99 years ago today, June 17th, Julia Rackley Perry Memorial Hospital officially opened its doors for the first time to the Princeton community. What followed was 99 years of continual grow and change to meet the needs of the community.
Julia Rackley Perry, of Malden, bequeathed to the city of Princeton in her will, what eventually totalled more than $50,000 for the endowment or construction of a hospital within 5 years of her death. Door-to-door fund drives and generous community assistance gave the hospital much of what was still needed, including food for patients, new clean linens for patient rooms, and furniture to make it more comfortable for visitors.
The hospital originally included enough room for 28 patients and 5 babies. It included an operating room and the latest x-ray equipment. In fact, Perry Memorial Hospital was so advanced as to attract people from all over the country for procedures and care. It did not take long for the facility to become overcrowded, requiring cots strung about in the hallways to accommodate more patients. Over the following decades, eight major additions expanded the space for patients, with a peak of more than 100 beds in the 1980s. The ninth construction is currently underway, with the new Family Health Clinic facility.
Annette Schnabel, CEO, commented, "We are proud of our heritage and to live the mission set forth by Julia Rackley Perry, to provide compassionate, quality healthcare services to the communities we serve. Healthcare has evolved over the past 99 years and Perry Memorial Hospital has transformed to meet the needs of our communities. We expect to continue to transform to meet our mission and community needs for the next 99 years."
Today, Julia Rackley Perry Memorial Hospital, with eight clinics and Home Care services, has an extended service area, going far beyond the Princeton area it originally served.