Old New York In Photos #14 – Presbyterian Hospital 1872

The Old Men And Women’s Hospital (Presbyterian Hospital) Circa 1872

This photograph is from a stereoview which captioned the Presbyterian Hospital as “the old men and women’s hospital.” This photo was taken by E. & H.T. Anthony Co. about 1872, shortly before the hospital’s first complex of buildings was completed.  The hospital was built by the leading architect of the day, Richard Morris Hunt. Though you cannot tell from the black and white photograph, the contrasting color scheme had bricks that were very red and others that were pale.

Extending from 70th to 71st Streets and occupying the entire block from Madison Avenue to Fourth Avenue (later renamed Park Avenue), the land was donated by philanthropist James Lenox.  The Lenox Hill neighborhood surrounding this portion of the upper east side is named after merchant Robert Lenox, James Lenox’s father.

In 1868, Lenox had gathered a group of prominent Presbyterian’s to join him in building and managing the new church affiliated hospital.   In 19th century New York it was common for hospitals to be affiliated with religious institutions for the care of their own. This would not affect who the hospitals would see, as they would often apply a nonsectarian policy.

According to King’s Handbook of New York for 1892, the hospital was true to remaining non-denominational with less than ten percent of the patients being Presbyterian. One truly amazing statistic, in 1891, of the 3,300 patients cared for, 3,200 were treated gratuitously and scarcely more than $3,000 was received from paying patients!

The hospital stayed open until March 29, 1928 when it moved all of its patients to its new state of the art facility Columbia-Presbyterian Hospital in Washington Heights. The old hospital buildings were immediately demolished and soon after replaced by apartment buildings and private homes.

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