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Huntsville Hospital celebrates 125th anniversary

Updated: Dec. 4, 2020 at 8:22 PM CST
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - It all started in 1895 when the community saw a need...

“A group of ladies called the ‘United Charities’ decided that we needed a healthcare system of some sort,” says Burr Ingram, Huntsville Hospital’s Vice President of Communications and Marketing. “We needed a place where people could be taken care of.”

Thanks to that community effort, Huntsville Hospital was born — starting in a house on Mill Street before moving to its own building in 1926.

Community is what would carry Huntsville Hospital through trying times in the coming years, including the Great Depression.

“We’ve been open for 125 years,” says Ingram. “We came close to closing it a couple of times, but we didn’t have to close it because the community came to our rescue.”

Community support would again prove crucial just a few years later when Huntsville’s population tripled and prepared for battle.

“Right before World War II, the community was no more than 12 to 14,000 people,” says Ingram. “So, when the war occurred, the arsenal was established, and the population blew up.”

Moving into the late 50s, another big establishment caused Huntsville to grow - the development of NASA.

“The city took off,” says Ingram. “We went from being a town of 12 to 14,000 to many, many thousands more, and we have been on a rocket path ever since.”

Huntsville Hospital would continue to grow alongside the community, establishing a neonatal unit and cardiac cath lab in the 70s, adding a Medical Mall and Women and Children’s Hospital in the ’90s and regionalizing care across the Tennessee Valley in the years to come.

“You have hospitals from literally the Tennessee line down to Marshall County... almost over to Georgia almost to Mississippi,” says Ingram.

The growth has only continued, even up to this year when Huntsville Hospital opened a Fever and Flu Clinic.

“It did not exist in early March,” says Ingram.

By mid-March, however, the clinic was up and running, ready to serve the community as it battled COVID-19. That’s what it’s always been about: community helping community.

“We have no stockholders,” says Ingram. “Everybody in our community is a part of our ownership because we belong to the community.”

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