Daviess Community Hospital History
Serving Washington, IN since 1913
In 1911, a women’s group started a community movement to create a
hospital in the city of Washington after witnessing the fate of a traveler
who was struck by a train on which they were riding. The traveler experienced
serious injuries resulting in the amputation of a leg in a local physician’s
office. There was no hospital in Washington, so he recuperated in the
county jail, inspiring the women to begin a movement to build a hospital
After two years of hard work, the Daviess County Hospital of Washington,
Indiana was incorporated on June 13, 1913. The purpose of the hospital
was to provide for the care and treatment of sick, injured, and disabled
persons, but not for pecuniary profit. The first Board Members were Henry
F. Vollmer, Robert J. Barr, Carl R. Semans, Elisha L. Hatfield, Louis
I. Read, L. A. Van Osdol, Miles G. O’Neill, Paris A. Hastings, W.F.
Axtel, and Josiah G. Allen, President. Mr. Allen, a local attorney, continued
to serve as Board President for the next 25 years.
After the organization of the hospital and the appointment of the first
Board of Directors, an effort was made to secure a building. At that time,
the heirs of Margaret Graham were the owners of the orphans’ home
building, formerly used by the county, but later abandoned and returned
to Mrs. Graham’s estate. Upon the assurance that the hospital would
be maintained in the building, the Graham heirs conveyed the property
to the Daviess County Hospital. Donors furnished the hospital’s
first 21 rooms and purchased hospital equipment. The first donor to the
hospital was Mrs. Helen Winton and the money provided for a room for the
B & O railroaders.
Private donations were used to establish a building fund for the hospital.
In 1915, Matilda M. Wilson, widow of local dentist Dr. Nelson Wilson,
provided inspiration to others after her will devised to the City of Washington
the sale of two pieces of property with proceeds to be used for hospital
development purposes. By order of Judge James W. Ogdon, the property was
sold and a sizable gift of $7,000 was received from her estate. With gifts
and bequests from Elizabeth Hogshead, John Daugherty, and T.A. Ackley,
a hospital building fund quickly grew to $25,000.
In 1926, the property was changed to Daviess County property and the commissioners
erected the first annex, increasing the hospital’s size to 40 beds.
Miss Vere (Harlan) Routt, superintendent of the hospital, received visitors
at the open house on November 19, 1926. Ten years later, a second annex
was built at a cost of $52,545, none of which was borne by the taxpayers.
The 20th Century
The demand for more services and improved medical procedures accelerated
in the mid 20th century. In 1959, the hospital served the 100,000th patient
and recorded 4,801 admissions, 827 births, and 36,889 patient days. In
1963, visitors jammed the hospital to inspect a new addition, equipped
with elevators, a chapel, a business office, new surgery and recovery
rooms, X-ray equipment, new labor beds, an ultra-modern nursery, parking
areas, televisions, dial telephones, and built in air-conditioning. The
hospital employed 235 persons and Miss Beulah Russell was the Director
of Nurses. Officers of the Medical Staff included Dr. Robert H. Rang,
Dr. Horace Norton, Dr. C. Philip Fox, Dr. Vance J. Chattin, Dr. Jack McKittrick,
and Dr. Marshall Seat.
In 1976, development of an expansion project to replace patient rooms began.
Members of the Medical Staff were actively involved in planning for the
new units and included Dr. James Barrett, Dr. Robert L. Heymann, Dr. James
Beck, Dr. Hamlin Lindsay, Dr. Charles Cullion, Dr. Thomas Davis, Dr. Robert
Fraser, and Dr. Glenn Ross. The $4.5 million expansion project opened
in 1979 and essentially replaced all patient room facilities. It added
new third and fourth floor nursing units with 60 patient beds in modern
two-bed rooms that featured private lavatories and plug-ins for oxygen,
gas, suction and nurse’s call. The project also added new operating
rooms and expanded the emergency room.
The 21st Century
At the beginning of the 21st century, a major construction project created
a path for the hospital into the new century. The $30 million project
included a 42,000 square foot addition and 41,000 square feet of renovated
and refurbished space. “Planning for the landmark project included
a look at the present and future of healthcare,” said Becky Kremp,
Board President. The result was a dramatic new lobby; comfortable admitting
offices; private patient rooms; new department facilities for Rehabilitation
Therapies, Lab, Surgery, Food Services, Pharmacy, Surgery, Cardiopulmonary,
and Emergency Services; a helipad; and a Women’s Health Center.