Before 1914, when a hospital stay was recommended or needed, a Person County citizen had to travel first to Richmond, Virginia and later to Raleigh or Durham to receive treatment or care.
In 1914, Dr. Charles Nichols opened the first hospital in Roxboro in his home. It had eight beds and an operating room. Surgeons came from Durham. Dr. Nichols died in 1918 and left the facility to his son, Dr. Austin Flint Nichols who operated the hospital for two more years until his private practice forced him to close.
Dr. G. W. Gentry, Sr. and Dr. W.C. Williams, an ear eye nose and throat specialist, who practiced in Person County for a short period, opened the Gentry-Williams Hospital in December 1937. They purchased the Dan Andrews house on Depot Street and converted it into an eighteen-bed facility with an operating room. Dr. Gentry operated the hospital until 1945 when he asked the county to take it over, and the Gentry-Williams Hospital became Community Hospital.
About this time the Lester Blackwell Post of the American Legion was looking for a suitable project to honor and memorialize Person County veterans. Ultimately, a committee chaired by Reginald L. Harris of Roxboro who at that time was lieutenant governor of North Carolina, determined that a new hospital would be the most appropriate memorial project. Fund raising began towards the end of 1945 and more than 3,500 donations ranging from five cents to $50,000 were received. It is told that chairman Harris returned at least one donation with a note that if that were all the donor could afford, the donor needed the money worse than the hospital. Fortunately for Person County, the donor responded with a significantly larger donation.
This new hospital cost $896.38.
Person County Memorial Hospital was dedicated September 10, 1950 at Roxboro High School because of rain. Patients were transferred from Community Hospital the next day.
In 1962-63, the nurse's dorm at the hospital was converted to a 23-bed skilled nursing facility with room for a physical therapy department, a respiratory therapy department and a medical records department.
In 1970, a portion of the hospital's first floor was converted into an intensive and coronary care unit and an addition was built to house administration, in-service education, purchasing and storage.
February 1981 saw the dedication of a new $750,000 laboratory-radiology complex.
Through the years the hospital served the community well, but as the community grew and the hospital building aged, it became apparent that facility improvements were necessary. In 1985 a campaign began that raised the necessary funds for the renovation of the older facility and construction of a new building at a cost of $7.5 million. New construction was added to the front of the then existing hospital and housed the medical/surgical unit, laboratory, surgical suite, gift shop and reception/lobby area.
Later construction provided a new kitchen and cafeteria, administrative suite, OB/GYN unit and involved renovation for additional extended care unit beds and activity space.
In 2009, the hospital completed a renovation and expansion project of the Intensive Care Unit, the Emergency Department, and the Surgical Suites. This latest improvement emphasizes the hospital’s adherence to its vision to provide progressive facilities, technology and programs that maximize the effectiveness of our medical staff.
It is because of these past construction and renovation projects that this facility so capably serves the people of Person County. It is imperative that our hospital maintains it’s competitive edge and continues to construct and renovate to meet the communities medical needs and expectations.
We hope our first Trustees approve.
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