DuBOIS — All are welcome to take a tour of the former Maple Avenue Hospital from 1-3 p.m. Sunday at 635 Maple Ave., DuBois. The original building will be coming down in the near future to make way for the expansion of the Behavioral Health Services at Penn Highlands DuBois East.
The newer part of PH DuBois East will not be affected. Behavioral Health Services that are provided there will not be impacted.
To take the self-guided tour, use the North Wing Entrance which overlooks the DuBois Beaver Meadow Walkway. That was original front door of the building. Signs with information from the DuBois Area Historical Society will indicate what various areas were.
The hospital turned 100 this October.
“In 1912, the City of DuBois was growing so rapidly in a few years the population had grown to over 15,000 persons. The towns and mining communities surrounding were also growing in population,” Dr. Ralph Marsh, a DuBois historian, wrote. “The need arose for a great expansion in hospital facilities. There were about 36 beds available in the DuBois Hospital, grossly inadequate for the needs of the community.”
On April 24, 1912, the City Hospital Association of DuBois was created. They offered to buy the DuBois Hospital to expand it, but that didn’t happen.
A committee was appointed to draw up a set of bylaws, rules and regulations for a new hospital, including the plan to build a new hospital and fees to charge.
“John E. DuBois donated the land east of the B & S Railroad and north of Maple Avenue,” Marsh said. Through fundraising, committee member donations and a loan, $55,037 was expended on the hospital by May 1917, and another $15,000 on furnishings in December 1917.
On July 5, 1918, the name Maple Avenue Hospital was chosen instead of City Hospital. Medical staff was hired along with other employees.
The hospital opened on Oct. 8, 1918 –10 days earlier than the planned opening due to “the severe epidemic of Spanish influenza raging in the city,” Marsh noted.
The first administrator was Cora Lindauff, also the head nurse. She was followed by a Miss White in 1919 and then Susan Heizenreiter in 1920 and then Miss Small and Miss Long. A mainstay at the hospital was Dr. W.A. Houck, also known as “the Dean of the Medical Profession,” along with Dr. Theodore Kline, according to notes from the hospital history.
In May 1920, the nurses’ home and school was built next door through donations from Phebe Reed Tyler. The school ran from 1920-32 when state regulations became too complicated.
An East Wing was added in 1952. It added 15 general medical and surgical beds. The fundraiser that helped with that wing also added maternity beds, nursery and delivery rooms and a dietary area.
Also in 1952, the Clara Hall Service League was launched to encourage young women to actively participate in auxiliary projects.
In 1964, the North Wing addition – consisting of four operating rooms, a seven-bed recovery unit, a work room and 22 patient beds was added.
Despite the expansion, volumes were so high that emergency cases overflowed into hallways. In June 1965, an expansion was planned. Through donations from the area and Glenn and Ruth Mengle, the Mengle Wing was built in 1967. This added 40 beds, a new Emergency Room, and new X-ray and Laboratory areas.
Maple Avenue was also the home of the region’s first Neonatal Intensive Care Unit in 1977. The outpatient renal dialysis unit opened in 1980.
In the 1980s, Project 80 started. It was expansion that is now the newer part of the hospital. This additional 47,600 square feet was used to move the NICU and Maternity Unit out of the first floor of the original hospital. It also housed the Operating Room, new X-ray, Pediatrics Unit, Lab and Cardiopulmonary and later, a Short Stay Unit and an Xpress Care.
In 1985, Maple Avenue Hospital and DuBois Hospital combined forces to create DuBois Regional Medical Center – today’s Penn Highlands DuBois. Through the years, changes and expansion at PH DuBois West allowed for services to be pooled and moved.
Today, the older part of the hospital – that will be removed – houses offices that support but are not involved in direct patient care. Staff will be moved to various areas throughout PH DuBois. The newer part of hospital will remain untouched and continue to provide valuable Behavioral Health Services.
Anyone with old photos of this building – inside or out – or of past staff, is asked to please bring it to the open house. Someone will be able to make a copy on site to possibly display later.