Knoxville’s Hospital Building and Promoting Board Established 1896

The following text is from Standard History of Knoxville, by William Rule (pages 547-549).  The book was published in 1900.

Knoxville Hospital located at the corner of State and Cumberland streets and standing flush with each street was established several years ago. The building was erected for residence purposes and taken for a hospital because that was the best that could be done. The necessity for a new building for this worthy institution has been felt for years, but it was not until 1896 that any determined effort was made to raise money with which to erect such a building, and even since then funds have accumulated slowly. A movement looking to this end took definite form April, 1, of the year named, when a board of officers was elected as follows: Mrs WM Ashmore, president; Mrs WC McCoy, vice president; Mrs Tap R Jones, secretary; and Mrs WL Roberts, treasurer. All favored the erection of a hospital building at as early a day as practicable. Dr Tap R Jones thought a building such as the city needed could be erected for $30,000, and in order to start the ball rolling a committee of ten women was appointed to prepare plans for the future of the organization, that day effected as above related the committee consisting of the following persons Miss Pauline Woodruff, Mrs SB Luttrell, Mrs HG Bayless, Mrs WA Henderson, Mrs WG Williams, Mrs Lucy Finnegan, Mrs JM Black, Mrs TJ Peed, Mrs DL Ross, and Mrs JH Frazee.

April, 8 following, a constitution and by laws were adopted, by which the organization was named The Hospital Building and Promoting Board, and the object being to secure funds with which to erect a hospital building in Knoxville. The matter was presented to the city council at its next meeting July 28, 1896, a meeting of the advisory board was held, this advisory board consisting of the following individuals: SG Heiskell, WL Welcker, ML Ross, James Van Deventer, SB Luttrell, Rev EA Elmore, RS Hazen, Rev MD Jeffries, SC Roney, Rev Thomas Campbell, WH Collett, JW Borches, Walter S Roberts, Dr AA Francis, and Jonathan Tipton.

In order to further this project, there was held on September 4, 1896, what was called a Hospital Day, the cars of both the street car companies being on that day turned over to the ladies or to the hospital board at noon, each car being run by young ladies. Mrs Frank Post being the treasurer of the day, and the receipts for the afternoon and evening being donated to the hospital fund. In July, 1897, the Southern Railway Company contributed $500 toward the fund and by November, 11 of that year there had been raised $3,402.37.

A hospital Christmas festival was held in December, 1898 for the benefit of this work which netted $1,000 and in January, 1899, the project was so far along that Baumann Bros architects of Knoxville were selected to prepare the plans for the new hospital building. The architects having been selected the following sub committees were appointed to labor in connection with them who were instructed to keep within the amount mentioned above as suggested by Dr Jones:

Committee on General Hospital Arrangements: Drs WL McCreary, Tap R Jones, JM Black, and SR Miller.

Committee on Heating Ventilating and Plumbing: Dr CE Wait and HO Nelsen.

Committee on Finance: JT McTeer, Mayor William Rule, and SC Roney.

The hospital building, as it is proposed to be erected, contemplates accommodations for seventy-five patients, a corps of doctors and nurses, twenty in number and all waiting rooms, operating rooms, laboratories, and offices that will be needed. The building will be erected on a lot purchased by the Hospital Building and Promoting Board located on Cleveland place near Dameron avenue opposite the ruins of the old Tennessee Medical College building, the cost of the lot having been $2,300. The hospital board has now on hand something more than $2,000.

The state legislature at its session held in 1899, passed an act authorizing the corporation of Knoxville to issue the bonds of the city to the amount of $30,000, bearing interest at the rate of 4 per cent, the proceeds to be used in the erection of a hospital building. The bonds were issued and sold for $32,000. Thereupon the board of mayor and aldermen elected a building committee of five to take charge of the funds and erect the building. The committee is composed of JT McTeer, EC McMillan, FK Huger, CC Howell, and Wm Rule. Mr Huger afterwards resigned and HO Nelsen was chosen to fill the vacancy. Plans prepared by the firm of Baumann Brothers architects were adopted and they were employed to supervise the work. Contracts were let and the work is now going on to completion.

It will be an elegant building with all modern conveniences and will stand a splendid monument to the enterprising public spirited women of Knoxville to whose efforts the credit of the hospital building is due.

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