With manufacturers, mills, quarries, farms, and railroads present throughout the county, accidental injuries were on the rise in the late 19th century. To provide timely medical attention to people living near Norristown, Montgomery Hospital opened on Juanuary 1, 1891.
Painting of Charity Hospital
Originally known as Norristown Hospital ad Dispensary and then Charity Hospital, Montgomery Hospital was non-profit, relying on donors for financial support. One of the hospital's most reliable partners was the Alan Wood Steel Company, which provided ambulances and salaries for ambulance staff.
Montgomery Hospital was also well known for its nurse training school. Openning on April 1, 1893, the school was one of the earliest nurse training programs in the county. Students were required to work with octors and patients in Montgomery Hospital to complete their certification. Some students even received training at Norristown State Hospital. Although the school produced hundreds of certified nurses, it was no match for Montgomery Hospital's looming financial troubles. The nursing school closed in 1975. The hospital itself closed in September 2012 and was soon replaced by Einstein Medical Center.
Painting of Sacred Heart Hospital by E. M. Law
Sacred Heart Hospital
Sacred Heart Hospial was founded by the Missionary Sisters of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. The Sisteres were part of a Roman Catholic religious order originally founded in Germany in 1900. Arriving in the United States in 1908, the Sisters settled in Norristown. They converted a home into a non-profict, acute-care general hospital and admitted their first patient on Ocotober 12, 1936.
Painting of Nurse's Building at Sacred Heart by Oliver Grimley
After several expansions, Sacred Heart started experiencing financial troubles in the late 1900s. These expansion projects forced the hospital to acquire long-term debt. With competition from two other non-profit acute care community hospitals in the Norristown area (Montgomery and Suburban General), acquiring funds was difficult. Additionally, there were twety-nine other acute care hospitals within a fifteen mile radius of Norristown. With a greater emphasis on outpatient cennters and people moving away from Norristown, the demand for hospitals dropped significantly in the latter half of the twentieth century. Failing to pay back their loans, Sacred Heart officially filed for bankruptcy in 1998.
In the case is a plastic hospital sign from Montgomery Hospital (center), a brick from Montgomery Hospital (bottom left), and an EMS patch from Monntgomery Hospital (next to the brick). The papers in the bottom center are copies of papers from the polio ward at Montgomery Hospital. The nurse's cap and the red patch in the bottom right corner are from Sacred Heart Hospital. Towards the top of the case (from left to right) is a photograph from Montgomery Hospital's children's ward, buttons from Sacred Heart Hospital, and a photo from Sacred Heart Hospital.