June 16, 2011
ThIs month marks the 116th anniversary of the founding of the Adena Health System, which was incorporated on June 29, 1895. A copy of the incorporation document hangs on the wall outside the office of Mark Shuter, Adena's President and CEO.
"We at Adena are proud of this organization's wonderful history and the foresight taken by those who helped found the health system as we know it today," Shuter said.
"In today's fast-paced business world, how many organizations can claim to have survived more than a century of service?" added Sybil Miller, Director of Corporate Communications at Adena.
Adena's roots can be traced to the Chillicothe Hospital, which was founded in 1895 as a place "where the wounded, homeless and sick could receive proper care."
To this day, no one is certain what prompted the creation of that first hospital. There's one story about a young girl who was mauled by a circus lion, and the community's realization that there was no place for her to be properly treated. There's also the story about a horrific train crash in the city, and victims having no hospital in which to be cared for.
Regardless of the circumstances, people in and around Chillicothe, from all walks of life, joined together to open that first hospital - in a home along Bridge Street.
Instrumental in the creation of that first hospital were the churches in the city. The first trustees were selected by those 12 churches - Trinity Methodist Episcopal, Plymouth Congregational, Tabernacle Baptist, First Presbyterian, Third Presbyterian, Walnut Street Methodist Episcopal, Saint Mary's Catholic, St. Paul's Episcopal, First German Protestant Evangelical, St. Peter's Catholic, German M.E. and German Salem Lutheran. Nine of those same churches exist today and continue to play a pivotal role in our existing healthcare system. .
A gala Charity Ball attended by 400 people was held that same year to raise money for the hospital. Charity Balls benefitting the hospital have been held, without interruption, ever since then.
The Bridge Street home - a 1 ½-story, nine-room structure - served as the first hospital until 1910, when a dedicated healthcare structure was built at the corner of Chestnut and Cherry streets.
Today, the health system serves the needs of 13 counties in south-central Ohio and employs more than 2,400 people. It also provides specialty services typically found in larger medical centers, like open heart surgery, cardiac catheterization, cancer care and advanced orthopedic procedures.