Last updated: July 24. 2013 2:32PM - 231 Views

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Frank Lewis

PDT Staff Writer

For 80 years Mercy Hospital served the Scioto County community on Kinney’s Lane in Portsmouth. Now on March 1 at 1 p.m., Portsmouth Mayor David Malone will have a ceremony at Kinneys’ Lane and Oakland Avenue co-naming Oakland Avenue as “Mercy Hospital Way.”

Ginny Wagner, a nurse at Mercy Hospital who has kept in regular touch with around 180 former Mercy nurses, said she is trying to notify as many of the nurses and doctors as she can, but it is difficult.

“I need help in reaching all the people involved with Mercy Hospital to invite them,” Wagner said. “There is nothing that says that Mercy Hospital ever existed in that area. I am proud of Mercy Hospital and our school of nursing. We were an excellent hospital.”

The Mercy Hospital Clinic opened on May 24, 1921. It was located at 1031 Gallia Street in a private home. It was located in the heart of the business section of the city. It was dissolved in 1925.

On June 15, 1921 Mercy Hospital, with a capacity of 27 beds, was opened in the former Baron homestead. The building had been remolded and an extension had been added. A School of Nursing was begun in October of the same year. Sister Blandina Schmitt was the superintendency until 1927.

On May 1, 1924 a five story 50-bed building was opened. In 1952 the south wing was completed, which brought the capacity to 150 beds. In 1966 the new west wing was opened with a new chapel and surgical area and capacity of 200 beds.

In June 1952 Madonna Hall was completed to meet the demand for nurses training. However, as a result of financial pressures and difficulty in securing qualified faculty, Mercy’s School of Nursing was phased out in 1963. At that time, a total of 378 nurses had been graduated.
The Order of St. Francis of Assisi from Rochester Minnesota was responsible for the growth and beginning of Mercy Hospital. The Order sold Mercy Hospital in 1981 for $10.6 million dollars. Mercy was torn down in late 2001, and is now a “Grassy Knoll.”
Wagner said the last class will be celebrating 50 years since graduating in 1963 in September 2013 at their annual banquet.
Portsmouth City Council recently voted unanimously to co-name the street where the facility was located for so many years.

Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 252, or at flewis@civitasmedia.com

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