Though Community Hospital Anderson officially opened in May of 1962, its history really began in 1954 with the formation of the Anderson Hospital Development Committee, chaired by Dr. Gordon B. Wilder. This committee employed Hamilton Associates, nationally recognized hospital consultants, to survey the hospital needs of Madison County. The results of their survey indicated that a new hospital should be built on the northwest side of Anderson. In 1957, 21 acres of land were purchased on North Madison Avenue, which would become the future site of the new hospital.
In order to pay for the new hospital, as well as make facility improvements at St. John’s Hickey Memorial Hospital, the community was challenged to raise $3 million. Of this, $2.5 million would go toward the construction of the new hospital and St. John’s would receive the remaining $500,000. Due to the generous outpouring of community support, $3.14 million was pledged to the Anderson-Madison County Hospital Building Program. Pledges from over 17,500 individuals, along with significant gifts from major corporations like General Motors and donations from smaller businesses resulted in a successful campaign. Many employees pledged one hour’s pay per month for three years.
As plans for the new hospital were underway, it became apparent that additional funds would be needed to build a “state-of-the-art” facility with the latest features, such as air-conditioning. In addition, while the original plans only called for three patient floors, it was felt that additional patient rooms would be needed in the near future. As a result, the hospital needed to be constructed in such a way that additional floors could be added.
Due to this need for more funding, “Project Plus” was launched with a goal of raising $750,000. As with the original campaign, the residents and businesses of Madison County again responded generously, and the goal was reached.
Groundbreaking for the new hospital took place on April 8, 1960. The Dedication Ceremony took place two years later on April 29, 1962, with Dr. Wilder, chairman of the original Development Committee, serving as the Master of Ceremonies.
The administrative staff, headed by administrator Gordon S. Boughton, moved into the hospital in February of 1962 to begin the process of making the hospital ready for operation. The first patient was admitted on May 31, 1962, and the first surgery was performed on June 1. The first baby was born on July 15.
As expected, the need for more beds resulted in two additional floors being built in 1967. The original layout of the hospital remained intact until the new patient tower was built in 1985. One of the special features of this building program was private-rooms for patients – a welcome addition for those who had experienced the traditional semi-private rooms in the original hospital.
Over the years, the campus on Madison Avenue has grown as we have purchased additional land and constructed other buildings. In addition, we now have different types of facilities throughout Madison County. These include nursing homes, physician office buildings, an outpatient rehabilitation center, mental health center and urgent care facility.
In 1996, Community Hospital Anderson affiliated with Community Hospitals of Indiana, which eventually became Community Health Network.
Community Anderson celebrated 40 years of caring in 2002. While the history of the hospital certainly includes the buildings and campus that have continued to expand over the years, it is more than just bricks and mortar. Its history is actually more about the people – the employees, physicians and volunteers who have given so much to make Community Hospital Anderson a “community” hospital in the truest sense.
We look back over the past years with a sense of great pride and to the future with a renewed sense of caring for our community in even more profound ways.