Lawrence County General Hospital

Lawrence County General Hospital

The hospital was located at 2298 South 9th Street, Ironton, OH and was later called River Valley Health System.

Lawrence County General Hospital opened its doors in 1937. The hospital was also known as the Lawrence County Medical Center. Chester Casey, M.D. spearheaded the group to discuss building a hospital to serve all of Lawrence County. Other members of the group include: Ralph Massie, M.D.; George Spear, druggist; George Hunter, M.D.; George Hugger, jeweler; Charles Collett, newspaper editor; Elmer Mayne, Merrill Drug Company; Judge O.H. Henninger, M.D.; W. F. Marting, M.D.; L. Connard Howell, city manager; Charles Gallagher, M.D.; and Charles Vidt, M.D.

In August 1935, a special bond was passed to fund the hospital construction. The bond raised $160,000. Ralph Murray was named the architect.
Cronacher Hill (the hill adjoining the tunnel at Route 93) was the originally proposed site. That site was later rejected because of the expense of accessibility.
Eventually, the 9th Street property was purchased from John F. and Jospehine B. Rist. They deeded the land to the county on December 23, 1935.

Lawrence County General Hospital opened on September 8, 1937. The building cost $252,727.00 to build. The hospital featured 65 beds, limited surgery, obstetrical services, 24-hour emergency room, X-ray department, laboratory, and a pharmacy.

In 1948, a four story high new addition was built. The addition was attached to the 1937 building. The newly remodeled hospital featured a fully equipped operating room, isolation department, second elevator, and increase in beds from 65 to 116.

Another expansion was being planned on May 6, 1965. By July 19670, the new addition opened. The new hospital would house the Ironton and Lawrence County Health Department.

In August 1972, a new Coronary Care Unit officially opened. Six rooms and two semi-private step-down rooms were a part of the new unit.

On November 10, 1972, another addition was dedicated. This renovation included a new lobby, recovery room, physical therapy area, and a chapel.
A 6,300 square foot new Emergency Room was opened on July 14, 1990.

On August 27, 1993 the hospital dedicated a new Critical Intensive Care Unit. The new unit held six rooms and a ten room step-down unit.

On November 25, 1999, the first helicopter landed at the River Valley Health System. The helicopter belonged to Healthnet Aeromedical Services.

The following are photos from Abandoned Online:

River Valley Hospital

In March 2000, the hospital announced plans to expand the hospital, bringing forth an improved imaging center, an expanded laboratory, a remodeled pharmacy and a new cardiac rehabilitation section.

 Work on the $5 million project began in late 2000. It included plans to relocate the ambulance center, housed within the hospital, to elsewhere in the city so that the hospital could use the space for future expansion. Other plans were also made for a 20,000 sq. ft. fitness center, an indoor running track, a college-size basketball court and fitness machines and weights.

Closure

By December, the hospital was in dire financial straits. The Balanced Budget Act of 1997 restrained the hospital when funding was cut for people receiving Medicare. The hospital received fewer reimbursements from the government. The county had agreed earlier in November to issue $500,000 in hospital bonds to assist the facility, which would have allowed the hospital to borrow money at a rate as low as 4% and be paid back over a 10-year term.

The hospital closed on January 31, 2001 over $18 million in outstanding debt. Over 400 employees were put out of work at the Ironton location and at a psychiatric facility in Portsmouth. Several parties were interested in the former hospital, including the county, who wanted to use the hospital as a jail and county office site.

Aerial photograph showing hospital in 2006, from https://www.historicaerials.com/viewer

Aerial photo showing hospital property in 2013 from https://www.historicaerials.com/viewer

Google Maps image of hospital property in 2017 from google.com/maps