History Page

1913 – The Methodist Men’s Brotherhood Society confirms that the need for a hospital exists and in August signs a charter. Julia Cutler’s 10-room house on Mount Vernon Street is leased for two years.

1914 – Springfield Hospital opens on February 26. An open house is held on March 5 with 700 people registered. It has beds for 7 patients and 1 staff. There is a possibility for four more beds on the third floor. By March, it has five patients. The first Superintendent is Isaline Davis, R.N. from Massachusetts General Hospital.

By December, Springfield Hospital has helped 114 patients, and doctors have performed 65 surgeries. Talk of building a new hospital with more capacity begins.

1915 – The Spanish Influenza slows progress of fundraising for new hospital.

1916 – Springfield Hospital is operating close to capacity with 16 patients, demonstrating the need for new facility with 40 beds. A frightening aspect of the day-to-day affairs of the hospital is that because of crowding, patients are being etherized in the halls, and the fumes spread through the building, having a depressing effect on other patients.

1917 – $30,000 is raised by prominent local businessman A.W. Snip LaFountain for a new building.

In July, a site for a new hospital is chosen on Summer Street but rejected when businessman Henry J. Whitcomb donates his summer house and six acres on Ridgewood Road.

1918 – In September, Springfield Hospital registers 300 cases of the Spanish influenza. By mid-October, there are more than 1,000.

The Hospital Aid Association forms to support the hospital by purchasing linens and hospital equipment. Its committees help keep supplies in order.

World War I ends.

1920 – In January, the estimated cost of a new hospital building is $100,000 for 20 beds. A fund-raising campaign has a goal of $125,000 goal and by April 1 has raised $108,000. By June, ground is broken.

1922 – On June 30, Springfield Hospital opens on Ridgewood Road at a cost of $200,000. By November, it is already full with 32 beds occupied.

1923 – The original hospital building on Mount Vernon Street is sold at auction for $3,000.

1927 – Springfield Hospital serves 503 patients annually. Its first X-ray machine is donated by Mrs. Edwin Fellows. The annual Springfield Town Report notes that the hospital’s greatest need is for electric refrigeration.

1928 – Springfield Hospital reports that its greatest needs are for semi-private (2-bed) and single rooms.

1929 – Start of the Great Depression.

1930 – Springfield Hospital cares for 605 patients annually with a daily average of 16.

1932 – During the Depression, the ward rate drops from $19 to $15 per week.

1933 – Springfield Hospital almost closes because of a decline in patient income. It manages to stay open by taking out a mortgage and by hosting a subscription drive.

1938 – Springfield Hospital serves 780 patients annually. A new laundry system is put into use. The greatest needs are a children’s ward and an emergency room.

1940 – The six-bed maternity ward is frequently crowded. At one time there are 14 mothers staying there!

1941 – A new maternity section opens for patients.

1942 – World War II begins.

Springfield Hospital has 1,126 admissions annually and employs 25 staff members, including 17 nurses.

1944 – Springfield Hospital experiences staffing issues. It advises families not to send flowers because they lack the help to handle them!

1946 – One floor of hospital is closed because of a nursing shortage. The hospital has 1,976 admissions annually.

1947 – A new infant incubator and air conditioning unit for the delivery room is donated by Mrs. E.R. Fellows.

1950 – Springfield Hospital hosts its third annual fund drive to raise money to purchase X-ray equipment.

1951 – On Christmas Day, three babies are born at the hospital. The hospital building is very crowded with patients. There are 2,315 admissions annually. Room rates in a ward are $10/day; a semi-private room is $12.50/day and a private room is $15/day.

The Ellsworth Clinic opens in Chester.

1953 – Springfield Hospital proceeds with a major building expansion, constructing a two-story wing plus rearranging and modernizing the existing facilities. The cost is $1,250,000. $650,000 of that needed is raised by a local campaign. Mrs. E.R. Fellows contributes $75,000 and the three machine tool plants and Lovejoy Tool Company make a combined contribution of more than $250,000.

1954 – The Hospital Aid Association changes its name to the Springfield Hospital Auxiliary.

1955 – Portions of the old hospital are demolished. A cornerstone laying ceremony is held in December.

1957– Apple Blossom Cotillion begins.

In March, patients move into new wing, which includes a circus mural in the children’s playroom, designed by Springfield resident Stuart Eldredge. The new hospital wing is dedicated on November 3 and is filled to 100% capacity the same day.

1958 – Opening and dedication of prayer chapel.

1959 – Springfield Hospital opens the first Special Care Unit in the state

1960 – Wristband identification is put into use, a first for Vermont.

1963 – An anonymous friend donates a patient sun deck. The donor is later revealed to be Mrs. Fellows.

1964 – Springfield Hospital celebrates its 50th anniversary.

New outpatient psychiatric services are inaugurated.

1965 – Medicare begins.

Springfield Hospital constructs a new parking lot for 65 cars.

Charlestown Family Medicine opens.

1975 – Springfield Hospital hires its first nurse practitioner.

1976 – The Coronary Care Unit is established.

1978 – Groundbreaking ceremonies for $1.6 million expansion and renovation also known as the Modernization project.

1981– One-day surgery is introduced and the physical therapy program experiences dramatic growth from 4,936 visits in 1980 to 8,227 in 1981.

Construction begins on the Ridgewood Professional Building.

1982 – Springfield Medical Care Systems (SMCS) is established to position Springfield Hospital as a continuing, viable institution in a changing health care environment.

1983 -The Physical Therapy Pavilion opens.

1984 – Hospital physician Frederic Guilmette, M.D., receives the Distinguished Service Award of the Vermont Medical Society, the highest honor bestowed by the organization.

Mary Hurd becomes the first woman president of the Springfield Hospital Board of Directors.

1989 – Springfield Hospital celebrates its 75th anniversary with a modernization project, a highlight of which is a new Special Care Unit.

1990 – Springfield Hospital takes over the former space of the Rockingham Memorial Hospital and begins offering emergency care, physical therapy, and laboratory services. The facility would eventually include Rockingham Medical Group and a 12-bed adult inpatient psychiatric unit called The Windham Center.

1995 – Springfield Hospital acquires a new ultrasound diagnostic system, which is capable of producing real time images of tissue without invasive surgery.

1998 – The Precision Valley Free Clinic opens.

The hospital opens a new ambulatory care unit and chapel.

1999 – Springfield Hospital receives full accreditation from the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO).

2003 – Springfield Hospital posts 11,685 days of patient care, 12,641 emergency room visits, and 216 births.

2004 – Eileen Austin Neal, R.N., retires from Springfield Hospital after 64 years of service.

2005 – Springfield Hospital receives Critical Access Hospital designation.

2009 – Springfield Medical Care Systems receives “Federally Qualified Health Center” (FQHC) designation.

2011 – Ludlow Dental Center opens.

2012 – Springfield Health Center opens in the former Fellows Gear Shaper building at 100 River Street in Springfield. =

2013 – Springfield Hospital celebrates its 100th anniversary. Springfield Hospital receives VHA Leadership Award for Clinical Excellence. SMCS Receives 2013 Community Catalyst Award at SEVCA Annual Meeting. Timothy R. Ford named President and Chief Executive Officer of SMCS and Springfield Hospital.

2014 – Springfield Hospital recognized as one of the iVantage HEALTHSTRONG Top 100 Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs) in the United States. Springfield Hospital introduces 3D Tomosynthesis Breast Cancer Screening.  Delores Barbeau, MD, MPH, named Physician of the Year by the Vermont Chapter of the American Academy of Family Physicians. Mountain Valley Medical Clinic, Londonderry, VT, joins SMCS federally-qualified health center network.

2015 – Lane Eye Associates, Springfield, VT, joins SMCS federally-qualified health center network. SMCS earns National Quality Leader Award from U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.

2016 – Chester Family Dental opens on the campus of Chester Health Center.  SMCS receives grant funding to expand access in Charlestown, NH. SMCS earns two National Quality Leader Awards from U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Springfield Hospital replaces mobile MRI service with permanent MRI equipment.