OLDEST - Hospital in the United States of America - Philadelphia, PA
N 39° 56.695 W 075° 09.346
18S E 486693 N 4421655
Quick Description: Pennsylvania Hospital, the oldest such institution in the land contribute history, architecture, and landscaping to demonstrate yet another of Benjamin Franklin's legacies to our country. Pennsylvania Hospital was founded in 1751.
Location: Pennsylvania, United States
Date Posted: 12/23/2008 7:47:10 AM
Waymark Code: WM5DHX
"The Pennsylvania Hospital (1756), designed by Samuel Rhodes, shows a more academic scheme with its six Corinthian pilasters extending through the two upper stories. The square platform above the roof, originally intended to support a dome, is topped with a light balustrade." --- Pennsylvania: A Guide to the Keystone State, 1940; page 172
There is an official Pennsylvania historical marker which reads: "This is the first hospital in the U.S. Chartered by Colonial Assembly in 1751 for "relief of the sick poor." Benjamin Franklin and Dr. Thomas Bond were its chief founders. First building, erected in 1755, is still used."
Apparently Ben Franklin was one of the major driving forces behind the establishment of this hospital. As the areas population grew, the need for a hospital was necessary and becoming quite obvious. Franklin's friend, Dr. Thomas Bond, was the one who actually came up with the idea. Franklin was able to use his connections and reputation with the legislature. So, Ben makes a petition, his friends back him. He gets a bunch of signature (curiously though, Bond did not sign) and presents it to the local assembly.
The bill met with some objections as I suppose all bills do, especially those that seek to do the most good. Some thought it was too far away from the city and would not be accessible. Still others thought the cost was prohibitive. I think the clincher was Franklin was able to raise enough money to match what was going to be contributed by the government. I guess they were so impressed with this that after several amendments to the original bill, it was finally signed into law by the governor on May 11, 1751.