A Brief History of Fauquier Hospital

A Brief History of Fauquier Hospital

The first hospital in Fauquier County opened its doors on February 26, 1925. It was located in a former residence at 32 Waterloo Street, Warrenton. Garner House, as it had been called, had been purchased by the Fauquier County Hospital Association for $14,000 from Mrs. Frances Garner Grayson in 1924. By the end of 1925, a total of 344 patients had been admitted to Fauquier County Hospital, as the facility had become known. There were 184 operations that year and 57 emergency treatments. Twenty-two babies were born there that year.

From 1926 through 1938, Fauquier County Hospital did rather poorly. The tiny non-profit hospital could not compete with other area hospitals. For lack of support, Fauquier County Hospital closed in 1940.  But in 1941, a group of local physicians formed a for-profit corporation and purchased the old hospital with the goal of reopening it. Physicians' Hospital, Inc., as it was called, reopened on February 13, 1942, and was successful. During the war years it remained full to capacity, and a 16-bed wing was added to handle growing demand.

Physicians' Hospital remained profitable until 1953, when once again it failed to stack up favorably against other larger hospitals. On January 29, 1954 its ten physician stockholders met and resolved to solicit offers for the sale of the hospital.  Quickly a group of local citizens expressed interest in purchasing the hospital. In May 1954, the citizen group, headed by prominent local businessman and civic leader Tom Frost, signed an option to buy Physicians' Hospital for $70,000.

Frost would go on to become the driving force in the life of Warrenton's hospital for the next 15 years. It was, to a great extent, his vision that brought about the Fauquier Hospital of modern times. The plan Frost and his group had was to quickly launch a community fund raising drive to collect $110,000, adequate funds to purchase, repair and equip the hospital. Everyone involved pledged that no one would be refused admission to the new hospital.

Just ten days before the purchase option was to expire, the group was $32,000 short of its goal. With just three days left, the effort was still $26,000 short. But a wave of contributions came in during those last three days, and by the deadline, August 1, 1954, the committee had raised $112,000 -- $2,000 over the goal. In total, 1,090 donors gave to the campaign. On September 1, 1954, the new Fauquier Hospital Board of Trustees became stewards of the community's new hospital. Once again, the hospital served patients, and once again, residents all too soon saw the need to expand its footprint and the services it could offer.

On November 16, 1958, 2,500 people attended the dedication of a new Fauquier Hospital on Hospital Hill. The 71-bed facility featured air conditioning throughout, a 30-foot square lobby with an aluminum entrance canopy, and three distinct nursing wings. There was a radiology department, laboratory, solarium, doctor's lounge and meditation room. Everyone agreed it was first class and state-of-the-art. The community took a real pride in the new building. It had been built with tremendous community support, and countless hours donated by an army of volunteer supporters.

In January 1960, another of Fauquier Hospital's early supporters, Mrs. James P. Mills, set out to establish a free maternity clinic at Fauquier Hospital for medically indigent women. Local doctors donated their services, and the clinic was established in the hospital's ER. Later it was moved to a room in the basement where it operated until 1975.

Other renovations took place over the years, but in 1999, Fauquier Hospital embarked on a new journey that created the hospital residents know today. A five-story patient tower was built, featuring beautiful single-patient rooms. The expansion was created using Planetree, patient-centered principles, and was the beginning of a new era. The expansion of the Emergency Department to 33 rooms; 11 fourth-floor rooms to handle more medical and OB/GYN patients, a new Infusion Center and interventional radiology suite are more recent additions.

Outside the hospital walls, Fauquier Health added a rehabilitation and nursing center, a wellness center, a wound healing center, and an assisted living facility, in addition to several physician practices. The hospital also great expanded the Emergancy Department and enhanced emergency services. All have been guided by the same patient-centered principles, and all with tremendous community support.

Source: Monument on the Hill - by Peter J. Fakoury

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