WHS Washington Hospital and the WHS School of Nursing are turning 125 years old.

Throughout the year we will be celebrating our history, the growth and evolution of our independent health system over the years, our generous and supportive community members, and our dedicated staff members.

1927 private room

Then and Now A look back at private rooms. 

This photo is an example of a private room inside WHS Washington Hospital when we first opened the “new hospital” on Wilson Ave in 1927!

Even back then we tried to make you feel at home, which is what we also tried to incorporate in our newly renovated rooms inside the CARE Center for Family Birth and Women’s Health! Take an online tour of this new unit here: whs.org/carecenter

As you can see, we have been patient centered from the very start.

In 1997, WHS celebrated our 100 year anniversary . 

Here is a look back at a video created to showcase the history of WHS during the centennial celebration.

125 Years of Excellence Built by Philanthropy

  • May 25, 1897

    May 25, 1897

    The Court of Common Pleas issued a charter “for the purpose of providing medical and surgical aid, nursing and care for the sick and injured, indigent or otherwise; and for the proper training of
    nurses for the sick and injured; the maintenance of a free dispensary, for the supplying of necessary medicines and relief of indigent sick persons; and the acquiring of such lands, buildings, and equipment as may be necessary for the accommodation and relief of such objects of benevolence and charity.”

    With this charter, Dr. Jesse Y. Scott launched a modern hospital, signifying the community’s progress. The first Washington Hospital building, located on Acheson Avenue, was a farmhouse formerly owned by the A.W. Acheson family. The brick farmhouse was converted into five private rooms and two wards.

    The Washington Hospital Training School for Nurses was established atthe same time.

  • 1905


    The Pennsylvania State Government Community matched community donations of $10,000. This funded a fourth floor with eight additional patient wards and 10 private rooms. Also added were an operating room, receiving room, anesthesia room, orderly room, morgue, detention room, three bathrooms and three toilet rooms. This addition allowed the hospital to better serve the community.

  • 1921


    City Hospital merged with The Washington Hospital, which had grown to several buildings and 110 beds.

  • 1924


    As the Roaring ’20s brought prosperity across the U.S., a fundraising committee announced a $500,000 campaign to construct a new hospital building. John L. Stewart, then-president of  Observer Publishing Company, led the campaign. In just eight days, the community gave $600,000. Additionally, the Wilson Development Company donated a seven-acre tract for the hospital.

  • 1931


    As a result of four years of planning and a public fundraising campaign, the hospital opened a new four-story, 150-bed, brick hospital. The pride of the community, nearly 2,000 community members contributed to its construction.

    The Washington Hospital Auxiliary held the first Charity Ball. This popular social event continues benefiting the hospital to this day.

  • 1942


    In the wake of the Great Depression, $100,000 was needed to keep the hospital open. Generous donors liquidated hospital debts. Their kindness permitted the construction of the fifty-bed “A” Wing. A three-story nurses’ residence was also constructed.

  • 1956


    Hospital conditions became crowded in the early 1950s. Through the help of the Federal Government, construction of the $3.5 million “C” Wing took place. Inside were 109 additional beds and a modern operating room, maternity unit, X-ray facilities, laboratory, dining and kitchen facilities, and expanded emergency services.

  • 1962


    A fundraising campaign led to the completion of the “S” Wing, providing 153 additional beds and many new departments. The School of Nursing also expanded to provide space for additional students, and the new Hospitality and Gift Shop was added.

  • 1970


    Administrators purchased the 92-bed Washington Manor and converted it into an extended care facility.

  • 1971


    Expansion continued. This one added 20 new psychiatric beds, a 12-bed Cardiac Intensive Care Unit, Respiratory Care Department and physician offices.

  • 1972


    The hospital established a Family Practice Residency Program, becoming one of the first in Western PA.

  • 1983


    The Cardiac Diagnostic Center opened, offering sophisticated equipment and services.

  • 1984


    Construction was completed on the $5 million Neighbor Health Center. This off-campus facility featured a surgery day center, outpatient radiology, laboratory and EKG services. WHS Family Medicine Residency Program also moved in. The Board of Trustees approved the conversion of the hospital’s extended care facility to a chemical dependency hospital named Greenbriar Treatment Center.

  • 1986


    The Women’s Imaging Center opened, providing advanced mammography that offered early detection of breast cancer.

    A comprehensive Master Facility Plan was initiated to strengthen the hospital’s ability to fight cancer. $2.4 million in philanthropic donations supported the successful $2 million goal of Renewing Our Commitment.

  • 1989


    A gift from the community to the community, the $10.5 million WHS Cancer Center opened. Additionally, Waterdam Medical Plaza opened. The plaza housed physician offices, outpatient laboratory facilities, imaging services and respiratory therapy. The Children’s Therapy Center opened in a separate building.

  • 1992


    Campaign for the 21st Century raised $3.1 million to support construction of the “E” Wing.

  • 1994


    WHS Foundation, a 501(c)(3) charitable organization, was established to help financially support WHS through the community’s charitable giving.

  • 2000


    The Wilfred R. Cameron Wellness Center opened. It was the region’s first hospital-owned health, wellness and fitness center. A gift of $5 million—the largest philanthropic gift ever received by
    the Foundation—from Mr. and Mrs. Wilfred R. Cameron allowed the Wellness Center to be built.

  • 2002


    The Donnell House, the region’s first residential hospice facility, opened. The Campaign for Donnell House raised $3.2 million from more than 3,000 donors. Named for its benefactors, Richard and Shana Donnell, who made a lead gift of $750,000 from the Richard H. Donnell Foundation.

  • 2006


    The hospital partnered with UPMC Hillman Cancer Centers to operate its cancer treatment center as a 50/50 joint venture.

  • 2009


    Building On Our Promise, a $64 million expansion project, raised more than $11 million to build, equip and furnish the E. Ronald and Constance Salvitti Emergency Care Center, the Ralph B. and Carol J. Andy Critical Care Center, new operating rooms, and a new storeroom.

  • 2013


    The Washington Hospital became Washington Health System (WHS). Also, the Stout Conference Center, a state-of-the-art meeting facility and incident command center, opened its doors. Almost all $966,000 for the Stout Conference Center was provided through charitable gifts.

  • 2015


    WHS acquired Southwest Regional Medical Center in Waynesburg, Pa. This facility is now known as WHS Greene. The WHS Rice Energy Family Simulation Center opened. Inside, hands-on clinical learning takes place in a safe, controlled environment.

  • 2019


    The Families Begin Here Campaign raised more than $4 million. In August 2019, the CARE Center for Family Birth and Women’s Health opened to provide a beautiful, modern, secure space
    for women, babies and their families.