting was held in St. John Evangelical Church to ellect officers for the Fort Hamilton Hospital Association.  They included: Rev. C.L. Langerhans, Peter Benninghofen, Rev. C.F.W. Allwardt, James Bell, Mis Eleanore Frechtling and Fred Hinkle.

Later in the year a membership drive was organized and 4,000 men and women signed up as members.  A financial campaign was begun in March of 1926 and $500,000 was pledged by 8,500 persons.

The Association bought 56 lots on Eaton Avenue in 1926. Contracts were awarded in November 1927 and the 142-bed Fort Hamilton Hospital admitted its first patient May 1, 1929.

Opening Day.

In 1972, Fort Hamilton Hospital merged with the adjacent Hughes Memorial Hospital. The combined institution was know for several years as Fort Hamilton-Hughes Hospital. Eugene Howard (Robin) Hughes, a resident of Liberty Township, directed in his will that the remainder of his estate be used “for the ultimate purpose of founding and establishing . . . a hospital for contagious diseases,” known as the Eugene H. Hughes Memorial Hospital for Contagious Diseases.”

Hughes, a retired banker, died in 1939, but litigation delayed his gift for more than 10 years. His bequest totaled $1.7 million when hospital construction started in June 1950. After an open house July 25-27, 1952, the 88-bed hospital started service with the care of tuberculosis patients as one of its prime missions. It was built on the southwest corner of Haldimand and Progress avenues, adjacent to Fort Hamilton Hospital.

The merger of the two hospitals was approved in December 1971, effective the next year. The combined hospitals were known as Fort Hamilton-Hughes Hospital (or Medical Center).

A major rebuilding of the facility was completed in the 1970s. Effective July 1, 1998, the facility was renamed Fort Hamilton Hospital. On that date, the hospital became part of the Health Alliance of Greater Cincinnati. Others hospitals in the alliance included University, Jewish, Christ and St. Luke in the Greater Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky area, plus related health services. With the closing of Mercy Hospital in Hamilton June 1, 2001, Fort Hamilton expanded facilities and services, investing more than $32 million from 2000 to 2003.

Jim Blount’s Butler County Place Names database
The Cummins Collection

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