Thursday, March 11, 2010

Southampton Hospital


The photo above is of the Southampton Hospital upon its completion in February of 1913. “The main building is rectangular in form, approximately 64 by 34 feet, running east and west, with an extension on the north, in which is located the operating room, and the rooms necessary for this department, such as the etherizing and sterilizing rooms, a room for the physicians, a wash room for physicians and nurses, a laboratory and dispensary.”[1] Designed by famed society architect T. Markoe Robertson, it was Colonial in style and thought of as in keeping with other public buildings in Southampton at the time. Mr. Robertson was married to Cordelia Biddle, a famous socialite of her day; his was her second marriage, her first being to Benjamin Duke, of the Duke tobacco family, and of Duke University (her son Angier Biddle Duke was also a Southampton Village summer resident). The hospital cost approximately $60,000 to build, more than anticipated (some things never change). “C. Elmer Smith was the general contractor; Duryea & Baird did the mason work; Edward E. Hammond, plumbing; Eli H. Fordham, painting; E. Grigg, electrical work; Fred H. Kampf, shades; James Guillfoyle, grading the grounds." The property of J. Hervey Topping on Meetinghouse Lane was purchased for the second hospital building, the first being on Hampton Road. Both first two hospital buildings were residential type structures.

The hospital has grown exponentially since it was originally built, numerous times, starting as early as 1928. “In deciding upon a building plan, it was necessary for the Governors to bear in mind that the possibility of growth made it essential to adopt a plan which would admit of extension without disfiguring the building architecturally, or hampering its efficient administration. This question has been duly borne in mind, and in fact sketches have been made showing wings which can be added should future conditions make such enlargement necessary.” But the actual growth of the community was beyond even their imaginations and the original hospital has been all but consumed by modern additions conceived by those with less sympathy of “disfiguring the building architecturally.” Only parts of the cornice of the original building and the first additions are left to remind us of the beautiful building that existed long ago.


[1] The Southampton Press, February 20, 1913

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