Hospital Came to Be
In 1908, two local
physicians, Drs. Wheelwright and Schenck, were called to treat a patient on the
outskirts of Southampton Village. The case was so urgent they couldn’t take
time to move the patient to the closest hospital. So, by the light of a
kerosene lamp in a small attic room, they operated to save the life of a woman
who, in time, fully recovered.
That ordeal convinced the doctors that Southampton needed a place
where emergency operations could be performed in safety. They discussed the
problem with other local physicians and, after several months, they were all
determined to create a proper space for “modern” healthcare, complete with a
district or public health nurse who would tend to its patients. At a meeting on
August 22, 1908, those attending agreed to rent space for a nurse and a dispensary.
Nurse Charlotte Lillywhite was hired and moved into one of two
rooms rented in the Goodale house on Hampton Road. The adjoining second room
was fitted as an emergency room. The new venture was so successful that there
soon were cots lining the hall to accommodate patients. Three more rooms were
rented on the third floor, but within a few months, plans were underway for a
In 1909, the now-incorporated Southampton Hospital Association
bought the Hervey J. Topping house on the corner of Lewis Street and Meeting
House Lane, complete with adjoining land for a future hospital building. The
house was renovated, with much of the labor donated by community membets.
Generous financial support came from local and summer residents alike. Still,
demands for care and space continued to grow, and another house nearby had to
be rented to accommodate the overflow.
In 1911, the Southampton Hospital Association’s board of governors
decided to build a new, fireproof hospital on the vacant land they had bought.
Summer colonist George C. Clark was named to solicit funds from the summer
folk, and J. W. Fletcher Howell was to contact local residents. Samuel Parrish
offered a 2-1/2 acre tract of land on Old Town Road, from Meeting House Lane to
Herrick Road, and plans were changed to build on the new lot instead of the old
of nearly $35,000 were made to the building fund and famed society architect T.
Markoe Robertson donated the plans. Work began late in 1911, and the new
hospital opened to the public on Washington's Birthday, 1913. The building and
equipment cost about $60,000. It was fireproof, with thoroughly up-to-date furnishings
The original 1913
building was designed to be able to grow – and so it has, along with the
community it serves. Centrally located in the village of Southampton, two hours
from New York City, the Hospital is the healthcare hub for an ethnically and
financially diverse population of year-round residents, second homeowners and
vacationers. That original brick building is scarcely recognizable for all its
additions and improvements, but the community spirit that first built it thrives
in the care the Hospital offers today.
Building Additions Through the Years
1909: Hervey J.
Topping House acquired
hospital building opened on Washington’s birthday
1925: School of
Nursing and nurses' residence completed
1930: West wing opened
1931: East wing opened
1942: Parrish Memorial
1952: Schenck Memorial
1965: Southwest wing
1975: Northwest wing
1983: Todd Nursing